I’m not sure if there’s something in the water, but it seems like there’s more and more women throwing some serious weight around at the gym. And I like it. Nowadays, “strong is the new sexy,” and I’ll be the first to say that this is a long overdue move in the right direction for women’s health and fitness.
With all of the body image and self-esteem issues that stem from pop culture trying to dictate the “ideal” body type, it’s actually quite refreshing to see ladies hit the bar and throw some weight around without fear or judgement.
I say, forget the crash dieting, liposuction, and those oh-so deceptive Spanx, and just pump iron, squat, sprint, do pullups, and all that good shit that was once reserved only for the fellas.
However, some shit should only be reserved for the ladies…
The female gym rat understands what it really takes to get a bikini body. They understand what “toning” really entails, and I don’t mean prancing around with a pair of five-pound dumbbells either.
They understand that it’s going to take more than a few yoga poses to fill out a pair of yoga pants.
But…you don’t need me to tell you all of this, you already put in work, day in and day out.
You eat sensibly and get plenty of sleep.
You look in the mirror and you like what you see and you should—you earned that shit!The real question: How well does that finely sculpted body perform (in the gym)?
Are you all show and no-go?
Let’s just see how you size up. Here are seven strength goals that the true female gym rat should strive for:
I know this article is for the ladies, but I’m not talking about “girl” push-ups here. A staple as far as upper-body strength goes but also an area of weakness for a lot women due to lack of upper-body musculature. The push-up often resembles some kind of bad 80’s dance move in many cases. However, if you’ve been putting in work then you should have no problem cranking out 20 reps. Try to perform each rep with full range of motion (chest to floor) and full lockout at the top.2. Dips
Got push-ups? Great, now give me some dips. Let’s put it this way, pushups are like cubic zirconia and dips are like 10 carat diamonds. If you can do 10 dips you are a certified badass. Conquer the straight bar first and then work your way up to ring dips. Not only will you be the envy of all your girlfriends, but you’ll never have to wait in line for the pec deck again.3. Chin-ups
Probably the most daunting of bodyweight exercises, the chin-up will put hair on your chest. You know your strength is in proportion to your bodyweight when you can bust out multiple reps G.I. Jane style. Start with chin-ups and once you’ve got those down, give pull-ups a go. Eight strict chin-ups will set you apart from all the haters catching up on the latest episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians on the elliptical.Now that you’ve proven you can move your bodyweight, let’s see how well you can move a barbell.
4. Back Squats
With all the popularity of twerking these days, having a well-developed booty is an absolute must. No one want to be that girl who looks like she’s wearing a pair of Huggies in jeans. One of the best ways to combat a flat dumpy ass is with deep, heavy back squats. If you’re squat is up to par, you should be pushing somewhere around 1.5 times your bodyweight.
Now if you really want to prove that you don’t spend all of your time on that creepy adductor/abductor machine that looks like something you’d find in a gynecology office, then your deadlifting will speak volumes. The deadlift is one the purest expressions of strength, and if you can pull double your bodyweight, you’re truly one fit badass. Sumo or conventional? You pick. Just as long as you can pull that shit off the ground.6. Shoulder Press
Better put on your big girl pants for this one. Overhead strength is likely the most neglected among folks in the gym—especially you, ladies. An extra special attention to detail is needed to dominate this exercise. Core strength, as well as shoulders, and triceps need to be dialed-in if you want to press big weight. If you can throw up 75% of your bodyweight, give yourself a pat on the shoulder. 7. Bench Press
How’s your chest? No, I don’t mean your cup size. An exercise that’s worshiped by the fellas and sometimes used as a direct measure of penis length, bench press is the honorary king in the gym. As far as absolute upper-body strength is concerned, bench press is and always will be the gold standard. If you can bench your bodyweight then you got a seat at the “don’t fuck with me” table.If you’ve met all those standards then you’re the real deal, girl. And I’d hate to be the guy that pisses you off and has to answer to you.
For the rest of you, you now have something to strive for in your training.
Stay strong and stay sexy.
Want to get stronger, leaner, and more conditioned? Discover the 7 best exercises to get in wicked shape here.