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Biggest Female Training Mistakes You Can Fix Today

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When it comes to fat loss, training & transforming your physique, wouldn’t you want to optimize every aspect?

While most people (including coaches/trainers) have good intentions, they can all fall for the same common errors, myths and traps which wreck their results and progress.

Here are the biggest mistakes and how to fix them instantly…

The Problem?

These training mistakes commonly arise as a result of believing everything you read on the internet by so called “Fitness experts’ or ‘Instagram models’. You may have noticed that these days if you are in good shape or did a physique comp you can automatically join the “online coach / guru / IG fitness star community”.

Sadly, this leaves the whole fitness world unregulated with poor advice floating around the internet available to millions of people.

But fear not … now it’s my turn to fix all the myths you may have learnt, based on nearly a decade of practical experience and research, tested on more than 500 clients including Hollywood Celebs, Elite athletes and Pro Bikini Competitors.

Here’s what you need to know…

Training Mistake 1: Not Picking The Right Weighttraining mistakes

One of the biggest and ridiculous myths is that females must use light weights and not lift heavy or like a “guy”.

This is the result of the media and the general misconception that lifting light or higher rep will help burn fat, improve muscle tone and reduce ‘bulkiness’.

Sadly, this couldn’t be more ridiculous but plenty of women still fear that lifting heavy will cause excess muscle growth and a bulky appearance (I wish it were that easy!).

The truth? Make sure you’re sitting down for this…

Lifting heavy and with a high intensity can actually help you lose body fat faster, burn more calories, tone up and achieve a healthy, lean  and more athletic physique.

In fact, lifting heavy will allow you to lay down more dense (known as myogenic) muscle through the hypertrophic pathways and lay down more actin and myosin (the most dense fibers) within a muscle.

This means it becomes more firm and toned, not flat and and soft. In contrast, lifting those stupidly light weights will actually not achieve your goals, because you’re not optimizing your workout, fat loss or overall muscle tone.

The whole ‘bulky’ look and myth actually arises from excess body fat and low amounts of muscle or muscle tone (because you’re not lifting heavy – do you see the irony here?). Therefore, by lifting lighter weights there’s actually more chance of becoming more bulky because you’re not optimizing your workout, fat loss or overall muscle tone.

How To Pick The Correct Weight When Lifting

To prevent this “skinny fat look” from happening, you must lift heavier weights tailored to your individual strength.

This doesn’t mean you need to lift as heavy as a power lifter or the 250LB bodybuilder, but, where possible, you should be picking a weight that is relative to your capabilities.

In other words, if you plan to do 5 reps, pick the heaviest weight you could do for 5 reps. If you plan to do 15, that is fine, but make sure that 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th rep feels like your muscle and body are about to explode.

The main takeaway is you must lift to failure, i.e. you lift until you physically can’t do 1 more rep. If you lift light and stop when it’s starting to burn or hurt, you may as well just stay at home or jump on a treadmill … you simply can’t optimize fat loss or your physique using this approach.

From now on, start using a variety of rep ranges and weights to the point of failure. This will allow you to develop strength, muscle tone and help increase metabolism and therefore, burn more fat.

Here’s an example training rep scheme that I recommend:

  • 20-30% of your sets failing around 5-8 reps
  • 35% of your sets failing around 8-12 reps
  • 35% sets of your failing at around 12-20 reps

Following a structure like this means you cover a good variety of rep ranges and develop all aspects of strength and muscular endurance whilst dropping body fat. This will help you achieve the lean, athletic physique most people dream of.


Training Mistake 2: Stupid Body weight Booty Blasts

With the rapid rise in Instagram and YouTube fitness stars, the internet has become saturated with pointless exercise images and videos.

Many have fallen into the trap of believing everything they see on a fitness page, in the hope of finding the one thing that works. Sadly though, a lot of the recommended exercises are actually very ineffective, make no biomechanical sense and won’t help you achieve your physique goals.

For example, a plan solely based on body weight exercises or a stupid “booty workouts” will not be as effective as you think – trust me. Will it work if you don’t train at the minute? Well yes, sure it will, but, will it be the most effective, efficient and optimal way to change your physique? No way!

The reason it won’t work is partly due to the mechanics of your body and the fact that those type of exercises do not manipulate the strength curve, or overload the muscle (key to adaptations for progress, not just in the weights, but life in general – common sense right?).

These are 2 key factors in physique development. Your body is born to adapt and survive. Do the same 20 rep home workout circuit everyday and expect to grow or develop? It’s like learning the same maths class when you were 10 years old, forever…

Training Mistake 3: Picking The Wrong Exercises

The most common myth or misleading exercise is famous glute kickbacks.

Females commonly perform this exercise to improve their bum/ glute muscle definition and yes, it does work the glutes or bum. However, the big problem with glute kickbacks is that they do not match the strength curve or work the muscle through its full range of motion under load or weight.

So, while the exercise may be working the bum or glutes, it’s not doing it under weight or load. That’s like trying to grow your biceps and just lifting your arm up without any weight all day – stupid right?

