Train Like a Girl

There’s more to the gym than just pumping iron you know – here are our friends at Ten Health & Fitness give us their take on keeping in shape.

A workout isn’t a workout without a good go at the free weights right? We all like to sweat, grunt and lift heavy for bulk and definition and then head for the showers without stopping for anything as girlie as a proper warm down. The thing is, as we get older, the imbalances inherent in the ‘beach muscle’ workout (all chest, arms and abs) start to catch up, often compounding the postural problems that many of us suffer from after all those hours sitting – or slouching – at our desks.

With the body constantly pulled out of alignment, all sorts of injuries can result, from chronic back, shoulder and neck pain to bulging or torn discs. Clearly there’s no point in having that honed 6-pack if you can’t stand up straight.

So, maybe it’s time that guys started to learn a few tricks from the girls. Seriously. So what are they doing that you’re not? Answer: core work and stretching.

First off, there’s a lot more to the core than just the abs. It’s the body’s natural girdle, a whole series of muscles that support the spine, align posture and anchor pretty much all our movement. Core training techniques like Pilates are a really effective way to get all those muscles working properly together, helping avoid or reduce the risk of injury, improving posture, movement and – yes, really – strength.

Similarly, for anyone who still thinks that stretching is for wusses, incorporating flexibility training into your routine will result in greater range of motion, which will in turn lead to greater strength gains and muscle growth (not to mention injury prevention and faster recovery).

So if you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for a good manly workout, start by spending a bit more time with the ladies on the stretch mats. The pink leggings are optional.

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