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  1. #1
    Registered User chriswatton66's Avatar
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    Wife has expressed an interest in starting weight training, advice?

    It has taken almost three years for my wife to partake in what I do, but I am still surprised she has expressed an interest.

    She joined a gym a month ago, and has been going to a few classes (Legs. Bums and Tums type of thing).

    She (and her friend who she goes with) have asked me to show them a simple weights routine next Sunday, and write down what they should do. My wife isn't fat at all and she wants to 'tone up'. I am not sure the standard keep fit classes cut it for serious toning - they just seem to 'flail around' to pop songs!

    She is 46 (her friend is mid-20's). My immediate thought was a simple 5x5 routine, with Squats, Bench, O/H Press, Rows and Deadlifts, starting with 3x5 rather than 5x5.

    Is this a good idea, or would a more varied workout utilising dumbbells more be better?

    Thank you
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  2. #2
    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chriswatton66 View Post
    It has taken almost three years for my wife to partake in what I do, but I am still surprised she has expressed an interest.

    She joined a gym a month ago, and has been going to a few classes (Legs. Bums and Tums type of thing).

    She (and her friend who she goes with) have asked me to show them a simple weights routine next Sunday, and write down what they should do. My wife isn't fat at all and she wants to 'tone up'. I am not sure the standard keep fit classes cut it for serious toning - they just seem to 'flail around' to pop songs!

    She is 46 (her friend is mid-20's). My immediate thought was a simple 5x5 routine, with Squats, Bench, O/H Press, Rows and Deadlifts, starting with 3x5 rather than 5x5.

    Is this a good idea, or would a more varied workout utilising dumbbells more be better?

    Thank you
    That's about exactly what my wife does when it's warm enough to use the garage gym. Warm-ups then 3x5-6 for work sets for compounds then she likes to add in her own extra stuff. She's doing P90X now inside since it's too cold for the garage gym and she likes it. If she decides she doesn't like the intensity required to make those low rep sets count just increase the rep range to 8-10, but stick with the basic compounds.
    A bigger back will make a bigger waist look a little smaller....

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  3. #3
    Registered User chriswatton66's Avatar
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    Thanks, Plateauplower.

    The gym she has joined isn't far from where she works, so she normally goes when she has finished. I joined the same gym to do a few workouts at the weekend, when my wife goes, although like you, I have a garage gym with everything we could ever need. (But in the Winter months, it is damn cold)!

    So, a 3x5 (to start with), it is then. I just hope they have a lighter bar than the standard 20kg type, as I think they would struggle with the O/H Press with a 20kg starting weight..
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    Originally Posted by chriswatton66 View Post
    Thanks, Plateauplower.

    The gym she has joined isn't far from where she works, so she normally goes when she has finished. I joined the same gym to do a few workouts at the weekend, when my wife goes, although like you, I have a garage gym with everything we could ever need. (But in the Winter months, it is damn cold)!

    So, a 3x5 (to start with), it is then. I just hope they have a lighter bar than the standard 20kg type, as I think they would struggle with the O/H Press with a 20kg starting weight..
    Most gyms have one inch bars for the ladies . 👍🏼
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    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chriswatton66 View Post
    Thanks, Plateauplower.

    The gym she has joined isn't far from where she works, so she normally goes when she has finished. I joined the same gym to do a few workouts at the weekend, when my wife goes, although like you, I have a garage gym with everything we could ever need. (But in the Winter months, it is damn cold)!

    So, a 3x5 (to start with), it is then. I just hope they have a lighter bar than the standard 20kg type, as I think they would struggle with the O/H Press with a 20kg starting weight..
    Yea I bought a 5' bar for OHP for the wife, if the gym doesn't have a shorty bar sub in DB OHP (standing) until she can press the barbell. Start her off light and make sure she gets the form down for everything. I didn't think my wife would take to lifting "heavy" but once she got going she got hooked on getting stronger on squats, deads etc. As mentioned my wife likes to incorporate things I would leave out, like cable machine leg ISO stuff and some other random stuff she picked up from who knows where, but she does those at the end as the "treat" for doing the real work. Form is everything getting her started right though. Full depth squats, safe/effective DL technique etc.
    A bigger back will make a bigger waist look a little smaller....

