Programming for Spouse

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5hout
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Programming for Spouse

#1

Post by 5hout » Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:25 am

I have managed to convince my wife to start lifting, or rather simply waited long enough until she started.

1. Programming to be kept as simple as possible. Must be able to communicate entire daily program in 1 short sentence.
2. Fixed session length of 25m max.
3. At the moment no squatting, b/c I have to watch the kids while she lifts and my squat rack is not particularly adjustable in its current configuration.
4. She has expressed an interest in regaining some core/ab strength post 2 c-sections.
5. After doing some OHP she expressed interest in continuing OHP as very helpful with the growing kids.

The fixed session length seems to imply 2-3 warm up sets, then 3-5 working sets for 2 lifts (2-2.5 minute rest between working sets) with 1 chaser bodyweight activity like planks tossed in at the end. She has a history of loving bodyweight ab workouts, so I plan on indulging that (and it seems to fit with the post c-section recovery).


Currently: Deadlift/Bench alternating with Deadlift/OHP using weekly increases in weight, 4 days a week.

Plan: 4-6 weeks of this (confirming RPE is somewhere in the 6/7 range via conversation), then swap out deadlift for deficit deadlifts, keep bench/OHP.

If this continues... my current thought is basically something like 4-6 week blocks of slow progressions swapping out a lower body variation and an upper body variation:
Deadlift/Bench and Deadlift/OHP
Deficit Deadlift/Bench and Deficit Deadlift/OHP
Deadlift/Row and Deadlift/CGBP
Squat/Bench and Squat/OHP

With whatever ab nonsense tossed on at the end.

This seems to work with desire for extreme simplicity, low warmup times and fixed session length. The deadlift basis comes from 2 issues, the aforementioned "I dumb built a squat rack that can't be adjusted easily" and my fairly belief that's been kicking around for a while that what former fencers need is deadlifts to hit up all the muscles fencing doesn't touch (i.e. everything but your quads, which fencing makes huge).

But, since I've seen plenty of "programming for my spouse" horror stories here I am.

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mgil
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#2

Post by mgil » Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:16 am

I think the DL/(pressing movement) works fine.

Just do something simple like ramping sets and a backoff set or two.

Sit-ups and planks for the abs.

Simple.

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mgil
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#3

Post by mgil » Tue Jun 11, 2024 12:29 pm

Also…

I’ve been doing something similar without the ab stuff for my oldest daughter. Really simple programming.

KB swings are a good option to pulls.

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Re: Programming for Spouse

#4

Post by JimRiley » Tue Jun 11, 2024 1:29 pm

5hout wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:25 am But, since I've seen plenty of "programming for my spouse" horror stories here I am.
There are indeed a lot of those stories! Most of the ones I've seen seem to stem more from psychology than programming though.

I coached my wife for a while on SBDP and it worked out pretty well. I just tried to be tactful and positive, and refrained from pushing her to do more weight - though I'd sometimes say "music to my ears!", or words to that effect, when she asked for more. She stuck with it for about a year, gained quite a bit of strength and confidence, and even got coached by Alan Thrall one memorable day. Eventually she got more interested in group activities like yoga and Zumba and stopped lifting regularly, but I still hear the telltale clang-clanging once in a while. It's definitely been a net positive for her.

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5hout
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#5

Post by 5hout » Tue Jun 11, 2024 2:00 pm

mgil wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:16 am I think the DL/(pressing movement) works fine.

Just do something simple like ramping sets and a backoff set or two.

Sit-ups and planks for the abs.

Simple.
Oh dammit this is why I posted, for some reason (despite the time issues) AND doing ascending sets all the time for myself... never occurred to me here. Going to switch her to them in a few weeks. Thanks!
JimRiley wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 1:29 pm
5hout wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:25 am But, since I've seen plenty of "programming for my spouse" horror stories here I am.
There are indeed a lot of those stories! Most of the ones I've seen seem to stem more from psychology than programming though.

I coached my wife for a while on SBDP and it worked out pretty well. I just tried to be tactful and positive, and refrained from pushing her to do more weight - though I'd sometimes say "music to my ears!", or words to that effect, when she asked for more. She stuck with it for about a year, gained quite a bit of strength and confidence, and even got coached by Alan Thrall one memorable day. Eventually she got more interested in group activities like yoga and Zumba and stopped lifting regularly, but I still hear the telltale clang-clanging once in a while. It's definitely been a net positive for her.
Yeah, we've had enough... adventures with fencing together and coaching that I think we're both taking this as gingerly as possible.

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Re: Programming for Spouse

#6

Post by dw » Tue Jun 11, 2024 4:31 pm

I've always been a bit curious about how willing are women who are not competitive athletes to gain weight.

I see a fair number of female lifters at the gym who are clearly pretty serious, go to high intensity and volume, and yet I kind of doubt they ever bulk.

(Incidentally assuming they care about putting on muscle this is a mistake, because it's entirely possible to do slow and short bulks where bf% won't appreciably increase. Guys tend to do long and flabby bulks because they're just not that averse to getting noticably fatter.)

ChasingCurls69
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#7

Post by ChasingCurls69 » Tue Jun 11, 2024 5:48 pm

5hout wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:25 am I have managed to convince my wife to start lifting, or rather simply waited long enough until she started.

