6 Tips for Building a Flawless Feminine Form
A lot of trainers would say no. A lot of trainers will say that you don’t need to differentiate between men and women when designing training programs. They’ll tell you that the physiological needs are nearly identical and only the hormones are different; thankfully, I’m not like most trainers.
In fact, I disagree, and I believe that in a few specific ways, men and women need to train quite differently.
Firstly, the idea that only the hormones are different is flawed, fundamentally. I’ve written about this a lot, so I don’t want to rehash, but the fact is that hormones change the game significantly.
The hormonal differences between men and women account for more than 90% of the differences in the way men and women actually respond to training and nutrition.
So, while I agree that on just about any level that there are many similarities in the way you can approach training, I recognize that there are some things that need to be taken into account.
Secondly, I don’t design programs for clients based on some arbitrary assessment of what they are theoretically capable of responding to. Rather, I approach program design based only on the client’s goals.
Forgive me for generalizing, but men and women typically have very different goals. Even when a man and a woman have the same goal—fat loss, for example—they will still have different micro-goals within the context of that macro-goal. Keeping those micro-goals in mind is of the utmost importance…especially if you want to keep the client happy.
Having more than a decade of experience training people of all shapes and sizes, and with the majority of them being women, I’ve come up with the following list for helping women get better results and achieving that sexy look that most of my clients are after.
Submitted, for your consideration, my top six rules for helping sculpt a sexy female body.
In most cases, your warm-up should bear a fair similarity to your actual training. Given that we’ve pretty much established that slow-paced workouts—be they cardio or strength training—are essentially useless, why would you think to warm up that way?
And yet, more often than not, you see women getting ready for fast-paced, intense workouts warming up with a lame 10-minute walk on the treadmill, or an even lamer series of stretches. Both are time wasted that could be spent getting you to your goals.
Instead, it is much more effective to warm up much in the same fashion you’ll workout: fast. I always have my clients warm up with full-body exercises and dynamic bodyweight circuits.
Skipping rope and performing calisthenic exercises like jumping jacks work the entire body, and prepare you neurologically for the workout to come. This will allow you to get more out of each exercise, as your body will be primed to perform as a unit—this is especially true if you do a lot of full body movements in your training.
In addition to that, dynamic warm-ups also get your heart rate up over a shorter period of time, and allow you to burn more calories and get into the groove faster.
All of which is to say that whether your goal is to drop some fat or tone up your muscles, there is literally nothing that a lame slow-go workout can do for you that can’t be more effectively achieved with a fast one.
Given that I maintain that men and women should train differently for differing goals, it stands to reason that I assert there should be certain aspects of training that carry over when goals are similar. One goal that men and women have in common is that we all want a firm, toned, sexy look. One of the best ways to get that look, for men or women, is with heavy weight.
How heavy and how often will depend on the goal. I train a lot of women who focus purely on gaining strength and almost always train using close to their maximal weight.
I’ve also got a number of athletes who use one heavy lift in every training session.
For my clients focused on fat loss, neither of those are necessary; however, I insist that all my female clients spend at least two days per month dedicated purely to heavy lifting (75% or more of 1RM), regardless of their goal. Not only is it great for fat loss, but lifting heavy will help you look better once you’ve lost the fat.
You see, training in a way that utilizes heavy loads is the fastest and most efficient way to increase both neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone; that is, it’s the best way to give you a firm, toned look—even when you’re just standing there.
I’m fairly certain my general readership is beyond the whole “I don’t want to get bulky—won’t lifting heavy make me bigger?” dilemma. It pains me to even have to bring it up. But, chances are we’ve got some newbz reading, and for their sake, I like to cover my bases and be thorough, so I’ll just lay it all out.
Gaining muscle is a result of a few factors: training methods, dietary considerations, and–as alluded to above–hormonal environment.
In terms of diet, it is exceedingly difficult—not to mention unlikely—to gain significant muscle mass without purposefully eating a Caloric excess. This is why athletes and bodybuilders eat more than their daily energy needs: so that excess will be used for the building of lean body mass.
Regarding hormones, women will always have a harder time putting on mass than men because of certain sex hormones; mainly testosterone. As a woman, your testosterone levels are generally too low to make getting “too big” a concern in a short period of time (although in certain situations, some muscle groups can grow faster than others; more on that below).
So, if you do notice yourself putting on more muscle than you’d like, just lower your caloric intake, and tone down the training volume a bit.
Speaking of training, that brings us back to my main point. Heavy lifting requires low reps; if you don’t do a greater number of sets, the total workout volume drops dramatically, and you are left without much stimulus for muscle gain.
And THAT is exactly what we want: to keep the weight and volume in the right balance to allow us to reap the benefits of heavy training without putting on mass.
To that end, I recommend that women spend at least two days per month doing some heavy training. To get you started, here’s a heavy full-body circuit:
3 sets of 5 reps for each of the following:
To determine the correct weight, just pick a weight you can lift roughly 5-6 times. If you can get all 3 sets for 5 reps, increase the weight next workout.
Again, I said at least two days per month. This is the minimum. Speaking generally, I have my female clients train heavy at least once per week; further, there are a lot of women who train almost exclusively with near maximal weights (3-5 reps). So, again: don’t be afraid to lift heavy
Over the past several years, we’ve tried to break people of the notion that if they want to lose stomach fat, they need to do stomach exercises. Now, we’ve got a pretty well-established belief in the fitness industry that you can’t “spot” reduce fat.
So if you are trying to reduce the size of your thighs and hips, your fat loss will come from all over and you just have to let your body determine how much visible reduction occurs.
What if that assessment is only partially true? I contend it very well might be.
A few years back, I attended a seminar led by Dr. John Berardi, who is an expert in the field of sports nutrition. He is also a world-renowned trainer who works with some of the most elite athletes around. During the seminar, Berardi made a remark about some Olympic athletes he was training; he had an interesting finding regarding fat loss.
