Tag Archives: glutes

Squat Fix 101 Series: Sam Richardson, Beginner

A little background information on this week’s Squat Fix: Sam is new mother just getting back to the gym, she currently has no competitive strength or physique goals but would like to get back in shape and is using the squat as a tool to do so.

So let’s start with the good. Sam actually keeps a fairly neutral back posture (front to back) that doesn’t significantly change shape in any portion of the rep, she doesn’t display any “butt wink” or posterior pelvic tilt at least at this depth. Knee tracking is pretty good as well, no serious deviations from the hip or the ankle are observed at any time during the reps (small twitches can be ignored unless pain is present), the lower leg joints make nice stacked lines from the hips to the ankles. Although we can certainly optimize a few things, the most important think to note is that this is fairly safe squat that could be progressed, again, so long as no pain is present

Ok so now let’s get into some things we want to fix right away and some things we may want to change/optimize dependent on goals. First thing is we need to get you out of those running shoes! I’ve written an entire article on this and will direct you here https://blacksmithfitness.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/the-best-and-worst-shoes-for-lifting/ but the key points are: Running shoes have large amounts of relatively soft cushioning, this weakens spinal reflexes from the input from the feet that tell you where you are in relation to gravity and where the load is, this isn’t a good thing and makes you unbalanced and reduces the load you can use, leading to less muscle built and less calories burned. Second thing we want to fix right away is turning the head while under load, at Blacksmith Fitness we just call this “pulling a bro” because it’s a move usually reserved for checking yourself out flexing, but we’ll give Sam the benefit of the doubt here and assume that she’s just looking around. Aside from the narcissistic nature of “pulling a bro” the real problem lies in that although the spine can move segmentally (one piece at a time) it’s ability to do so is quite limited, and therefore even to create small movements, relies on several vertebrae to produce the motion. The body will follow the head or the hips, and creating rotation under vertical load is not something the spine enjoys very much – don’t wait for it to tell you! Find a spot anywhere from 10ft in front of you, to the just below the imaginary horizon to fixate your eyes when you squat.

The next thing is Sam is currently showing a more glute/lower back dominant squatting pattern, as you can tell from the forward lean of her torso being greater than the forward lean of her shins. There’s nothing wrong with this except in this case Sam isn’t hitting full depth and glute recruitment isn’t maximized until at least a parallel thigh position is reached (crease of the hip is in line with the top of the knee), leaving some valuable muscle growth on the table. More depth also equals more mechanical work done as well as more time under tension per rep, both of these things have positive influence on muscle growth as well as energy burned. If the lower back becomes a limiting factor later on as loads increase, Sam may want to learn to use a belt or move towards matching her shin angle to her torso angle to continue progressing – this may be a simple as thinking “sit down” as opposed to “sit back” or there may actually be an ankle mobility issue preventing her from doing so. In the case where a mobility issue may be the limiting factor, Sam could use plates under the heels or specific squat shoes with a raised heel while she works on the requisite mobility to hit the desired position without the use of external aids.

The last thing we’re going to talk about it is Sam’s bar set up. First, let’s get away from the preloaded barbells, they force you to shoulder press the weight into position, which limits the amount of weight you’ll be able to use, and even if you don’t have any competitive goals, to get anything out of the squat you’re going to need more weight than what you can shoulder press into position. Definitely find a squat rack to do your squats in. Right now the bar is in a high bar position (meaning the bar sits on top of the upper traps) this is probably one of the most comfortable places to put the bar, and also the easiest to prevent rolling down the back, however, it’s not a license to leave the bar there passively. Instead of leaving the bar sitting in place, instead think “break the bar over my back” and you should feel the whole back light up, this engages the lats, which attach all the way down into the sacral fascia and an exert a force on the hips, keeping you from folding forward as you start to use heavier weights.

All in all you have fairly safe progress-able squat that needs a few tweaks to get a bit more out of it, and definitely to change your shoes or just take them off, and to find a spot to fixate your head and eye position, and may need to make some long term tweaks to ensure continued progress. Happy squatting!