1. Programming to be kept as simple as possible. Must be able to communicate entire daily program in 1 short sentence.
2. Fixed session length of 25m max.
3. At the moment no squatting, b/c I have to watch the kids while she lifts and my squat rack is not particularly adjustable in its current configuration.
4. She has expressed an interest in regaining some core/ab strength post 2 c-sections.
5. After doing some OHP she expressed interest in continuing OHP as very helpful with the growing kids.

The fixed session length seems to imply 2-3 warm up sets, then 3-5 working sets for 2 lifts (2-2.5 minute rest between working sets) with 1 chaser bodyweight activity like planks tossed in at the end. She has a history of loving bodyweight ab workouts, so I plan on indulging that (and it seems to fit with the post c-section recovery).


Currently: Deadlift/Bench alternating with Deadlift/OHP using weekly increases in weight, 4 days a week.

Plan: 4-6 weeks of this (confirming RPE is somewhere in the 6/7 range via conversation), then swap out deadlift for deficit deadlifts, keep bench/OHP.

If this continues... my current thought is basically something like 4-6 week blocks of slow progressions swapping out a lower body variation and an upper body variation:
Deadlift/Bench and Deadlift/OHP
Deficit Deadlift/Bench and Deficit Deadlift/OHP
Deadlift/Row and Deadlift/CGBP
Squat/Bench and Squat/OHP

With whatever ab nonsense tossed on at the end.

This seems to work with desire for extreme simplicity, low warmup times and fixed session length. The deadlift basis comes from 2 issues, the aforementioned "I dumb built a squat rack that can't be adjusted easily" and my fairly belief that's been kicking around for a while that what former fencers need is deadlifts to hit up all the muscles fencing doesn't touch (i.e. everything but your quads, which fencing makes huge).

But, since I've seen plenty of "programming for my spouse" horror stories here I am.
This is pretty much exactly what I do with programming for my girlfriend. Since she gave me an hour time limit gets two accessories.

OverheadDeadlifts
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#8

Post by OverheadDeadlifts » Wed Jun 12, 2024 1:30 am

Looks really good as it is, very similar to something my other half was doing for a while. Main difference was that she hated resting. Said something along the lines of “I’m here to do something and you want me to spend more than 50% of the time doing nothing?”.

Threw in some supersets which kept the session time more or less the same whilst getting more work done and alleviating the resting boredom. The best one was slinging a band over the pull-up bar so she could do a few banded pull-ups between sets of bench. Think it was also arm work between deadlift sets and grip/forearm work between squats.

csaba2208
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#9

Post by csaba2208 » Wed Jun 12, 2024 5:15 am

Defo a solid plan.
Amazing what can be done when they get the iron bug.
Years ago my partner asked me to teach her the sq/dl. Kinda similar to your plan, but we went with bw for upper body.
Day I - Sq/dip + abs (using the assisted machine and then eventually dipping with +25lb)
DAY II dl/Chin + abs (same progression as dip).

TornAlien
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#10

Post by TornAlien » Sat Jun 15, 2024 2:54 am

Love the approach you're taking with your wife's programming! Keeping it simple and tailored to her needs and preferences is key. The 25-minute session length and focus on 2-3 lifts per session will definitely help her stay consistent and motivated.

I'm intrigued by your deadlift-based programming, especially given your wife's fencing background. It makes sense to focus on exercises that target muscles that aren't typically used in fencing. And incorporating deficit deadlifts and other variations will help keep things interesting and challenging for her.
Your plan for 4-6 week blocks with slow progressions and swapping out exercises seems like a great way to keep her engaged and making progress. And tossing in some ab exercises at the end will help her work towards her goal of regaining core strength post-c-sections.

One question: have you considered incorporating any exercises that target her quads, even if it's just a few sets of leg press or leg extensions? Just wondering if you're planning to address that imbalance at some point.
Overall, it sounds like you're on the right track, and I'm curious to hear how your wife progresses over the next few weeks!

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aurelius
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#11

Post by aurelius » Wed Jun 19, 2024 9:54 am

I'm just gonna echo what has been expressed: you are not your SO's coach. And cannot approach it like that. My only limited success was a basic setup and then encouragement.

What I really want to do is yell at her to be more consistent, stop wussing out on the weight/reps/ROM, and eat more*.

Smart ditching the squat. IMO, probably the hardest core lifting movement to learn and/or teach. I just used leg press with my SO. If she reaches a point she wants to squat I will give it a shot.

*I have known numerous women that can eat like maybe 500 calories in day and be like "I forgot to eat." Like What? I would be on the news for a road rage incident. How do they do this?

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lheugh
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#12

Post by lheugh » Wed Jun 19, 2024 10:37 am

My fondest memory is when my missus wanted to try cambered benching on an incline, and when she un-racked and performed the first rep all the way to the clavicle, I was very proud.

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DanCR
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#13

Post by DanCR » Wed Jun 19, 2024 11:43 am

aurelius wrote: Wed Jun 19, 2024 9:54 am *I have known numerous women that can eat like maybe 500 calories in day and be like "I forgot to eat." Like What? I would be on the news for a road rage incident. How do they do this?
A thousand times yes on all counts.

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aurelius
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Re: Programming for Spouse

#14

Post by aurelius » Wed Jun 19, 2024 5:06 pm

DanCR wrote: Wed Jun 19, 2024 11:43 amA thousand times yes on all counts.
My relationship vastly improved when the first question I ask when I get home from work is, "Have you eaten?" :lol:

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