As it turned out, when he had these athletes (all women) do their high-intensity sprint workouts on a stationary bicycle, there was a “disproportionately high” amount of fat loss in the lower body. JB and I discussed this, and although he had a lot of data to back this up, no studies had been done. Instead, we just had an interesting factoid.
That was about 8 years ago, and in that time I have had a lot of opportunities to work stationary bike sprints into a good number of my programs; generally for women who found that losing lower body fat was a hardship. And you know what? IT WORKS.
But why? What makes the stationary bike so special?
To be honest, I have no freakin’ clue. None at all…at least, none that I can base on anything but broscience and black magic. I will say, however, that it seems to me that doing timed sprints that you get more efficient and can perform with more resistance over time…seems A LOT like a “cardio version” of my type of density-based training, which as we all know has been very effective for dropping lower body fat (mainly, because it helps with hormonal optimization).
All I know is, it works—although I should point out that from what I’ve seen, there is some danger of losing some muscle mass on the leg alongside the fat. For most, this is an acceptable risk, and for the rest, an unexpected benefit.
After all, I’ve had the preponderance of my female clients say, “I have too much fat in my lower body.” I have never had one say, “Gee, Roman, I wish I had a lot more muscle in my legs, and I don’t want to do anything that runs this risk of compromising my lower body development, even if it’ll help me lose a lot of fat on my thighs.”
It just doesn’t happen. Huge legs is not something women typically ask me for when they want to sculpt their version of a sexy body.
Again, I don’t have a study to back me up on the exact way it works, but I have 8 years of my own experience with clients to back up the fact that it DOES work. If you are struggling with this area of your body and you have access to the equipment, you MUST give this a try.
As I’ve touched on so far, there are a lot of factors we can make alterations to in order to meet the goal of sculpting a sexy female body.
Variables such as training frequency, set and rep schemes, and the aforementioned volume and load (weight) are the most commonly manipulated facets of training. However, one of the variables you don’t hear much about also lends itself to making some of the best progress.
I’m talking about training density. With regard to training, density can be described as the amount of work you do in a given time period. Density is actually one of the easiest variables to manipulate for progress: simply do more in less time.
Doing more work in less time has a number of incredible benefits: increasing the rate of fat loss, aerobic and anaerobic training, and an increase in work capacity. Over time, increasing density will make you stronger, leaner, fitter, and MORE capable of performing. That has carryover to nearly every other type of training and will have implications for accelerated progress down the line.
One of the simplest ways to increase density is to shorten your rest periods. If you normally rest 45 seconds between sets, try cutting it down to 35 or less. Over the course of a 45-minute workout, that adds up and you’ll notice you are feeling a completely different stimulus.
Of course, my favorite way to manipulate density is to structure your sets for TIME rather than REPS. If you are going to squat, rather than just do 15 reps, perform squats for 30 seconds and see how many reps you get. On your next set, try to beat your previous number of reps; maintain good form, but try to in increase speed. Of course, eventually, you’ll max out, and can improve by either increasing the time or the weight.
These methods are great fat loss, but because of the increased work capacity, often also help to increase neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone: so, increasing your workout density can increase your body density.
You’ll get leaner, firmer, and sexier—faster.
Well, we made it this far without me getting too graphic. Ooops. Look, I’m a butt guy, I like butts. That’s my thing. I like it when a girl has a nice, well-formed, athletic booty. I’m not sure if that’s me objectifying women, or just being honest (or both).
Either way, this is an article intended to help women build sexy bodies, and to me, nothing is sexier than a good backside. Don’t agree? Well, write your own article then. This is my show, so I say we’re talking about butts.
Or training them, at least.
You already know two of the best exercises for your glutes: the squat and the lunge. Here is a quick way to make them more effective (at least for your butt)
Wide stance squats with your toes pointed out place a greater emphasis on the glutes; make sure to focus on flexing and squeezing as you perform the movement. I’m not going to bother writing a joke here—it’s too easy.
For lunges, go back, not forward. While I don’t want to encourage too much favoritism or fuel the fires that scare women away from training, it must be said that there are certain exercises that put TOO much emphasis on some muscles. For women who want shapely legs and a nice butt without building up lots of quad muscle, it’s often a good idea to use reverse lunges in place of forward lunges.
Forward lunges place a lot more emphasis on the section of the quadriceps at the base of the knee—most specifically the vastus medialus—especially eccentric emphasis. Think about it: when you lunge forward, your lead leg has to “catch” your entire body weight and stop/absorb your momentum, and the muscles around the knee will do the majority of the work.
Conversely, when you lunge backward, your glutes get a lot more work (on both the moving and non-moving leg) and the section of the quads that run up and down the length of the femur (rectus femoris) get a bit more work.
Overall, you’ll develop strong, shapely legs without having to “worry” too much about over developing the quads. Of course, I should mention that most of the time this is majoring in minutia, but there are those who do put on muscle in the thighs a bit more easily so this is relevant to some. (On a side note, those people would do well with the cycle sprints mentioned above.)
When it comes to being physically attractive to the opposite sex, it’s important to understand that certain body dimensions are visually important, from an evolutionary perspective. In fact, these things are so indelibly burned into the collective consciousness of our species that our definition of what makes a “good body” are heavily influenced by them.
Our progenitors subconsciously credited desirable traits like maternity, productivity, and fertility to corresponding physical attributes. Certain physical traits are what we call mating qualifiers, which means that from an evolutionary perspective, these traits are attractive to members of the opposite sex because of what they imply.
Just as a man with broad shoulders instantly projects an image of strength in our subconscious, a woman with a narrow waist and shapely hips makes us (specifically men) more attracted to that woman because she is built in a way that implies fertility. Evolutionarily, it’s a part of a sexy female body.
The cool thing about this is that even though our perception of what is sexy changes as a society, because of the way these qualifiers work in terms of attraction is based on unchanging ratios, they are still relevant.
For example, by today’s standards, Marilyn Monroe might be considered on the “heavy” side—but we still see her appeal—and can find comparable beauty in modern female celebrities. She’d still be considered among the most beautiful women even though what beauty is, changes within each culture.
