The Way We Train Women Is Changing
Women have 3 very distinctive differences, which if you are not being accommodated for will mean that YOUR client will find someone who does.
Or worse! You could be potentially damaging them.
- Anatomical differences. This may seem obvious, but let us be blunt. Women have an extra opening at the bottom of their pelvis. Unlike the sphincter muscles that close the urethra and anus, the vaginal opening has no such mechanism. Women rely on their pelvic floor to keep their uterus, bladder and bowel in the right place. Continually placing unnecessary strain on the pelvic floor with compromised posture, inappropriate weight or not accommodating for intro-abdominal pressure can lead to damaging this small muscle. Damage to pelvic floor can cause incontinence (both urinary and fecal) or worse – prolapse – when these organs literally fall out of place.
- Hormonal differences. Women have changing hormonal status both in their monthly cycle and their life cycles of pregnancy, postnatal (pregnancym postnatal) and menopause. These hormonal changes have a direct impact on the muscle function. Learning when is the best time to increase weights and maximise the hormonal impact on strength gains is vital to the periodization of your female client. The same is also true… when do the hormonal changes make your client most at risk of injury?
- Post- natal is for life. Women are often given this label while their baby is young. However, pregnancy changes a woman’s body and certainly her hormonal system (see point 2) until she goes through the next hormonal shake-up… menopause. With each child, the risk factor of prolapse increases.
- Every postnatal woman needs to have her abdominals checked before resuming to exercise. Diastasis or DRAM is when the rectus abdominal pulls apart via the linea alba (directly down the middle of the tummy) and this can occur to around 60% of women and has direct implications on exercise programs. If a split has been identified, it is important for a trainer to help repair with exercise, rather than make it worse. DRAM or diastasis can impact on pelvic and back pain, core stability and pelvic floor function.
Postnatal women are not always checked by their GP’s or any other Health professional post birth. Many mums may not even know the implications that diastasis has on their exercise routine. Perhaps you have heard them complain of a pouchy tummy, that no amount of exercise or diet has been able to shift? Being “diastasis aware” may be the key to improving your clients outcomes AND in more ways that the just the “look” of their tummy.
To learn how to check for diastasis and modify exercises
is an essential skill in any trainers’ toolbox.
Women’s health is often relegated to “special populations” and apart from pregnancy; the historical strength and conditioning philosophies have been applied to women, in much the same way as their male counterparts. If the program is modified, it is along the lines of training women as if they were little men.
Because of female hormonal changes within their monthly cycle and their life cycles of child bearing and menopause, this mean this is not always entirely appropriate.
Understanding your client’s body, asking the right questions, providing the right information and modifying their exercise programming responsively will mean that you will be a trainer that stands out among the crowd.
To find the information that you need to cater to your female client has in the past, been a little hit and miss. And often trainers are left in the dark or consulting Dr. Google.
Imagine if there was one place of learning that brought together leaders in their respective fields of training women and addressed issues such as diastasis, hormonal changes, how your client can “lift heavy” but do so safely, how to address eating disorders, or how to work with your clients who have prolapse?
The Women’s Health and Fitness Summit brings together some of the worlds leading educators to up skill YOU, the trainer, to work better with the majority of your clients. It is also an opportunity to network with a broader community of allied health who share your female clients. These professional relationships represent gold in your PT business for referrals.
The very first session on Saturday, taken by Alex Lopes (the current Chair of the Australian Physiotherapy Association) will be matching physio to fitness. This will be your opportunity to make connections that will have a massive impact on you, your clients and your business.
The fourth Women’s Health and Fitness Summit is held at the beautiful Grand Hyatt in Melbourne on the 28 & 29th October. It brings together fitness professionals and allied health professionals who work with women for quality education, networking and more.
The trade show features products and services that will appeal to you and your clients.
This is a new style of health and fitness conference.
Are guys welcome?
Absolutely… if you work with women, this is your place.
Every year we endeavor to bring to you what is missing from our usual Fitness Conventions and this year is no different. We are bringing two amazing women out from the US… and if you don’t know who they are… then you absolutely should. And this will be your opportunity to get to know them.
Jessica Drummond is a very rare presenter – she has qualifications in both physical therapy and nutrition and is leading the way in terms of using nutrition strategies to address issues such as prolapse and menopausal symptoms. Check out this blog – which includes a video interview – to get to know Jessica a bit better.
Jessica is in huge demand for her expertise in both the US and across the world… I am absolutely thrilled that her first jaunt to Oz will be for the WHFS. There is also a full day pre-summit and if you work with menopausal women – you absolutely should not miss this.
Our second US presenter is Haley Shevener. Every time she posts on her Facebook page, I personally build a bit more of a girl-crush. In a nutshell Hayley is a Personal Trainer who gives body-positive fitness instruction, discussion and perspective. Haley promotes truth-seeking, satisfying and engaging movement, and freedom from judgment and the pressure to perform/conform.
Haley will be delivering yet another world first – Kettle Bell training specific to women’s needs. If you use this tool and you work with women… then this is a must (Please note – this session will be limited and it is strictly first in, first serve!)
One of the biggest questions I get asked is a practical one…
“I understand more about the importance of pelvic floor, but how do I create a class / session that helps and not hurts my clients?”
We have one of the industry GREATS – Lisa Westlake to help with that question! A practical session designed for both physiotherapists and fitness professionals that will look at the “how to” design and create a session or class that will cater to your clients. Again, spots to this session will be limited and it is first in, first serve!
I have highlighted just 3 sessions at this year’s event – but we also have sessions covering the following:
- Exercise during pregnancy – Sami Cattach
- Latest research on DRAM and pelvic girdle pain – Alex Lopes
- The Big O (yes you heard right! Women’s sexuality, should always be included) – Dr. Janet Hall
- Making the Pool Cool – HIIT training in the water – Melissa Morony
For all timetable details – click here
and of course there are networking drinks and lots and lots of other surprises in store for you.
But whatever you do… don’t miss out on this event!
We do have a payment plan (on check out) and the opportunity to volunteer.
If you would like to check out videos of WHFS in the past – check them out here
If you want to know about what inspired me to create this event… then check out this
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Here are some other blogs you might be interested in about the WHFS – just click on the image!