If you’d like to see a powerlifter’s squat broken down, check out our last article here:

https://blacksmithfitness.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/blacksmith-squat-school-case-study-bryan-wong/

 

See How One of The Blacksmith Fitness Bikini Competitors Overcame Adversity and Made it on Stage For Her First Show

Ushna’s road to the stage was anything but easy or typical. Ushna originally came to see me after 7 months of being unable to train due to an impingement pain in her lower back, SI joint, and shoulder capsule from poor movement mechanics and compensation patterns. The first month and half was spent on drills ranging from breathing mechanics to muscle activation drills and using various activated neuromuscular techniques to calm overactive muscles while adding in whatever training we could that wouldn’t aggrevate her symptoms; however, very little training at this time could diverted towards types of exercise that worked towards her goals of getting on stage for her first competition. Over the next few months as Ushna started to improve drastically to the point where Ushna wanted to train for a competition, and Ushna was able to add over 12lbs of muscle to her frame, but here were the challenges we still faced:

  • Abdominals were still too weak to allow the combination of axial and compressive forces to allow for enough load to cause the musculature of the legs to adapt:
    • No squats, deadlifts, barbell lunges or any exercise involving a loaded barbell on the back
  • Obliques and glute medius were too weak/lacked the proprioceptive control to handle many explosive movements
    • No sprinting, kettlebell swings, barbell or dumbbell complexes, or jump training – many high intensity interval methods were unavailable, leaving us the recumbent bike to do the majority of her cardio/interval work
  • Anteriorly tilting the pelvis caused impingement pain in the SI joint and lumbar spine:
    • Very limited selection of exercises to work the glutes and hamstrings

And we had 8 weeks total to get her ready for the last show of the year, so we got in touch with Adwin Krishna to help with what was going to be an incredibly tough transformation to get on stage. So with 2 coaches and 8 weeks we started to prepare and we got underway.

The challenges didn’t end there, she got out to a great start with the fat loss; however, Ushna made an honest mistake and was missing one of her meals for 3 weeks, causing her metabolism to come crashing to a halt and fighting her efforts every step of the way, so with only 4 weeks out this was how she was looking

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At this point both Adwin and I talked for hours about how we could save this competition prep and still have Ushna get up on stage and deliver a physique that she could be proud of, and it really came down to one thing – it was going to take perfection and all the combined tricks we had up our sleeves, but most importantly, Ushna was going to have to work insanely hard and smart through the next 4 weeks. I can’t say how proud I am of Ushna for how hard she worked over the next 3 weeks, and her dedication to her diet, supplementation, water, everything we asked her to do, she nailed; however, Ushna was thrown one last curveball. 9 days out from her competition she was badly rear-ended and spent the day in the hospital.

For most people that would be it, it was already a short prep, 4 weeks of the diet had been mishandled, she was already battling two injuries and now she had to add whiplash and soft tissue injuries to the back, neck, and shoulders from a car crash to the list. She lost 3 very important days of training to the car crash, and our limited exercise list just shrunk to less than half, and you know what Ushna did? She rose to the occasion, kicked ass, and did everything in her power to present her best on stage.

So here’s the difference 4 weeks and car crash made:

IMG_1933IMG_2034

Again I can’t say how proud I am of Ushna and all her hard work; she didn’t win, but I guarantee that she outworked many of the girls who placed in front of her, and now we have until March until she competes again – This time we’ll have a full exercise list, a full length prep, and *fingers crossed* no more car accidents. I’m really excited for her next show and I know you guys are going to be blown away!

So You Want Better Glutes? Squatting Alone Won’t Do It, You NEED this Exercise

If you’ve ever cruised Instagram and looked at any of the fitness pages with large followings, you’ve probably seen the memes “oh ya, she squats” or comparison photos with the captions “no squats” over an average female in a bikini, and then the caption “squats” over a fitness model with excellent glute development. The problem is these memes give the impression that all you have to do is squat and you’ll develop jaw dropping glute development exactly like those in the pictures, unfortunately, it just isn’t true.

Let’s take genetics and diet out of the equation for the rest of this article, for now, we’re talking exercises.

To be fair, squatting definitely helped develop the backside of your favourite fitness model, and if you do nothing else other than go from a mildly active person to a mildly active person who dedicates themselves to squatting, then you’ll definitely see some improvement in your glutes, and you’ll have made the world a better place,

BUT… you’re leaving a ton of glute toning growth untouched unless you’re including some kind of loaded thrusting movement, and the best movement for this is the Hip Thrust.

hip-thrust

Here is one of Bret Contreras’ (the inventor of the Hip Thrust) clients performing the hip thrust. However, don’t use a shoe with a high heel if you’re trying to target the glutes, more weight on the heel will activate the glutes to a higher degree. More activation = more awesome. Barefeet or socks work best

