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Building muscles by women. 5-day training plan

Building muscles by women. 5-day training plan
In the first part of the article I explained a few key issues concerning nutrition, supplementation and training for women.The truth is, though, that it doesn't matter if I write the training plan for 3, 4 or 5 days. The efficiency of strength session depends, most of all, on the following parametres: kind of exercises, the amount of the exercises (and sets) – which creates the volume. Also other things matter, like the tempo or if you use free weights or the machines (read the explanations in the first part of the article). There's nothing wrong in training more often but for a very short time. It may be perfect solution if you work full time and have other duties, too.

Building muscles by women. Facts and myths!

Nowadays, if there are no limits of entrance to fitness clubs, it makes sense. On te other hand, if you only give the basic exercises in your training, you just need 2 sessions lasting 45 minutes each in order to achieve great results. Thinking “more is better” is not justified scientifically. After crossing some threshold, every other workout only slightly improves the results, and the risk of injuries is much bigger. It is important if you not only go to the gym, but also go running, swimming or do martial arts. It may happen that even 2 resistance workouts a week will be too much (because you e.g. run 5 x a week: 2 x running, 1 x rhythms, 2 x intervals). In each case you should look at the strength training individually. The choice of exercises also matters – I only wrote the most important, key exercises. You cannot change the order of the exercises, or the sessions within a week. In the plan below nothing is accidental!

If you have 5 days to do workouts – you can do your strength training this way:

  1. Monday: front of the thigh, back of the thigh, calves, adductors, glutes, abs,

  2. Tuesday: chest,

  3. Wednesday: back,

  4. Thursday: FREE,

  5. Friday: shoulders,

  6. Saturday: biceps, triceps,

  7. Sunday: FREE.

In the training plan below there are almost no machines included, why? Because it's a waste of time. If you really want it, you can e.g. add abduction and adduction in the leg workout and in the back workout you can add e.g. machine rows. You will achieve better results using free weights (dumbbells, barbell, kettlebells, sand bags). You can do some of the exercises on the rings, but it makes them far more difficult (you can compare dips and the same thing on the rings).

Exercises: Monday (front of the thigh, back of the thigh, calves, adductors, glutes, abs)

  • back barbell squats: 4-6 sets x 10-12 repetitions (full range of motion); alernative exercise: front barbell squat,

  • barbell lunges: 3 sets x 8-10 repetitions (for each leg); alternative: Bulgarian squats,

  • leg press: 3 sets x 20 repetitions,

  • stiff legged deadlift: 3-4 x 8-10 repetitions,

  • supersets: seated leg extension + seated/lying leg curls: 3 supersets x 12-15 repetitions,

  • heel lifts standing: 2 x 50 repeptitions,

  • lying scissors (straight legs and arms touch in the middle of the movement, do the exercise in supine position) or leg lifts hanging: 3 x 15-20 repetitions.

Exercises: Tuesday (chest)

  • lying inclined barbell press OR inclined dumbbell press: 3-5 sets x 8-12 repetitions,

  • dips: 2-3 sets x 8-10 repetitions (if the exercise without any load is too easy – add the working load of 2.5-10 kg),

  • horizontal dumbbell press: 2 x 8 repetitions,

  • dumbbell flyes: 2-3 sets x 8-10 repetitions or cable cross machine exercise.

Exercises: Wednesday (back)

  • full range of pull-ups: 3-5 sets x 8-10 repetitions (if you can't do it, use the expander, which will take away part of the body mass or ask a partner for help), if it's too easy – add the load (2-10 kg),

  • bent-over barbell rows or single-handed dumbbell rows: 3-4 sets x 8-12 repetitions (replacement: renegate rows or half-barbell single-handed rows),

  • lat pull down: 3 sets x 12-15 repetitions,

  • high pull to the sternum, hanging – 3 sets x 6-8 repetitions,

  • sumo deadlift: 3 sets x 6-8 repetitions.

