Do women require a different approach to strength training? Bill Starr doesn’t think so but offers a few tips for coaching female lifters.
I realize the origin of the idea that females are the weaker sex, but even at a young age, I knew it was false. I grew up in a farming community and observed that women did a great deal more work than the men and often helped with the milking, plowing, haying or any other task that needed to be done on the farm.
But the notion that females aren’t physically equipped to do manual labor or participate in grueling sports prevailed. Looking back, it seems rather absurd now, but that’s how things were until recent changes came about.
When I started training female athletes at the University of Hawaii in 1973, there was no information available on how to put together workouts for them. The routine that Tommy Suggs and I had devised and called the Big Three was created with males in mind. Yet I could not find a single reason why females shouldn’t do that same program.
The weight room at UH was small, with one pulling and squatting station, an incline bench, and two flat benches. So if an athlete wanted to join a group at, say, the squat station, she had to take her turn just like everyone else. I showed no favoritism one way of the other. I treated men and women alike and pushed them both equally hard, and they never grumbled or complained.