The reason for that is the golden ratio, which in this case is going to refer to hip-to-shoulder comparisons and hip-to-waist comparisons. With women, we want the athletic shoulders to taper into a small waist and then bloom out into sexy hips. This is something called the Venus Factor.
Just as Marilyn was “perfect” at 36-24-36, our current standard of more lithe sexuality a number like 34.5-23-34.5 would be more attractive. The commonality behind those numbers is the ratio of the waist to the hip and shoulders (1:1.5).1
There’s obviously a lot more to it, but that’s a good primer. If you truly want to have a sexy female body—in the truly evolutionary and procreative sense of the word—train in a way that helps you develop a body that falls within those ratios.
This means spending more time focusing on building strong, sexy shoulders using exercises like the push press and lateral raise, as well as worrying less about making your butt smaller and focusing on the strength-building, multi-joint movements that will improve its shape.
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Comments for This Entry
Adaeze ElumezeI have hips dips,although I will be going to college soon since I stay in Nigeria .I love exercising alot,I used to be fat and then I dropped more weight and then more bcos I fell so ill;it's been really hard bcos my mom said I shouldn't exercise bcos of the stress and I am seventeen years old.I got these hip dips that re very conspicuous but now they re getting to cover up but it's mostly on my left side I found out that I got more fat on my hips although since I lost a lot of weight my booty became smaller.But there is this question since I lost a lot of booty since I still got plenty of flesh even though am slim why does my butt jiggle so much?
January 8, 2018 at 3:58 am
KateGrowing a butt (or biceps or a back or anything really) is a combination of two things - eating enough to get the muscle to grow and exercises that adequetely use the muscles you want to build.
June 8, 2017 at 11:28 am
LMTwo questions, my hips and legs are already slim - they always have been. However, it's my waist, then my upper body (but not my arms) that gain weight. I'm glad you talked about the cycling. I will avoid too much of that. Besides diet, what can I do to lose weight around my waist? Also, I'm nearly 5'9" so the 34.5 - 23 - 34.5 measurements would not only probably make me very unhealthy, but below a healthy BMI. I know this because I tried it when I was 16 and it made for a miserable time in my life. Could we tweak those measurements a bit to accommodate taller women? Thanks for the article!
April 5, 2017 at 6:47 am
Mack DoggsTelling people to warm up fast and intense defeats the purpose of a warmup. You're going to cause anyone dumb enough to take your advice to possibly injure themselves.
November 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Dana Edenthanks for a great article. I am a 50 year old female who has weight trained for 26 years, done sprint training once or twice a week and teach pilate classes for posture, core strength etc. I am such a huge believer of cross training - working strength, cardio and flexibility .. thanks again. Love it
October 3, 2016 at 10:38 pm
BodynsoilAt 52, I still lift heavy, still adding muscle, and yet don't look like a bulky beast. I love what fitness does for me and incorporate all the advice in this article. I agree that females shouldn't be afraid to lift heavy as that is a huge assist to a great form.
September 20, 2016 at 7:10 am
OxanaWhat do you think about the concept of "bulking" for women? Women, as you mentioned, have trouble putting on extra weight by not only due to hormones but due to self perception and fear that all the "extras" will not go away. Is it possible for a female, in your view, to steadily grow muscle without swinging the body between shred and fat?
February 27, 2016 at 11:05 pm
Good Reads for the Week | Bret Contreras[...] 37. Six Tips for Building a Sexy Female Body by John Romaniello [...]
October 1, 2013 at 12:27 am
Chiara CokiengRoman, I just buy programs like yours regardless if they're for guys or girls. They last for months anyway. I'd rather buy them and not think about it anymore (I love reading about it, but I used to scour the internet for workouts and ended up just spinning my wheels and not getting results) Btw, I just started powerlifting (won a silver and bronze yesterday!!). The training is so different and does not lend itself to fat loss and sekziness. How do you suggest I maximize performance and still lose fat?
September 1, 2013 at 3:31 am
Laura Turnermainly thicker overall - mostly wider. Looking at myself front on in the mirror I am wider looking - so less 'in and out shape' at my waist and a bit more straight up and down. I still have a slightly narrower waist than hips etc but not as pronounced. I have experienced being distended a little before, but being reasonably lean at the moment thats not the main problem. I've cut ab work to maybe once a week some plank variations, but my abs do get worked out with lots of push ups and plyometric exercises, as well as with heavy lifting full body exercises etc. Help!
August 24, 2013 at 11:24 am
SarahI recently did a muscle building program, on which I gained 7 pounds of muscle (and I get 500 more calories now!) This post has motivated me to cut carbs some more and get that 23.5 waist you're talking about (I've got the butt and shoulders lol) I also may try the bike idea, because although my butt is not huge, it has most of my padding lol. I can have a six pack and it still jiggles a little. Not that I mind though. I love my butt! Thanks for all the great posts; you've helped me a lot with my fitness
August 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm
Roman Fitness SystemsHey Laura, For the time being, I would eliminate as much core work as possible. Are you finding that your belly is a bit distended, or just thicker over all?
August 21, 2013 at 12:16 am
Hewy IIA bigger girl with abit of muscle is WAY sexier that a skinny-fat chick. I dont care for small butts. The bigger the booty , the better Also, I love chicks with good hamstrings... dunno why... its wierd
August 20, 2013 at 3:27 am
Mark HewitsonMy belief is that the only thing genetics gives you that is out of your control, is your bone structure
August 20, 2013 at 3:18 am
August 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm
Laura TurnerGreat post and I do all of the suggestions - but ever since training with intensity and focusing more on weights/strength training I've gained 1 -1.5 inches around my waist (whilst also losing body fat it has made me look square in the middle). I have to try and keep very lean so my abs show and I don't just look fat around the middle now. Help - can I un-do an over-worked waist? Ab work has been plank based (no crunches or side bends and no weighted exercises).