The hip thrust is the perfect companion to the squat. They hit different parts of the muscle fibers in different ways – it’s the quintessential 1-2 punch for ultimate glute growth. Here are some tips on how to perform the hip thrust for maximum effectiveness:

  1. Tight abs. You want you butt to do the work, not the lower back, tight abs stop the spine from flexing and ensure the glutes do all the work
  2. Finish the movement. The most muscle activation happens at the very top squeeze of the movement, you must make a straight line between the centre of your knees, hips and shoulders to consider it a full rep. No sagging hips! You’re only cheating yourself. If you can’t finish the rep use less weight if you still can’t finish the rep then…
  3. Stretch your hip flexors first. It’s like taking the brakes off the movement
  4. Your thighs should form a 90 degree angle with your shins at the top of the movement. For most people they will feel the most tension in the glutes here, with the feet further out you get more hamstring involvement, with the feet closer to you, you usually get more quadricep activation. Play with foot positioning until you find the most tension in your glutes.
  5. Keep your weight on your heels and use bare feet or minimal shoes. There are pressure sensors in your heel that increase glute activity when loaded, use this to your advantage to get even more out your hip thrusts
  6. Keep you head and neck neutral, but your eyes looking up. Take advantage of the oculomotor reflex to once again get more glute activation out of the hip thrust

Because squats create more muscle damage, and hip thrusts create more tension and metabolic damage, do squats first, an example workout would look something like this:

  • Squats: 3-5 sets of 5-8 reps with a weight you can do no more than 8 reps with 90s rest
  • Hip Thrusts: 1 set of 10 reps, 1min rest, 1 set of 15 reps, 30s rest, 1 set of 20 reps, 1min rest then repeat. Remove weight with each set of higher reps,and put it back on when you start again. So it might look something like this: 185×10, 1min rest, 155×15, 30s rest, 135×20, 1min rest. Then repeat the series with the same weight
  • Follow this up with the rest of your routine for the day, for fat loss you might want to finish it up with some circuit training, intervals or cardio, or you could continue your session by adding some work for the hamstrings, quads and calves.

Give this a try until next time, when we starting talking about the two other roles of the glutes and how to really get the back side development of your favourite fitness model

Here’s one of my clients performing the hip thrust with a dumbbell and added band resistance

Should Women Train Differently Than Men?

This article has been updated with a lot of new information, summaries, and a new format to improve readability. If you’re not interested in a particular section skip to the part that applies to you! Alright, I’m already preparing my inbox for the angry emails, as this gets to be a touchy topic, but I’m going to do everything in my power not to turn this into some battle of the sexes. Instead, I plan to present the scientific facts as well as share my own personal experience in helping women work towards their goals. Ok, there might be one or two jokes thrown in, but this science stuff can get a little dry, right? I’ll address two different broad categories today:

 
– The Competitive Female Athlete 

– The Female Looking to Improve Her Physique 

 Here are just some of the questions answered in the article:

  1. Do women need to fear becoming bulky if they train with the same relative loads as their male counterparts? Why or why not?
  2. Are isolation exercises more, less, or equally as effective for women as they are for men?
  3. Are women at lesser or greater risk for injury, is this risk equal during sport and during training?
  4. Does a female fat loss program look different than a male’s?
  5. How do I train for a narrower waist and an hourglass shape?

Ok let’s get the facts down and then we’ll talk about the implications for our two reference people, and how they may relate to questions we just posed. If the science bores you and you’d rather eat a moldy sandwich naked in the rain than read about physiology explained, skip down to our reference people to see it applied. 