Sadly, the biggest problem when performing this exercise is that, to the untrained eye, it looks like it works because it causes the glute / bum to fully shorten. This compresses all the fat and muscle tissue giving you the impression your bum is growing or bigger.

If you do a crunch or sit up, you are forcing all the fat and skin together – does this mean your stomach will grow extra fat? No, so, why would we use the same logic for the glutes?

Now don’t get me wrong, if you load this exercise with a cable or improvise with a leg extension pad, smith machine etc, yes, it can work great, but, how many people ever do this?

Rather than focusing on obscure exercises that have gained popularity through the wrong medium (i.e. the evil social media), focus on the basics that have been scientifically proven to work…

For growing your glutes and legs or simply to burn more body fat, here are no nonsense and PROVEN exercises:

  • Hamstring Specific Squats
  • Heel Raised Front Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Romanian/ Stiff Legged Deadlifts
  • Rack Pulls
  • Back Extension
  • Hamstring Curls
  • Split Squats/Lunges
  • Walking Lunges
  • Weighted Hip Extensions

I’ve successfully used these exercises with both my 1:1 female clients and literally 1000s of women in the 90 Day Bikini Transformation to lose weight, shred their stubborn belly and leg fat while transforming their physiques.


training mistakes

Training Mistake 4: Not Training Frequently Enough

Regardless of gender, one of the biggest training mistakes / programming errors people make relates to training frequency. Simply, this means that within a given week each muscle group is not trained often enough.

Many people will train each muscle group once or maybe twice a week. I recommend this should be increased to 3 and maybe even 4 times a week to help you tone up, grow muscle and shred belly fat or weight.

Despite this recommendation being applicable for both genders, there’s even more research supporting the use of higher frequency training for females. Firstly, research suggests that females are better at recovering post workout, allowing them to train each muscle more often.

This makes them very well suited to advanced training techniques such as Metabolic Resistance Training, as it allows for a higher frequency program and greater use of female specific muscle fiber type make-up.

If you’re currently following a routine where you train each muscle group per weekly session, I highly advise you rethink this and move to 2-3 times a week. Take a look at my Metabolic Resistance Training article as this helps explain a superior training split and can turbo charge your progress!

Training Mistake 5: Taking Long Rest Periods

Another big and very common female-specific training mistake is taking excessively long rest periods.

While extended rest periods are well suited if your main goal is strength or power, for the most part, if you’re trying to transform your physique or shred fat, shorter rest periods will be superior and more time efficient.

There are many benefits to shorter rest periods. Firstly, it will help provide a metabolic-like workout, boosting fat loss and key fat burning hormones (such as growth hormone) that help you shred fat in the hours following the training session.

Furthermore, as females have different proportions of type 1 and 2 muscle fibers compared to males, there are actually more suited to this type of metabolic training. Unless you’re an athlete or your only goal is to drastically improve strength and power, I highly recommend for the majority of your workout you limit rest periods to around 60-90 seconds.

Of course, this isn’t to say from now on you should only use shorter rest periods; some higher rest period and strength-based work will also be beneficial for you to maximize central nervous system adaptations and increase strength, but, this should only make up maybe 20-30% of your total regime.

The key here is to get a balance between both shorter and longer rest periods tailoring it specifically to your goals.

In the 90 Day Bikini Transformation Program, I  have specifically programmed enough strength and power-based work so that you will see noticeable adaptations in strength without compromising fat loss or your physique transformation.

If you do the same and are smart with your programming, you can quickly shred fat whilst also toning up, gaining lean muscle and strength!

Fix These Issues, Transform Your Physique

By simply fixing these simple training mistakes and combining them with an advanced diet plan like those included in the 90 Day Bikini Transformation Program you will be able to rapidly transform your physique.

If you are consistent with your diet and exercise regime, you’ve already done the hard job that 90% of people struggle with. Now, you are in a perfect position to make a few advanced tweaks and changes to your regime. Fix these issues and you can literally transform your progress and see the results.

This will provide you with a very advanced training regime addressing all the points listed above. In addition, you will get a highly specific nutrition and supplement protocol program supported by research, designed specifically to help you lose fat, improve strength, performance and muscle tone.

I do believe that some of these issues apply to men and women. I simply termed this “female” training mistakes as I feel some of the points are more gender specific, such as glute kick backs and selecting light weights in fear of becoming bulky (how many guys do you know that do this?).

About the author

Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN

Rudy has a 1st class BSc in Exercise, Nutrition & Health and a Masters in Exercise & Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa. Rudy currently works as a Human Performance Researcher, Sports Nutritionist and Physique Coach. Over 7 years he has helped over 500 people around the world achieve long last physique transformations.

He now works closely with a variety of professional athletes and teams, including the NBA, USA Athletics, World Triathlon Gold Medalists, Hollywood Celebrities and IFBB Pro Bodybuilders. If you would like to get in contact or work with Rudy please contact him on social media.

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