August 19, 2013 at 10:02 am
Tania Ralston AndersonI have to add my two cents to this one...I was rocking the FPFL for some time and my fiancee couldn't keep his thoughts to himself. He would tell me, many times a day, how my butt just seemed to have lifted and had more tone than ever. Then I switched to a couple different workouts and my butt seemed to droop again. First thing Monday, headed back to the gym with my FPFL so I can get my killer booty back! Oh, and I can vouch for the recum also..makes my glutes burn sooo good! Thanks John!
August 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm
Rhea BooneGenetics also plays a huge part in the shape you will be even when you do all the things suggested. I've never had the Golden Ratio in my life, even when I was 14% fat. Nor has my poor booty ever been an asset even when I work it hard. I strive to be the best I can be with what God has given me. Comparison and unrealistic goals usually result in giving up.
August 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm
Theresa Heffron-Berggrenquestion regarding your ratios, what does a women do that has no hips, smallish bust but thick through the waist, even at my smallest I am a 34-29-35 (my weight was 125 and I am 5'6 very small bone frame) I appreciate your instructions about the back lunges very much. Thanks :)
August 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm
CindyRoman what do you think of Barry's Bootcamp format workouts, where you split between high rep weights rounds and treadmill work (inclines, speed, jog mix)?
August 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm
Susy NatalMandy Henningham this includes yoga time and sprint time etc etc etc
August 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm
Mandy Henningham20 hours?! faaaark!
August 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm
Alter Native Celebrantand when you get older you actually really NEED to lift heavy things just to maintain bone density!
August 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm
Susy NatalYes to lifting heavy weights. I recently prepared for a fitness modelling competition and German Volume training on many lifts (squat, deadlift, split squat, walking lunge, Romanian deadlift) was a massive focus to help get both leaner not to mention having a play with the Golden Ratio. Not only can a shapely rear end attract attention, but a great quad sweep and decent lats along with a lean waist can create a very fit version of an hour glass, and you get to be strong for it too. That being said, I don't think I have the usual goals of many women, but I am actually that woman who puts on muscle quite easily compared to most AND I do gymnastic rings, calisthenics, body building and power lifting training. Ladies, if I'm doing all that for nearly 20 hours a week and I'm not enormous, you really have nothing to worry about. Pick up a heavy thing and put it down again. The results will be delightful, and you also will have a new air of confidence from the sense of achievement that no amount of jogging can ever provide.
August 17, 2013 at 11:34 am
ValentineruthSkinny girls look good in clothes- fit girls look great naked :O)
May 29, 2012 at 11:15 am
DaDirtyHarryCan anyone tell me exactly what is involved in this high intensity sprint workout on the recumbent cycle? Thanks!
April 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm
Chayen0610i agree with you because i've tried it before... thanks for more information.
March 26, 2012 at 2:02 am
Americki PlakariI feel like you could probably teach a class on how to make a great blog.
November 10, 2011 at 2:48 am
Kucni ljubimciThanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming
October 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm
horoskopI'm enjoyed reading this article and whole website, thanks a lot for this informations!
October 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm
sanovnikThis is a wonderful content. I will bookmark this site and visit again. It is very informative. Thanks for sharing.
October 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm
traceviThis is a wonderful content. I will bookmark this site and visit again. It is very informative. Thanks for sharing.
October 2, 2011 at 8:37 am
sanovnikVery well written. You got every point explained. Loved the whole article! Many thanks!
October 2, 2011 at 8:36 am
teretanaVer nice post, sexy bodys everyone wants... :)
September 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm
Fashionvery good article
September 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm
Cheap JordanReally like your stuff, and recommendations from well, thank you
September 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm
kuliti want also have A SEXY body... can you give me a tips?
August 10, 2011 at 3:58 am
DebLove this post! Thanks Roman - defintely trying the recumbent bike next time I'm at the gym. Working my way through Final Phase Fat Loss and noticing awesome results already after only 2 weeks! You rock. But you know that. ;-)
August 5, 2011 at 8:47 am
DebLove your posts Roman.... So happy I read your blog today as I tend to focus on many leg exercises to rid my flabby thighs:-( but haven't tried sprints on a recumbent bike, squats are great, running every other day 2 miles help me lose weight but my thighs still have to come way down to be considered sexy. I have a recumbent bike sitting in the basement, think I'm going to start using it again and try the sprint training. I was always afraid that I would build hugh muscle mass on my lower body so I stayed away from the bike. I'll keep you posted on the outcome:-))
July 19, 2011 at 9:09 am
PSo very glad I stumbled onto your website. Love the balanced real-world advice - and it doesn't hurt that you're an engaging writer! Thanks for all the help :)
July 15, 2011 at 9:45 am
oglasi posaoI feel like you could probably teach a class on how to make a great blog.
July 13, 2011 at 2:47 am
MichaelaRoman, I love you! Thank you for demystifying the heavy weight issue. I have def put on mass in the past from pushing weight, and it sucks. But I've always wondered what the deal is when I occasionally see some lean, mean, tiny! crossfit woman doing olympic lifts w/ non-weenie weight. Whole new world in store for my training! Thanks for bringing it and always kepping it real :)
July 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm
FrannieThis article or blog is superb. And clearified some of my thoughts about what to focus on. And i hope to see it work on myself as well. Im super excited to try it out. Thank you!! Frannie
May 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm
Dana Edengreat article.
May 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm
sidoo, part two, on the proportions..I was born with a body that became the ideal of 1890. I am NOT skinny never have been, even when a dancer..but I've noticed that the curves 127-95-120 (centimetres) have always been appreciated, which has been great fun..I love it, as my profession imposes not only lean muscle but swimming the channel type extra fat to get through a 5 hour very intense work out Wagner opera in a 20 kilo wool costume under hot lights.. bless mamma and papa nature! they're alot smarter than the media!
May 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm
DawnGreat Post, as usual. I agree with you and Berardi regarding the recumbent bike. I started doing sprints on the bike a few years ago mostly as a way to get sprints in and to challenge my lungs. The side effect was leaner legs and leaner hips. I really felt the burn specifically on the inside of my quads, from the knees to the upper thighs. Because sprints are taxing to the body, I really only did them a couple of times a week for around 20 to 30 minutes at a time - averaging around 8 or 9 sprints built into the workout. Very effective. I've now also added single leg workouts into my routine - single leg squats and dead lifts with a bar. Just balancing doing single leg exercises is challenging. The results speak for themselves.
May 9, 2011 at 9:43 am
RekaEvery day, I find something really cool on your website. How do you do it? Very happy for the recumbent bike info, sprinting on it is something I like doing and losing lower area fat is something I want, perfect combo! Just started your 6 weeks Bodycomp Blitz (I guess it is for women as well as for men:)) and I really love it, especially that there aren't too many reps (so far my favourite is the heavy training part but I'm really at the beginning) and that there isn't much cardio, and the small amount that it has is really fun. I always hated doing endless reps with baby weights, and also hours of cardio. It just hurts and doesn't feel good. So just saying that I find your program amazing. And it made my butt and lower abs sore which is something I rarely get:) A huge thanks!
May 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm
John RomanielloLunges to the front, box squats, and sissy squats
May 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm
John RomanielloWow, thank you, "baseball caps" for your insight fucking comment.
May 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm
John RomanielloNah, good point. most stationary bikes move a bit. Even the best of them.
May 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Pdyou know, i've yet to meet a recumbent that doensn't budge slightly when i do sprints. do you know what i'm talking about? is it just wack machinery im working on?
April 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm
LuluGreat post Roman. Love your advice and sense of humor :). This totally gels with my approach (except I will need to change my lame warmup). And I completely agree with the last point - going for a nice shelf myself!
April 29, 2011 at 8:58 am
ElkaThanks for the post! that is exactly what i am going through now...the "britney spears"....i feel i am quite toned but yet somehow i feel fat around the abs! and i have been doing weighted ab work...so i guess i wont be doing that anymore!! will focus on core work....lets see how that goes :) thanks a lot for the great advice
April 27, 2011 at 5:54 am
MonicaHey Roman, There's a first time for everything. I am a woman and I would like more muscular legs! What would you recommend?
April 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Baseball CapsIt is true that girl's (us) behind can caught someone's eye if it has a nice shape. We can say that is looks much sexier if a girl has a nice shape of butt. I hope that there will be a separate post if there is something like exercise or anything to have a better butt.
April 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm
Alex GreeneGreat point about lifting heavy John. I think a lot of women are afraid to lift heavy weights, maybe not wanting to become 'muscular'? but they are missing out on a lot of benefits that lifting heavy brings!
February 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm
ClaudiaI am a total newbie at any heavy lifting. I've done HIIT and I tried Slow Burn lifting but my problem is I don't go to a gym so I work out at home. I have powerblocks, dumbells, bands, a treadmill, trampoline, and lots of dance cardio and Tracy Anderson muscular structure DVDs. Anyway, I am not really getting anywhere, despite great efforts. HIIT on the treadmill is not getting me the results. I need to lose about 8 lbs. or so and get more muscle. I am so overwhelmed. What can I do? Joining a gym is just not going to happen, no money for one and I'm home with my toddler. He loves to watch me dance for 50 minutes.
December 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm
Mercy TanIt is true that girl's (us) behind can caught someone's eye if it has a nice shape. We can say that is looks much sexier if a girl has a nice shape of butt. I hope that there will be a separate post if there is something like exercise or anything to have a better butt. Looking forward into it!
December 3, 2010 at 10:56 am
Mallorylike that i found this. awesome advice i have already been taking into consideration, now if females would just listen and quit the chronic cardio! should mention too that women are much more prone to osteoporosis and heavy lifting is AMAZING for rekindling bone mass !
November 30, 2010 at 11:27 am
Josseline Jeria@ Julia Linquist: When it comes to giving a number of what is a "decent" body fat percentage for women, I don't really believe in a specific or ideal number; The reason why, is because it is dependant on how lean you personally want to look, as well as how each woman wants to look themselves. Ihave women telling me that they wish they could be as lean like me , however I dont think im that lean at all and personally want to be leaner. Its all subjective to your personal beliefs of what is ideal or beautiful. Also I find that you can't compare one woman who is say 17% body fat to another... they won't look exactly the same, because there are so many factors that come into play with how your body looks. I think its a great idea to have a number to work for as its setting a goal that can be measured more objectively, however use it as a guide to keep you going till you get to where you are happy. You might find that you reach 18% and be happy with that! Also perhaps research some female fitness models and figure competitors to get an idea of roughly what it looks like to be x% body fat. And don't think that going from 23% body fat to 15% is a long shot... because it definetely isn't! I myself am 23 as well, and years ago, from when I was born right up to I was 17, I was the typical chubby overweight girl. At my worst I was I think around 35% body fat (gasps). Now I am currently 18%, still working to get down a bit more, but food is always my weakness :P So please dont let a number limit you! If Icould, Im certain you will be able to as well. Set smaller goals to get you to your ultimate goal (15%) its much more motivating than only focusing on the longer term goal... doing so will actually demotivate you... trust me I say so from experience. Besides that training wise Im sure Roman will help out; what I can give as advice is focus your "real" training on weights (NB: this doesnt include lifting measly 2.5kg weights... lift HEAVY!!!), not cardio like most women; do HIIT because it works like a charm to get you lean and fit fast... and if you havent already, look into getting FPFL. It is a frickin kick ass program. You will get amazing results :) Cheers, Josseline
November 28, 2010 at 10:58 pm
Julia LindquistMore of a question than a statement, but what is a decent body fat percentage for a women to maintain. At 23 yrs and 23% body fat, getting down to the ideal 15% seems like a long shot. Suggestions?
November 28, 2010 at 8:47 pm
John Romaniello@Deb - Generally about 8-12 sprints in a given session. And usually twice per week. Good luck!
