Female and male athletes are different in many ways, but one thing they have in common is muscle. Female muscle is nearly identical to male muscle. Yet there is still a widespread perception that women can’t perform all of the same exercises as men, because their muscles won’t support them.
It's time for female athletes to discard this perception. You can perform every exercise (strength permitting) that your male friends perform. Not only should you perform Olympic lifts and other strength exercises (such as Squats and Bench Presses), you should make them a focus of your workouts.
In fact, your strength training program should closely resemble a male’s program. The primary differences are that women should do more arm and shoulder lifting, to offset upper body strength weaknesses, and increase hamstring work to reduce their risk of ACL injuries.
If you’re unfamiliar with some of the more advanced lifts, begin to incorporate them into your routine gradually. If you want to perform an Olympic lift, like a Power Clean or Snatch, start with a broomstick and work up to a bar. If you want to perform a Bench Press, get the feel of the exercise by just lifting the bar. Add weight when you are ready for an additional challenge.
Expanding your training routine to encompass the full repertoire of exercises will help you get better results from your time in the weight room and will accelerate your progress toward dominating on the field, court or ice.
For examples of females athletes performing power and strength weight training exercises, check out the videos below: