Today I had the privilege of training my club's first female lifter. I have made a few adjustments to what I would usually do for a stronger lifter, she is probably about 50-55kg, she said she was 5'4" and 38 y/o. She will be training twice a week.
Squat: Taught her air squats and then goblet squats which she learned with ease. Her hips were tucking under on a few reps but getting her to think about her lower back with a cue helped minimise it. Off to a good start so I showed her how to set up for the squat but she was struggling to replicate the technique with the barbell, I have seen this before but I was not sure if it was the weight of the bar that was messing up her technique. She also mentioned some soreness from some exercise the previous day so I didn't want to push the envelope. I have told her to do 20 or more air squats each day at home to practice technique and get her balance, in her next session I'll try using a broom stick to see if it was the 20kg weight that was throwing balance off.
Bench: After showing her how to grip the barbell, set the shoulders, arch her back, set her butt and feet she did pretty well for a few sets of 5 with the bar. Went up to 25kg but that was too heavy for a starting weight so 20kg will do for today. She seems to have about as much lower back flexibility as a man so it seems not all woman can arch like a contortionist.
Deadlift: Showed her how to set up and she started with 40kg (green bumper plates, would be good if they had technique plates) but she was cat backing it and it was too heavy to start with (she has a good bone structure for sumo but for now I had to sort out the lower back). To get her thinking about her lower back I showed her Romanian deadlifts. She has no issues with these (got this tip from 70s big). Got her doing some rack pulls at knee level so her spine was not as horizontal and so she could feel 20-30-40kg for sets of five reps. Also got her to pull the slack out of the bar and her back was under control. Went back for another try from the floor and she did 2 reps without cat backing but for the next few sessions I'll get her doing Romanian deadlifts to build up her strength and kinaesthetic awareness (the main issue with new lifters).
We had some time so I taught her how to press (did 3 reps with the bar) and rows (from hang easy with the bar), did a few more air squats and she was showing signs of fatigue so I ended the session. She seems really keen on Powerlifting which impressed me the most, it will be great to see her progress and compete in her first competition in the coming months. I am so happy to have a woman to be a role model for other woman.
Also for anyone that has trained a complete novice woman in the powerlifts how much did they progress in the first 6 months-1 year?