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Tips on how women can develop Upper body Strength:

Grassroots Fitness Project has been promoting Women’s Strength for over a decade. Presently our most popular class is Women’s Strength which is a 6 week program that teaches all skill levels, fundamental lifting patterns of strength training in a supportive women’s only environment. Using Grassroots Fitness Project as a human performance laboratory we found that there are three main factors which affect developing upper body strength safely.

  1. Adequate levels of shoulder mobility
  2. Core strength and spinal stability.
  3. Developing a learner’s mentality.

Poor shoulder mobility is usually the issue when we hear, “Oh I tried fill in the blank training method, and it ruined my shoulders.” What is usually the case is participants enter these classes with less than optimal flexibility in the shoulders which reduces full ROM (Range of Motion). Loss of range of motion prevents optimal positioning and develops compensation patterns which forces stabilizing muscles to perform work as primary movers. An example of this would be over head presses. If the client lacks the ability to flex their shoulder 180 degrees which basically put; Bringing biceps to ears with shoulders blades retracted, the client will struggle to get the wrist, elbow, and shoulder aligned vertically. When this is the case clients tend to over work the rotator cuff tissues and/ or hyper extend at the low back to achieve vertical positioning of the arms. Poor shoulder mobility and flexibility= No Bueno
To assess shoulder mobility place your butt, head and entire spine onto wall with feet slightly ahead of you. With your arms starting at your side bring your knuckles to the wall above you whilst keeping your entire spine including the low back on the wall. If you are unable to get full shoulder flexion you should work on shoulder mobility first.

Core strength and spinal stability. Core strength begets increased spinal stability. Deeper than the muscles you want to see in the mirror are your deep core musculature comprised of the Transverse abdominus, Spinal erectors, Multifidus, Gluteals, Hip flexors, and Abdominus rectus.
Easiest assessment for adequate core strength is the prone bridge on your elbows for 60 seconds. Face down, on your elbows feet behind you. The body should be held in a straight line from shoulder to ankles. While in this position pull your belly button to your spine, attempt to tighten your quadriceps, buttocks, and activate your pelvic floor musculature “Kiegel” muscles. A one minute plank in good position is a good benchmark to use to assess core strength.

Developing the learners mentality allows all of the attendees to put down the preconceived expectations of performance, strength, and athleticism. We encourage people to embrace their ability level as a starting point to move forward from. The learners mind is about setting the goal around getting better at the respective skill, every workout. If we can get the client to focus on getting better given enough time becoming great is inevitable.

With all that said, we were inspired by Stan Leprotti’s La Sierra High School Warm-up from 1957 and tweaked it to meet the needs of our population. This is a great everyday workout, vacation workout, feeling lazy workout, I ain’t got time work out program that elicits flexibility, endurance and a ton of upper body strength. A version is posted HERE.

20 Jumping Jacks
5 Push-ups or Shoulder Taps
20 Alternating Windmills
5 Push-ups or Shoulder Taps
50 Side Straddle Hops
5 Push-ups or Shoulder Taps
50 Striders
5 Push-ups or Shoulder Taps
50 Toe Hops
5 Push-ups or Shoulder Taps
10 Squat thrusts
40 Mountain Climbers
5 Push-ups or Shoulder Taps

One thought on "Tips on how women can develop Upper body Strength:"

This is a very good workout. They perfectly tighten muscles and increase strength. Of course, it was hard at the beginning, but over time, training becomes a joy, it raises the mood, a rush of energy is felt and the weight also goes away. When trying to lose weight, it is also very important to play sports, without which the skin will look flabby and weakness may appear. Such physical exercises are well suited for those who want to lose weight and be in good shape. Thanks, have a nice day!

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