November 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Phil J. NajeraIn order for your sexy butt to prosper, you must prosper both physically and mentally. You are not able to workout your sexy butt if you are physically sick and you can't give your sexy butt all that it needs if you are mentally negative. Physical fitness begets mental toughness. Similarly, you can reinforce a "nothing will stop me" mindset by challenging yourself in your athletic pursuits or physical fitness routine.
November 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm
Sissy RoganGreat info, I want a body that I'm happy with and that is healthy. Great article
November 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm
Dallas Painters HQI think the post has good information to help women achieve their goals. I seek to empower people with information and helping them apply that information., I liked your blog it’s very interesting, your information had helped me very much, Please keep on posting the related information regarding this Article.
November 19, 2010 at 5:30 am
DebNice blog! I am usually a lurker, but your style is what keeps me coming back! I am a woman and not at all offended at your brand of humor! I love it. I have two questions. 1. How many sessions per week on the recumbent bike would you suggest? Can you, should you do them back to back? 2. How many intervals per session? I guess that adds up to more than two questions! Thanks! Deb
November 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm
brad campbellFemale readers will be definitely interested upon reading this article if they're fitness buff.
November 18, 2010 at 1:12 am
ChrisThank you, Roman, for the EXCELLENT article for us women. I read every word and thoroughly enjoyed what you had to share. I have personally noticed my best results in body shape and muscle definition from lifting heavy. I am over 60, but I'm still working at getting that sexy look. I also love your sense of humor. You had me laughing out loud quite a few times. Thanks again
November 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm
FredHow can one not become an ass-man upon witnessing what a weighted glute bridge can do for it?
November 17, 2010 at 11:33 am
nathan williams@ Jarly For someone who totally focuses on their gym work and thinks this subject is sexist - why did you find it necessary to comment on your (impressive) breast size? now, we are definately impressed with your gym work for the wrong reason! Enjoy the humour... take compliments not offense? Just a thought.
November 16, 2010 at 7:24 am
AngeHey Roman, What kind of warm-up would you recommend for us ladies that find any kind of jumping/skipping/running uncomfortable (i.e. painful) due to our, uh, natural assets?
November 15, 2010 at 8:21 pm
JarodI love Jamie Eason. Jarly, if you can't tell that part of his sentence was a joke I feel sorry for you. Some people really need to lighten up. If he said it in a serious manor sure get a little annoyed, but one thing I'll point out is most of the guys looking at you probably aren't looking at your ass. If I see a chick who is squatting/deadlifting etc I look because I'm impressed, not because I wana get all worked up in the pants.
November 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm
CarolinaforniaI love heavy lifting...good to see that it's good for us chicas, too. I will say that I used to hate the recumbent bike, until it was the only open machine at the gym, so I busted out some 1:1 sprints on it and my quads were on fire. I love it now! Didn't know about it's fat loss benefits, though. Since the John Roman word is gold, I'll be doing it tomorrow, thank you very much. Finally, I have a major bubble butt. As in, move over JLo, cuz my ass might hit you. So it's good to know that it's appreciated, especially by gents like you and this Nathan. I'll be squatting and lunging tomorrow as well. And deadlifting, of course.
November 11, 2010 at 11:41 pm
nathanHey Roman, regarding the rucumbent cycle... do you think its maybe down to the lactic acid 'pooling' more because of the angle of the legs? I have been taking this theory further by adding a step under the front of the bike to add more angle - not recorded the results, just got some weird looks... well slightly more weird than usual :)
November 11, 2010 at 11:24 pm
ChelseaReally great post....i really like your ideas/methods (mostly because they work)....FPFL got me into the best shape of my life (thank you).... i have gone thru the program a few times and progressed some things on my own but now i think you need to come up with a FPFL venus edition!!!! pupupupleeeeeeeezzzzze :)
November 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm
JosselineThanks Roman! Although mind you I wasn't lifting much to begin with, so even though I have doubled, its still not a huge amount of weight! For example, For DB Flat and/or incline Bench Press, I use to do 7.5-10kg each arm, now I do 15-20kg each arm...It feels so awesome!! Yesturday, simply by sheer coincidence, was my Strength training day (#4 from FPFL) and I have to say that was my favourite Strength day so far of the program! The descending pyramid circuit at the end was a killer! but I had a blast doing it. My younger brother actually commented that we were getting people at our gym actually stopping to watch what we were doing with what he described as "faces as if they are shocked!". You RARELY see people at my gym working out anywhere near our intensity and speed, let alone doing a crazy bodyweight circuit straight after a strength training session! So we might not lift as much as some of the guys there, but you know what? We figure that we are the ones that are gaining more overall benefits from the way we train (Roman style!). They lift these massive amounts ( many with poor technique) and they after a few reps of one exercise they sit down or chat for a few minutes! Hmmm on their way to a ripped sexy summer body? I don't think so!
November 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm
Clement@Roman: Thanks for the insight! Yes, I do see what you mean now. 207Ibs is really big for a guy your size. As we're of the same height, that really puts things into perspective. But I still don't think I'll be squatting as frequently as I used to, when my thighs really swelled. I'll maybe do squats once a week for 3x8 and deadlifts for 3x8 once a week, and go heavy on the 4 days a month. I guess you could say I'm blessed in the legs department, which might be something that plays in my favour on the soccer field! 185Ibs seems like a really good mid-term (a years' worth of training?) goal to aim for. I'm about 135Ibs now, up from 125Ibs 3 months ago, but haven't been training for the last month due to exams. Once again, thanks for your opinion!
November 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm
Melyssa@Matt: Yes. I've been using the recum for about a week now and I can totally feel the difference. I love biking, but this seems to take it a step further and focuses more on the glutes. And I also went WIDER during my prisoner squats today. Oh yeah. Maybe I can get my booty back! I referred to this post on my blog today.
November 11, 2010 at 11:51 am
MattExcellent post! I would guess that by sitting on for the recum with legs in front of you rather than under you alters how your muscles are worked. And its all in the hips for me!