 
The Science


A meta-analysis (basically somebody analyzed all of the available studies to create a “master study”) of the current research shows that there is little statistical difference in the exercise programs tolerated by men or women; there is however, a difference in the return on investment for the work done (women will get less adaptation from the same amount of work, unfortunately) Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Lower concentration of testosterone: all other things equal the higher concentration of testosterone the larger the anabolic effect (muscle building etc). Higher concentration of estrogen, among other things, means that women will generally have a harder time losing fat.
  • More competition for testosterone at the receptor level: Simple analogy, we all know the fastest sperm wins and gets to express its genes; hormones and receptors (kind of) work the same way, except we’re going to put each type of hormone on a team. In men we have 120-150 players for testosterone, and 3 players for estrogen, in women, the teams are a little more equal but skewed in the other direction. If only one “player” gets to interact with the receptor, who do you think is going to win? We wont talk about progesterone, prolactin, aromatase enzymes or sex hormone binding globulin, but note that these also have a greater level of interference with testosterone in women.
  • Especially in the upper body musculature, women actually have a lower muscle fiber count than men, again, no surprise here, but consider the impact. Almost all muscle growth happens via hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the swelling of muscle cells, meaning that the strands of muscle fiber are growing, adding a higher enzyme capacity, more contractile and connective tissue, maybe even an extra nuclei (think brain of the cell) etc., BUT NO NEW MUSCLE CELLS ARE BEING CREATED! Hyperplasia is the formation of new muscle cells, but currently we can’t even agree whether hyperplasia is real phenomenon; however, I think we can agree that even if the growth of new muscle cells is real, the effect size is small.
  • There is also a statistical difference in the ability to recruit high threshold motor units (and the muscle fibers they innervate) in women, I hypothesize that this has to do with the androgenic (hormone) regulation of neural tissue, however this is just an educated guess and to the best of my knowledge has not been studied in context yet.

Lastly, due mainly to the influence of estrogen on the joint formation and composition, women are at a higher risk for catastrophic injury (meaning shit happened, and it happened instantaneously) at major joints. If there is impact (think running, jumping, sport contact with other opponents) there is a higher likelihood that women will sustain an injury, but due to the same influence of estrogen on connective tissue, women will usually display a higher degree of flexibility in low velocity movements. Whether this flexibility advantage translates into joint mobility at higher velocities is determined by a number of neural and structural factors, but the initial potential is usually greater in women.


Person #1: The Physique-Oriented Female

Alright this is where I think I’m going to get the most flack, but bare in mind that these are not my personal views on the ideal female physique, but a sum of the most common requests I have gotten from the female clients that I have trained. Before we get right to the science applied, here’s the basic prescriptions for women:

  • Hit the upper body musculature with a variety of different angles and variations that change the point of highest mechanical tension within the muscle
  • Stay out of the 65-85% HR rate (or medium intensity cardio) zone as much as possible. If you need to improve aerobic capacity use 1-2 weeks focused blocks every 6-8 weeks instead of constant endurance work
  • Train with higher loads more frequently, use bigger multi-joint exercises more often
  • Squat and Split Squat and drive through the heel not the toes
  • Cue slightly less air on spinal loaded lifts (50% breath out after a deep breath vs 25% for males)
  • Focus on the medial head of the deltoid, the lats, and the trees major to achieve the V-taper and visually decrease the size of the waist
  • Do some loaded calf work
  • Train the glutes and posterior hip muscles through multiple planes but focus on their hip extension role (the thrusting motion)

We know that women have less muscle fiber, especially in the upper body, so if we are going to create change we are going to want to fully stimulate the muscle, and we’re going to do this by hitting the muscle belly with different biomechanical angles and force directions; simply, we are going to use different exercises that create the highest tension in different areas of the muscles to maximize the growth potential of the muscles fibers that are already there. I touched on this concept in THE TRUTH ABOUT TONING PART 2 but the basic premise is that different exercises produce varying levels of mechanical tension in different areas of the same muscle, and that a recent study confirmed that the most hypertrophy takes place in the point of highest mechanical tension. Women will have to work harder for longer to get the muscle tissue gain they are after, especially in the upper body, also the ceiling for overall muscle gain is lower so the likelihood of achieving a look that is “too much” won’t happen by accident – it will have to be achieved by months to years of dedication. This is strike one against the “I don’t want to get big and bulky” argument.

 Secondly, women are at hormonal disadvantage when it comes to building muscle and losing fat. Less testosterone and pathways that reduce testosterone’s effects mean that not only will women have a harder time gaining muscle but a harder time retaining it while trying to lose fat. We already know how important it is to keep muscle tissue while cutting fat from THE TRUTH ABOUT TONING PART 1 (basic summary, lean tissue is more metabolically active and will power the fat loss phase, the more you have, the faster you will lose fat) so what are we going to do about it? Stay out of the mid intensity aerobic training zones (60-85% HR Max)! Especially for women as they will not have as much testosterone guarding protein from being used as fuel source! Why on earth it became popular to just do mid intensity cardio for women just confounds me to a degree I cannot adequately explain. If you want to do cardiovascular training do it in small focused 1-2 week blocks, as aerobic fitness gains are relatively stable (4-6 weeks depending on current fitness level) and can be maintained with anaerobic work for even longer. 

Because women will have a harder time recruiting the muscle fiber responsible for high intensity movement (which is also the muscle fiber with the highest potential for growth), isolation exercises will actually be of slightly lower value to female trainees. We need the neural stress to recruit those hard to stimulate muscle fibers and a tricep pushdown just isn’t going to cut it. So instead of a tricep pushdown and skull crusher superset, for women, a pull over into tricep extension and a neutral grip overhead push press is going to be far more effective at stimulating growth in the tricep muscle group. This is also a free pass to train females with higher loads. Sets of 15-20 are going to burn some calories and stress the muscle slightly, but again, they aren’t going to touch that hard to stimulate muscle fiber either. This is another one of those common female prescriptions that has absolutely no grounding in science (except for a total beginner, another article I promise). Most of the training should be spent in 5-8 rep range with large movements, 8-15 for some targeted movements as “finishers”; here you can use a few isolation exercises if you really feel they are necessary. Pro tip = high-threshold motor units are stimulated by both force and velocity, so movements done explosively are going to be very effective (for larger movements). Blood flow restricted training (pictured above) is the most effective isolation technique for women. 

 Now for the subjective stuff, generally physique-oriented women are going to come in and ask to “lose weight” and “tone” to achieve a lean look with a small waistline, flat stomach, with larger and toned glutes, lean and defined calves, a taper from the shoulders to the waist, and toned but not “manly” arms. What they are asking for, scientifically, is to lose fat and gain muscle in key areas to achieve a certain aesthetic shape, so if that is your goal, how are you going to achieve it, or if you are the trainer, how are you going to give it to them? Well we’ve already talked about how to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time in THE TRUTH ABOUT TONING PART 1 (soon to be republished in the same format), but what we haven’t talked about is how you can produce this look via training. 

First of all you are going to want to avoid exercises or techniques that will widen the midsection, so instead of cueing deep abdominal (diaphragm) breathing, you are going to want to cue a tight midsection and keep slightly less air in the lungs while the spine is loaded (squatting or deadlifting etc.) For most males you would cue a deep breath forced 1/4 out and then locking the torso, for women you will want to cue the same deep breath, but force it 1/2 out so the stomach does not protrude. This does limit strength and slightly reduce spinal stability, but a necessary evil; you are not a powerlifter after all. Check for: flat stomach and narrow waistline (this is also heavily reliant on diet, some will have to work harder than others)

 Squats and Split Squats 5-8 rep range, 3-5 sets. This will give you the lower part of the hourglass shape that many women are after. Higher neural demand than the leg press, and the strength will transfer to other lower limb movements, making those more effective as well. The leg press isn’t a useless exercise for aesthetics, but it’s not a replacement for dual and single leg squat variations; enough said. Supplement this with some lunges, glute bridges, Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, reverse hyper extensions, roman chairs, 45 degree back raises, and something for the hamstring group because you actually care about your knee health (can’t beat the glute ham raise for this). Check for: larger and toned glutes and the start of lean defined calves. Tip = drive through the heel and lean forward for more glute activation 

 Hit the glutes in both their extension role, abduction role, and their external rotation roles. Barring any injury, the glute muscles will produce the most force in their hip extension role (think jumping motion or for you dirtier minds…) so the bulk of your work should be in this plane; however, you will still want to use the glute muscles or more accurately the posterior muscles of the hips in their other slightly less powerful roles. Side lying leg raises and clamshells seem like pansy movements, and on their own they are, but supersetted into an extension based circuit, suddenly your butt will burn in a totally new way. 

Broaden the shoulders by focusing on the medial head of the deltoids to increase the look of the “V-taper” to the waist, dumbbell side raises with the cheating method decribed in TRAINING TIP #1 (cheat up , 1-2s isometric, lower as slow as possible) and lateral swings would work well here. Lat and teres major development are going to further increase this taper effect. Wide grip pull-ups and lat pull downs are going to work wonders here. The compound work for the arms is an added bonus. Check for: Upper half of the hourglass effect, taper from shoulders to waistline, and toned but not manly arms

 Lastly, most women will be quick to tell you that their legs look better in heels; they tend to force a contraction in the calves by forcing you into a loaded heel raise. So if you want to add some definition in the calves you are going to have to do some direct heel raised work after your squats/leg exercises, and probably at least 2x per week. Check for: lean defined calves.


