01 Dec Training Female Athletes
Since I’ve founded my company, I’ve been very fortunate to have connected with, learned from, and be mentored from some amazing strength coaches and clinicians. These people have so many years of experience under their belt and have truly seen it all that I sometimes feel like I hit the learning jackpot because I get the most up-to-date information without having to go through as many hard years of struggle as they did trying to figure it out. One lesson in particular blew my mind and changed the way I trained females and female athletes forever.
Janet Alexander is a 25 year veteran of the health and fitness industry and co-owner of The Chek Studio, Inc. in Encinitas, California. Originally from New Zealand she moved to the states in 1998 to work alongside Paul Chek, the founder of the CHEK Institute and today is a Senior Faculty member and one of Paul’s Senior Instructors of the C.H.E.K Certification Program and Golf Biomechanic Certification Intensive. She has a degree in physical education from Otago University, a diploma in teaching, is C.H.E.K Certified and an Advisory Member of the Fitness & Exercise Advisory Board for TPI. I saw Janet speak at TPI Level 3 and ripped her bio right out of my World Golf Fitness Summit speakers handout. Her topic was entitled “Lipstick, Heels, & Hormones – How to Train the FEMALE Golf Athlete”.
She’s a great presenter and I found myself very engaged in the topic because there were definitely some “Ah ha!” moments throughout her presentation where I related back to specific training sessions with some of my female clients. “Damn I wish I knew that then!”
Janet explained what we need to be able to understand as strength coaches when training females:
- We need to know how the menstrual cycle functions and how it can affect the athletes’ strength and conditioning program week to week and month to month,
- We need to know how to recognize the signs of hormonal fluctuations in female athlete and how and when to alter and periodise their training to avoid potential physical injury during different phases of their cycle, and
- We need to know the best exercises for them and what stage of their cycle they should be doing them.
- Q-angle and how abnormal Q-angles relate to injuries. For example, alpine skiers were significantly more likely to tear ACL’s in the pre-ovulatory phase than skiers in the post-ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle,
- How to identify if our female athlete is quad-dominant and how to specifically train them to remedy that,
- How to identify if our female athlete suffers from PMS and how to train them accordingly,
- How to educate the athlete on when to train hard and when to recover without future detrimental effects on her hormonal health, and
- How to train menopausal women. I loved that the answer was basically train with intensity and lift heavy $hit.