November 11, 2010 at 11:32 am
sarahI also didnt take in a sexist way at all and being female whilst i wouldnt like some perv ogling for the sake of it an admiring glance is always appreciated after all most of us want to look and appear attractive to the opposite sex at the end if the day no matter how much you may protest its all about how you feel! - keep your sense of humour John :-)
November 11, 2010 at 10:54 am
JarlyJohn - When you say that jumping rope gets a man's heart rate up, it implies to me that I should do it BECAUSE it gets their heart rates up, not because it gets mine up. I don't think you intended to be sexist - most men (and women) don't - but for women who have experienced sexism and unwanted sexual advances in the gym, some of the word choices in your post brings to mind that particular atmosphere.
November 11, 2010 at 10:25 am
John Romaniello@Jarly -- Interesting perspective. I don't see anything remotely sexist in the post. I didn't say that I expect or encourage anyone to "flaunt" themselves at the gym; I simply made points based on the fact that most people want to look better. Of course, I make comments without acknowledging the fact that most people want to look better for themselves first, and others second. I don't think it's necessary to point that out. Having said that, I think the post has good information to help women achieve their goals. I seek to empower people with information and helping them apply that information. I don't think talking about people as sexual beings is in any way objectifying them. And I don't think wanting to help people feel sexy makes me sexist.
November 11, 2010 at 10:15 am
DeanWhat do I look for in a woman, what do I like? Slender but curvey. A round tight BUTT, along with sexy legs. Also a lean stomach, NO ABS. That's just gross. And one thing that I can't stand seeing on a woman is flab on her arms. The jiggle when she waves or lifts her arm is turn off.
November 11, 2010 at 9:59 am
John Romaniello@Sarah - I've tried it with traditional stationary bikes as well as spin bikes--it works pretty well but recumbent seems to be the best. No idea why. @Ylwa - moving towards strength based workouts is definitely an adjustment. It's an abrupt departure from going back-to-back-to-back-to-back rapidly to just doing a set and waiting for the next one. But, that's just one way to structure heavy training. You can also do it FPFL style, which is a bit more fast-paced.
November 11, 2010 at 9:53 am
John Romaniello@Clement - well even fitness models are "big" relative to most non-training people. As a bodybuilder, the biggest I was in lean condition was 207 @ 7%. Which for a guy my height is very large, especially for a natural lifter. For fitness modeling, the SMALLEST I ever got was 185 @ 4% body fat. Most of the time I was (and am) in between. 185 with minimal fat still put me at 16 inch arms and a 42 jacket with a 27 inch waist---so I was still quite "big" by most standards. My ratios were the same, and I still had an X physique, which is really what I've been talking about. Rob Riches, by the way, is pretty damn big. Ronnie Coleman of course dwarfs him, but for a natural guy, particularly in Europe, Rob stands out in a crowd from his size.
November 11, 2010 at 9:38 am
John Romaniello@Melyssa - that's what I like to hear =) With a few changes I'm sure adjustments to your training your butt'll be right back! @Josseline - awesome strength gains! Wow, lifting double what you used to. I'd love to be able to double some of my numbers. Great job; and glad you got something out of the post! @nathan - amen, brother. @Elka - thank you for commenting, I know it's hard to break the lurker habit, but once you do it, it becomes habit. Welcome to the fold and good luck with your progress! @Per - I hear you on that one =)
November 11, 2010 at 9:32 am
JarlyI appreciate the advice the post that's actually helpful, but the sexist delivery can go. When I go to the gym I want to sweat and improve my fitness, not be eyeballed by the muscleheads. Sure, part of the reason I lift is because I want to be attractive, but the sheer focus on "sexiness" in this post really misses the big picture. By and large, I do this for me and no one else, and the effects that it has had on my spiritual and mental well-being far surpass anything that it's done to my ass. Looking better out in the real world is a nice bonus, but when I'm in the gym I'm there to work, not flaunt my body. No amount of chest-sculpting and fat loss has changed the fact that I am a 34 D (used to be 36DD, so there has been SOME change, obviously). I layer on two sports bras so that I can do plyo without anything moving too noticeably. Comments like "women jumping rope gets our heart rates up" makes me want to go back to training in the privacy of my home.
November 11, 2010 at 8:52 am
YlwaI've given the recumbent bike a chance for quite some time now, and I love them! More so than sprints. First of all, I think bikes are faster and easier to manuver for short, explosive sprints than treadmill and I've never used something that makes my ass burn so badly for long afterwards. It's worse than your lactic acid workouts! Personally I think more ladies in general needs to step into the gym. And OWE it! If you're squattin with 5 lbs dumbells then don't bother! I'm in constant minority at my gym if you don't count the cardio machines. And I love the fact that I lift just as much, or even more, than most of the guys there at the same time too! What I need to work on is lifting heavy. Main reason I don't do it is because it bores me. But that's because I've been moving up towards 5-6 sets. Takes time and it's tedious. Is 3 sets of 5 really hevy lifting? That I can certainly pull off. Anyone can.
November 11, 2010 at 6:09 am
sarahDoes this only work on recumbant bikes or normal stationary bikes too?
November 11, 2010 at 5:32 am
ClementYou weren't supposed to get your legs too big in your fitness modeling days, I mean.
November 11, 2010 at 5:21 am
ClementHey Broman, I might disagree ever so slightly with you. Despite being a guy, I don't really consider getting big as a goal of mine. In fact, I like to keep myself dense and lean, more like fitness models than bodybuilders. I think you once told me on Facebook that you weren't supposed to get your legs too big. That's a problem for me - my legs (and chest, thank heavens) usually grow at warp speed, while my back and arms grow really slowly. Despite that, I can't do a standing broad jump for the life of me. But anyway, I've found that you can't actually get too big if you don't bulk (or juice, but that's just not my style). That cheers me up. I'd rather be a Rob Riches than a Ronnie Coleman. I don't know if my taste is weird, so I just wanted to get your opinion on it.