Exercises: Friday (shoulders)

  • wide grip barbell press seated or seated dumbbell press: 3 sets x 8-12 repetitions,

  • pulling grip for pulling barbell to the sternum, i.e. high pull with wide grip: 3 sets x 8-12 repetitions,

  • front raise: 3 sets x 8-12 repetitions,

  • front raise: 3 sets x 8-12 repetitions

  • bent-over shoulder raise: 3 sets x 8-12 repetitions

Exercises: Saturday (biceps, triceps)

  • narrow grip horizontal barbell press: 3 x 6-8 repetitions; (you can also use a replacement: narrow push-ups or narrow dips),

  • barbell curls standing: 3 x 8-12 repetitions,

  • French press with a dumbbell from behind the nape seated: 3 x 8-12 repetitions,

  • preacher biceps curls or supported elbow on the thigh: 3 x 8-12 repetitions.

ATTENTION:

  • in each complex multi-joint exercise the breaks may be longer: 120-180 seconds,

  • in one-joint isolated exercises – make the breaks shorter even 45-60 seconds,

  • tempo: the eccentric phase 2 seconds, the concentric phase 1 second, in the isolated exercises for smaller muscle groups you can slow down the tempo, e.g. do the eccentric phase in up to 3-4 seconds, it's advised to do e.g. isometric tension and pause in various parts of the movement (e.g. suring standing arm curls),

  • some exercises, e.g. front raises, side raises and bent-over raises may be put together in combined sets,

  • some exercises may be included in leg workouts and back workouts (e.g. deadlift – depending on the version),

  • some exercises may be included in shoulder workouts and back workouts, e.g. high pull – it engages all the parts of the deltoid muscle (shoulders), but it also causes the work of traps (especially the middle and upper part),

  • dumbbell exercises are harder because of stabilisation,

  • the advised amount of sets concerns the main, WORKING ones, there may be even 3-5 warm-up sets (it matters for the more advanced ladies),

  • you should increase the working load every week in the chosen main exercises, e.g. by 2-2.5 kg in squats, rows, deadlift or lunges.

Obviously, there may appear some controversies – you recommend the split training? And you said it's all evil and isolation gives no results, they only cause impractical power and are pointless, because you train the particular muscle group too rarely? Easy, before you write negative comments, let me explain a few things.

There's nothing wrong for a strongman, powerlifter or weight lifter to work out using split training. Even if you look at the training plans of the typical strength competitors, it isn't so frequent to see the FBW model (the whole body during one session). Why? Because such kind of training has many advantages, and its biggest disadvantage is time. Just imagine that an advanced competitor requires 8-10 sets for thighs – front part and 4-6 for the back. Add 3-4 sets for calves – altogether, let's make it simple, maximum 20 sets during one session. Indirectly, during squats or deadlift, glutes and adductors work. Assume that in each exercise the break between set is so short, that you approach the barbell after 3 minutes (it means you have negligible amount of time to change the working load and rest after work). In that case, only legs take 60 minutes of training (20 sets x 3 minutes)! And I don't write about any extremes here. You just need 4 sets of front squats, 3 sets on the leg press, 3 sets of lunges – and you already have 10 sets, then 4 sets of stiff-legged deadlift, 3 sets of lying leg curls – and you have another 7 sets. Of course, you can save some time e.g. doing calves between the sets for the back of the thigh, you can “cheat” a bit when training on the leg press by shortening the rest time. However, there are people who use 1-minute breaks between sets that may have problems with timing if they train the whole body during one session.

Another big advantage of the divided training is small impact on thighs, glutes and back. Notice that on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, you can easily run in intervals, mixed session (warm-up 5 minutes, 10-15 minutes of intervals, 10-15 minutes of aerobic exercises) or use e.g. the TABATA workout. The micro injuries are often felt 48 hours after training, which lets people go running even one day after leg workout.

Another matter: split gives you options – you have a lot of time, willingness, enthusiasm and power to work on e.g. resistant muscle groups. It is especially important e.g. for the ladies who have resistant arms and their legs gain more easily, without any special effort. The order of the exercises is very important, because, e.g. in the FBW model, at the end of each workout, after exercising the legs, back, chest and shoulders – you are not that eager to train biceps or triceps anymore. Whereas, in the up/down model or FBW, moving biceps or triceps at the beginning of the session will cause damage in each further complex exercises. Besides, because of time, in the split training you have time even for 4 exercises for particular muscle group, in the uper/lower session – it's luxurious to have even 2 exercises for particular muscle group.

In the next part of the article I will present the alternative to the training of one muscle group 1x a week – according to the upper/lower methodology.

Sources: What Is The Best 5-Day Workout Split? http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/wotw94.htm

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