Person #2: The Competitive Female Athlete

The summary:

  • Women can tolerate the same strength and conditioning plans as their male counterparts, but will get slightly less adaptation from the same amount of work
  • Joint stability is slightly lower in women, therefore strength training is actually more important for women in sports as they will not naturally strengthen after puberty to the same degree
  • Advanced women can train at higher relative percentages for longer periods of time without requiring as planned retaining or detraining load (deload)
  • Train the feet to stabilize the structure. Do loaded barefoot training.
  • Some bodybuilding techniques may be appropriate for training the female athlete to withstand impact on major joints
  • If high performance in team sports is the eventual goal, endurance training needs to be limited in the adolescent years

Let’s start this off on a positive note, first of all women can tolerate the same exercise programs that men can. I can personally attest to this fact; while training athletes at Trinity Western University, there were sport specific programs, but no distinctions were made between male and female athletes.

Women are also theoretically at less risk for cumulative injury in closed kinetic chain movements (nerd speak for most exercises done in training, excluding sport specific practice and drills, think squats, presses, lunges, planks etc.) due to their connective tissue pliability, tendency to stretch instead of tear, and generally lower poundage used. Anyone who has done enough mobility tests can attest to the fact that the males are going to be the ones contorting in weird pretzel shapes and complaining while the females move gracefully through movement after movement. So, in general, you expect to spend less training time invested in passive stretches and static flexibility drills and more time on strength and conditioning and sport specific practice with a group of women vs a group of men.

Also, generally women can train at higher relative percentages for longer periods of time without needing to be deloaded; if you take a look at the training of Chinese weightlifting team, women are trained for up to 6-8 weeks without a planned back period of retaining or detraining loads. When they are deloaded, it is usually for longer periods of times (2 weeks vs 1 week). This may go hand in hand with the slightly reduced ability to recruit high threshold motor units, and may require a stimulus to be applied for longer periods to achieve adaptation of the central nervous system; however, I cannot state this scientifically but more as educated guess. 

 Joint stability is going to be a larger issue for women vs. men; a simple look at the disparity in ACL injuries will quickly highlight this point. Therefore it is even more important to train compound movements in ranges that will cause the skeletal system and the connective tissue to adapt (5 rep max range and above, or above 85% of your 1 rep all out max) with a focus on eccentric loading. Think of eccentric loading as developing the braking mechanisms that stop bones from exceeding the motion of the joint capsule! You are then going to train the nervous system to use this new strength at high velocity to create dynamic joint stability, although that is going to be saved for another article in the future. While on the topic of joint stability, it is imperative that with your female athletes that proper strengthening and joint stability precedes any plyometric or jump/impact based program! Stability starts at the feet, so don’t neglect them in your training; if nothing else, do some loaded leg work in bare/socked feet. 

 Muscle moves you, but it also has an important protective ability to dissipate energy away from the passive joint structures (by passive I mean the non-contractile stuff like joint capsules, ligaments, tendons that cross etc). In sports where there will be physical contact with another player or object, care must be taken to surround vulnerable joints with protective muscle; therefore, this may be one of the few times that bodybuilding techniques are appropriate in an athletic context. Ask a female volleyball player how their dominant hitting shoulder is feeling and you’re likely to receive a cold death glare worse than leaving toilet seat up, however, had the athlete been given proper physical training early in their career, many of these overuse/microtraumatic injuries could have been avoided. I can’t stress enough that once an athlete specializes (they have chosen 1 sport, or if the seasons are short, maybe 2 sports at different times of the year) they MUST do specific physical preparation for their chosen sport(s)! This is even more important for female athletes, as they will not naturally strengthen to same degree during physical development after puberty.

Ok, at risk of starting a novel, I’m going to be brief with the next few points. There is some evidence that in the developmental years that you can actually influence the fiber type spread of an individual, so if you want your group of young athletes to be successful marathon runners and poor at other sports then ensure they do a ton of aerobic work, make them run laps, and avoid any strengthening, however if you want explosive athletes who sprint faster, jump higher, and generally dominate their competition in team sports, train the aerobic system indirectly near the anaerobic threshold, and at very low intensities under 120bpm or less for long durations. More on this later as well, but since women are already at a fiber count disadvantage, can we please stop robbing them of their high threshold motor units that will make them ass-kicking athletes in the later years? Seriously stop these cross country style workouts trying to “get them in shape”

So there you have it; I will try to keep this article up to date as new information arises. Any questions just ask. Thanks for reading!