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  6. #6
    Registered User chriswatton66's Avatar
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    Thanks again PP and leelameema. I really hope she enjoys it. I have a 5 foot bar at home, a remnant from my initial foray into weight training, buying all the wrong stuff!
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    Originally Posted by chriswatton66 View Post
    Thanks again PP and leelameema. I really hope she enjoys it. I have a 5 foot bar at home, a remnant from my initial foray into weight training, buying all the wrong stuff!
    Just make sure that her form is *spot on* or she could get injured which will sink the entire plan.
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    To hell with her going with her friend, thats time you two could spend together. I used to love the time I spent w my wife working out. Granted I didnt like working out together at the same time but would do my workout myself then stay with her and spot when needed
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    Registered User chriswatton66's Avatar
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    Absolutely! Form and breathing must be perfected before anything else. I was thinking for warm ups doing Back Extensions, as they warm up the lower back and give the whole posterior a good stretch before doing Squats.
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    You could be a professional weightlifter who wrote the actual book on the subject but no matter what you tell them, you will be wrong.

    just help her with a few exercises so she can see which ones she likes and let her alone. If she shows interest in certain ones then encourage that. otherwise its just knocking your head against the wall most times.
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    My wife follows my routine, we go together a couple times a week. We like being in the gym at the same time but operate at difference cadence's. She is just killing it again I am so proud of her. Prior to getting prego she was in extremely good shape. Now that Zoey is older she has been back at it since Dec. and actually pushes me.
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    Originally Posted by crupiea View Post
    You could be a professional weightlifter who wrote the actual book on the subject but no matter what you tell them, you will be wrong.

    just help her with a few exercises so she can see which ones she likes and let her alone. If she shows interest in certain ones then encourage that. otherwise its just knocking your head against the wall most times.
    Gee I was just about to say the same thing about my husband when I started him on his routine 6 weeks ago...
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    it is tricky business coaching your wife. Obviously it is hard to judge, your personal situation might be better, with mutual trust and stuff like that, but I would suggest you stay away from her completely and let her do her thing, or bite a bullet and talk her into taking a few sessions with PT. Ladies notoriously have their own ideas about training, and they always want to change their bodies by trying to "build here, burn some fat here" etc. Like suggested above, your help have to be very tactful and minimal.
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by kitpapa View Post
    Gee I was just about to say the same thing about my husband when I started him on his routine 6 weeks ago...
    Spouses training spouses can get weird quick!

    Send her here OP: Beginner's Guide to Female Bodybuilding and Fitness
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    Originally Posted by crupiea View Post
    just help her with a few exercises so she can see which ones she likes and let her alone. If she shows interest in certain ones then encourage that. otherwise its just knocking your head against the wall most times.
    If we take away the spouse factor though, and just say she's a novice lifter, isn't what novices need is structure?

    I don't see a lot of novices on these forums getting advised to just try exercises and see what they like. They are usually told to pick an established novice program that tells them exactly what to do, and follow it as written.
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    I think for starter it is better to start with a higher raps with lower weights so they can better feel the intend muscle usage.
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    Good!
    Encourage her and have her take it slowly.
    My wife did the same thing and in a little over two years she lost 100 pounds.
    I started her off simply laying on her back and then having her stand up and back down and repeat for five minutes.
    That hits many areas of the body and is a good functional movement and harder than it sounds.
    You should have her try it.
    We progressed from easy bodyweight to weights over time.
    Dont be in a rush and stress functional things like lunges,squats deadlifts,pushups ect.
    Good luck.
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    If she's not fit or unused to the basic moves start bodyweight

    Like rather than squatting with a bar, just bw squats and if she can't do that sit down stand up on a box or a bench ..if you go too hard she may give up before she starts ...

    Buy her a book like Strong Curves (Brett Contreras)

    You're right a programme like stronglifts is fine too if that's where she is mentally or starting strength

    Personally I'd hate for my husband to train with me.. but he's a cyclist so that ain't happening
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    Originally Posted by Rabbitjb View Post
    If she's not fit or unused to the basic moves start bodyweight

    Like rather than squatting with a bar, just bw squats and if she can't do that sit down stand up on a box or a bench ..if you go too hard she may give up before she starts ...
    Good point. My wife could not squat the bar to depth when she started. So I had her follow the steps in this video and she was able to work up to it. It took her a couple months but she got there.



    You're right a programme like stronglifts is fine too if that's where she is mentally or starting strength
    We did stronglifts together but she could not keep up with the aggressive progression, even with using micro plates to slow it down.

    She ended up taking several months off because of an unrelated surgery, so she's probably back at square one again. If/when she gives it another try, I think I'm going to suggest AllPro for her. Hopefully she'll be able to handle the slower double progression scheme better than the straight linear progression.

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  20. #20
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    Thank you for all of the advice. We will be heading to the gym on Sunday morning. She has already been doing sessions (not weight training) for a few weeks now, and seems to really enjoy it. So much so that she's bought a Fitbit and some whey powder!

    I figured that starting on 3x5 rather than 5x5 would be better, and will be quite a short routine (30 minutes or so), dipping her toe in the water rather than trying to drown her..
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    bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50) bisonp will become famous soon enough. (+50)
    bisonp is offline
    I tried to get my wife to do the basics for years but could never convince her. Then when she finally decided she wanted to be stronger she found some videos online, including a lot of Rippetoe ones. He's evidently a lot more convincing than I am because she's off and running now.

    It's sometimes hard to overcome the fitness industry's absolute bombardment of fad programs and isolation moves, not to mention all the myths and assumptions about women and strength training. A couple months of steady progression makes it a lot easier to see through the BS.
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