November 11, 2010 at 5:19 am
PerConcerning features etc, I prefer a firm butt to large breasts. The top side is mainly about having enough fat, a good bottom is a sign of commitment and effort as well.
November 11, 2010 at 4:47 am
ElkaGood article with good tips! I train 4 times a week doing strength training for about 35-40 mins and then try and do some sort of interval training after that for 10-15 mins. Im going to give the density training a try since my body has pretty much looked the same for some time. I actually want to develop more muscle on my legs so that they dont look as skinny...so will take on your advice on the squatting stance and try and lift heavy at least twice a month! Thanks a lot for the advice! P.S. this is the first time i have EVER written on a blog hehe xx
November 11, 2010 at 3:13 am
John Romaniello@Kimberly - I generally recommend 30 seconds on, 30 off for intermediate trainees. For beginners I tend to say a work:rest ratio of 1:2, so 20 on, 40 off, or even 10:20 etc. Depends on the trainee, of course. Regarding the 24:36, I doubt there is anything magical about that. In terms of squats for booties, I recommend wider than shoulder width but narrower than sumo. Thanks for the post! =)
November 11, 2010 at 1:01 am
Kimberley in HKHey Roman, Good post as per usual. Agree that the 33-22-33 measures are tiny, it is basically what I am but I am only 5'3". I would suggest to look at the Venus Index link as it gives three golden ratios (not just the 1.61) that takes into account size differences. Couple of quick questions though. Firstly, with sprints on a recumbent bike what kind of timing pattern would you suggest? I read some Australian research earlier this year that found a 24 s / 36 s Tabatas pattern to be "optimal" for fat loss. Secondly, with squats in a wider stance, are you talking sumo squats or narrower? I remember reading somewhere that sumo squats can build up the inner thigh too much (could be BS) but was wondering about your opinion?
November 11, 2010 at 12:27 am
nathan- women that deadlift are hot... women that use pink dumbbells are often... well, not hot. - I always tell my female clients that lifting will 'super-charge' their fat burning. - i love it when my female clients are picking up heavier weights (with better technique) than other male gym users, that is awesome and i frequently remind these guys to go and grow a pair! keep lifting ladies :)
November 10, 2010 at 11:29 pm
John RomanielloRegarding the measurement of 33-22-33, I should have mentioned that I was really just using those numbers to give a mathematical example using whole numbers. Most women are actually string for something closer to 34-23.5-34, but it doesn't looks as nice on the page =)
November 10, 2010 at 10:53 pm
EvyDoing a 5:30 A.M. boot camp five days a week and I swear my "coach" must have been given your article for a pre-read. No recumbent bikes but plenty of fast-paced cardio, lifting circuits, and more variations on squats than I care to think about. Oh, and the butt...somedays given all the wide squats, reverse lunges, bridges, and weighted birddogs I think it should be renamed bootie camp.
November 10, 2010 at 7:52 pm
bellagalliaDon't know about recumbent but can definitely vouch for cycling, especially HIIT spin classes like those that I teach:) My legs have never looked better and I just competed at 10% bodyfat. Three - four days lifting heavy circuit style and 4 days HIIT spin and a clean diet - viola!
November 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm
JosselineFantastic post Roman; as usual very informative, cheeky and interesting/fun to read. Points on ditching the sloth like warmups and lifting heavy are right on the money.I use to be one of those who'd drag along on a cardio machine to warm up, and spend way too much time working out in general. Now my warmups consist of short bursts of bodyweight exercise (love plyos) and my weight training is MUCH more fast paced, MUCH heavier, and definetely much shorter in time ( also, I am lifting with some upper body exercises DOUBLE what I use to). As a result I am now much leaner and shapely than what I use to be, getting closer everyday to my goal %BF :) I agree with BikiniMommy that 33-22-33 is TINY! Jamie Eason is 35-24-33, which is almost spot on, but shes only 5"2. For us that are taller (I'm 5"7) I'd look like a walking strand of string cheese if I had those exact measurements (not cool). However the ratio is more relevant, of which I think is very achievable and ideal. And great tips on developing our ASSets :) I've always preferred doing my squats using a wider stance, but the reverse lunge tip was something that I had never thought of; it makes perfect sense thinking in terms of biomechanics. Cheers Sir Roman! Keep up the great work!
November 10, 2010 at 6:16 pm
CalebYes! Squats! Reverse Lunges! Mr. Sir-Mix-A-Lot had a saying for women about working out and losing weight ... something about not losing a particular body part ... Anyways all these tips kick ass and I didn't know the lil factoid about the lower body sprinting stuff -- really useful info for the ladies since that's a "Stubborn" fat area for them. Now if only there was a "lower ab sprint" type exercise for men ... Later! Caleb
November 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm
KERLEYi concur with roman on the fact that a nice ass is essential in making a girl look sexier.
November 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm
MiguelSeems you and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to sexy features that top the list...
November 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm
BikiniMommyAwesome, I do a lot of this already. Lots of work for my backside, sprints, stairs, inclines, lunges, squats, i'm obsessed :) Love high intensity workouts! The only problem I have with this article is 33-22-33 are REALLY small measurements. Attractive, most definitely! But even most VS angels are bigger than that and they are already the unattainable. Great article anyway!!
November 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm
MelyssaGreat post. Love the info about going wider on the squats. Especially since my coworker just told me I lost my butt. I'll show her! And you just got me to include more workouts on our incumbent bike at home. I'm currently sidelined from running, so I got on it this weekend. thx Roman!
November 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Raymond- ZenMyFitnessGreat points if half the girls at my gym trained like that they wouldn't still be there jogging on the treadmill for the last 6 months. They get so frustrated that they give up and disappear. Only if they knew how to make more effective. Some get it though. From my point of view women look great with firm curves in the right places ..don't get too skinny, muscular! the Gal in the picture is pretty spot on. Raymond
November 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm
GlennI saw the best looking female body I've seen in ages in the gym the other day: slender without being skinny and very fit looking. She was lifting weights with intensity. Ladies, this man knows his stuff if that's the sort of physique you want!
November 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm