How to train female athletes

Is the title not…laughablgender 3e? Yet in the fitness, rehab, and sports performance world, I see articles like this nearly once per month, many of them written by men. I’m often perplexed by the three ladies under my own roof and yet some single bro in his late twenties holds loads of wisdom regarding the whole of females.

In general, most females do need more encouragement in areas that are in direct contrast to what is typically marketed to them.

Toning. Sculpting. Lose X pounds in Y days. Target a firm Z.

This, versus –

Bullet proof body – Improve resiliency and capability!

Build confidence and healthy, sustainable habits. Your body will eventually improve as well. 

Translates strength into power without wrecking your knees.

By the time that you can climb that rope, run faster and jump higher, you probably won’t give a damn about your weight.


Yes, even these statements infer multiple levels of gender bias. Based on nearly twenty years of experience working with females and males, I can firmly state that it is what it is. Whether through nature or nurture, men and women are different, equal in worth but complimentary in abilities. I’m no young-earth fundamentalist, but I do believe that one way or another, male and female He created them with different strengths, weaknesses and inclinations.

Now, with that being said, how DO you train a female athlete? Here are a few of many points to consider:

-Many but not all females have plenty of flexibility. They gravitate toward activities like Pilates and Yoga when they would benefit most from working on good stability and quality of movement (body control) in various ground based movements.

-Most female athletes lack upper body strength and are predisposed to having traumatic and repetitive overuse knee issues.

-Females will have less absolute strength per body mass than men, but they can repeat near maximal workloads with less fatigue than men.

-Females tend to follow the “rules” of form and progression and generally receive advice and instruction better than men.

q-angle-men-vs-womenStill, these points provide little input on what’s most important when working with an actual female.

You train female athletes by treating them as, ya know…a person.

A person who deserves your respect.

A person who is probably a little or a lot different than other females.

A person who knows their body better than the trainer or PT.

A person with their own present goals and past history of victgender drill sargeantory and defeat. “Cause I got issues…”

A person who probably needs a firm yet safe nudge out of their routine and comfort zone.

A person who probably will be surprised to learn what they are truly capable of, without the drill sergeant mentality.


My hero from the planet Lexicon!

WORD up, it’s word girl!!!

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