Girls and fitness: new information on how to train girls for strength and empowerment in the gym for life

Lately, I have noticed that there are two types of girls: those who are involved in sports, and those who are not. As a self-proclaimed hater of gym class and one who never was involved in sports, but became active late in high school (but not in sports), I have noticed this trend with many girls that come my way via Venus Fitness, or from my own daughters and their friends.
Girls who compete in sports have unique conditioning needs, but are often treated like boys, or are coached using old-fashioned drills that can be harmful short term and create dysfunctional muscle memory long term. Girls whose only fitness experiences come from gym class also don’t usually learn how to confidently workout in the gym with free weights and other equipment to effectively strengthen and tone their muscles.

I don’t claim to be an expert on sports performance conditioning. My focus for girls is on training right for the long term, and staying healthy. For athletes, this is a relatively new concept.  There is a lot at stake–if an athlete peaks too soon, they can blow their chances for a college scholarship. Given that, we must maintain overall health to sustain the most rigorous training.

Girls tend to have weaker core stabilization complex muscles and have stronger quadriceps than hamstrings (this tends to be true for adult females too).  This combination is perfect for knee shearing and connective tissue injury.  All joints for that matter, should be supported by stabilization exercises.

Here are some serious rules for a well-rounded training regimen, whether you are an athlete or not.

  • core is King (or Queen). Your core muscles stabilize every move you make, no matter what age you are. What most people don’t know is that your “abs” are not part of your core stabilization complex, and doing tons of crunches isn’t going to help your core get stronger (at least not the way you’ve been taught).
  • short bursts of high intensity is more effective at increasing fitness than long workouts.
  • nutrition is your best friend. High school athletes tend to junk it up with their diet, ingesting junk food, candy, and energy drinks, but this is like shooting yourself in the foot. You can improve your performance by leaps and bounds just by changing your nutrition to whole foods, nutritious lean proteins, proper timing of pre, during, and post performance nutrition, and supporting your cells (and the hard work they do) with pharmaceutical-grade supplements.

At Venus, we are committed to teaching fitness right, right from the start. Our Girls Getting Stronger program for High School Girls starts 2/26/13. check out the details and get registered HERE



2 thoughts on “Girls and fitness: new information on how to train girls for strength and empowerment in the gym for life

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Elyse! I really enjoy your emails. When my daughter is a little older…she’s 9 now, I would definitely consider coming back for some regular training with her. She’s currently swimming and in Girls on the Run, so that’s taking up lots of time now. What is the age cut off for the classes that you are doing? See you soon

    • Chris,
      Thanks so much! this girls class we are getting together is for high school ages–14 to 17/18.
      We will be offering kids triathlon training this summer–it sounds like she might be interested in that!

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