Introducing women to the world of strength training in an approachable way has been my mission as of late. Swapping isolated movements for compound movements; placing “masculine” equipment in their hands, and proving to them that they are stronger than they imagined is what I promote.

female stretching with kettlebelll

Last month I discussed a format that I have been experimenting with to build a community of women who embrace doing things they previous thought only men could do.

In terms of programming, we break sessions into four parts:

  1. Dynamic warm-up: 6-7 minutes of movements priming the kinetic chain and muscles that will be called upon throughout the workout.
  2. Strength Workout of the day (SWOD): 12-15 minutes of muscular strength. Compound exercises like squats and deadlifts. Sets and reps are short, and recovery should be needed between sets.
  3. Met-Con round (WOD)- 10-20 minutes of muscular endurance. Interval and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocols such as, AMRAP, EMOM, Pyramids, and circuits work well.
  4. Cool down with stretching- 5-7 minutes at the end to slowly bring the heart rate down and stretch muscles called upon in the workout. 

Two Samples:

Warm up: 10 repetitions of the following:

  1. Single leg RDL with hip rounds on the way up
  2. Plank to down dog
  3. Downdog to lunge with a torso twist (aka: World’s Greatest Stretch)
  4. Inchworms with hand release push-ups

Cardio Finish

  1. Tabata (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) jump rope. This can be cut in half for 4 rounds rather than 8.
SWOD: Back squats

  1. Warm up: barbell without weight
  2. 4X6 (4 sets. 6 reps each) with the goal of identifying a 6 rep max. Adding weight each round.
WOD: EMOM 4X8 (4 rounds. 8 reps each exercise. Remaining seconds are recovery)

    1. Chest press (dumbbell or barbell)
    2. Thrusters (dumbbell or barbell)

AMRAP 6 minutes. 10 reps each exercise

  1. Box jumps
  2. Kettlebell swings
  3. Suspension trainer rainbow knee tucks
Cooldown: I like to use yoga stretches whenever appropriate

  1. Child’s posture into half tortoise
  2. Supine torso twists
  3. Supine figure four


Warm up: Clients will move across the room

  1. Walking lunge with overhead reach to, walking lunge w/torso twist back
  2. High knees to, butt kickers back
  3. Zig zags to and back
  4. Squat walk to and back
  5. Bear crawls to, skip back
SWOD: Trap bar deadlifts

  1. Warm up: 10, 8, 6, reps- adding weight each round
  2. 3X10 (3 sets. 10 reps each)
WOD: Descending Pyramids: 16, 12, 8 (reps)

  1. Landmine push press
  2. Weighted box step overs
  3. Battle rope rainbow slams
  4. Suspension trainer ab roll out

40/20 X4

Asymmetrical weighted carry

Kettlebell goblet squats

  1. Sweat angel rollovers
  2. Lacrosse ball roll out: hamstrings, glutes, lats, and delts

I’m still experimenting with programming these sessions, so please share ideas I can add to the repertoire.