As much as I love lifting, working out and trying to be a beast every day, the one thing that annoys me is the disparity between the amount of time it takes to make gains and the amount of time it takes to lose those gains. It can (seemingly) take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to add five measly pounds to my overhead press or another rep to my pull up max. But if I take a mere two weeks off, BAM. I’m back to square one. Bugger.
Dan John said, “If it’s important, do it everyday.” So, if a certain exercise is important to you, say squatting, do it every day. I’m not saying do all-out-balls-to-the-wall effort every day, but get some semblance of the movement in. For example, Steve will goblet squat every day (along with his normal training volume of squatting with barbells and heavier weights 1-2x/week). He will goblet squat a lighter weight every day, and you know what? His hip mobility, erector strength and his overall squat pattern has improved significantly over the past year.
Look at that depth! (pretty good with 315 on the bar…)
I’ve got some ideas in this post about what women, specifically, should do every day (or mostly every day). You don’t have to choose these but they are exercises I’ve found through my own training and working with women over the years that typically pose difficulties mastering and maintaining.
Pull ups/Chin ups:
I’ve written about them before and I know I struggle with maintaining my pull-upping ability. If I take them out of my training cycle for even just 2-3 weeks, my total number I can perform goes down and the effort to do just a few skyrockets (or at least, it feels like it). Therefore, I do pull/chin ups 2-3x/week in my training sessions and then I try to do at least 5-10 throughout my day on the other days of the week. Practice makes permanent, so if you want to have the permanent ability to do pull ups, do them all the time.
It’s important to be able to do solid push ups. Being able to do perfect pushups indicates that you have pretty decent upper body strength, core strength and stability and the ability not to look like a spasming fish on the floor. Besides, most folks don’t expect women to bust out push ups like it’s their job; prove them wrong.
Push something up over your head as often as possible. I have an overhead carry in my warm up so even if I’m not actually overhead pressing in my workout, I still have some stimulation to my shoulder stabilizers and arms to maintain a weight over head. This area is where, I think, most women are terribly (and in my case, embarrassingly weak. If for no other reason than to be able to put a heavy box on a high shelf or pick your kid up over your head. Like the push up, being able to push something over your head results in greater upper body strength and core stability.
(anyone noticing a theme here? Typically the stuff we’re bad at, we should do more often…)
Preferably an exercise that targets the posterior chain like a single-leg RDL, step-back lunge or single leg glute bridge Women, myself included, often have pretty decent lower body strength relative to their body weight. Buuuut, we tend to be very quad-dominant (aka, weak butt and hamstrings which = ouchie knees) so we need to EVERY DAY (I’m not kidding) utilize an exercise that a) works on our stabilizers for our hips and knees (which conveniently a single-leg stance tends to do) and b) train our glutes/hamstrings to keep our knees and lower backs healthy. The above mentioned exercises fit the bill.
Why? Because EVERYONE needs to swing more. Do it, your body will be happy. You’ll be leaner, cardiovascularly fit (I want someone to do 20 swings with a heavy bell and tell me it’s not cardio…), stronger overall (butt, hamstrings, upper back, grip… the list carries on) and more awesome.
While the list is not exhaustive, these are the handful of exercises that I always keep in my program and in the programs of the lady clientele at SAPT. Again, you don’t have to train these in particular, in fact, I challenge you to find an exercise you want to be good at and get good at it. How? Start off small, just one or two reps a day and go from there.
This would be a good way at getting good at climbing ropes.