KRIS MURRELL: TRAINING FOR WOMEN’S PHYSIQUE
Hybrid: Noun: A thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture
Adjective: Of mixed character; composed of mixed parts
Hybrid happens to be one of Kris’s favorite words. To her, it means something different, something better, something no one has even seen or done. The women’s physique category falls into this criteria. In my opinion, women’s physique will be a hybrid of women’s bodybuilding and figure. I am basing this on the top five competitors chosen in their respective classes at the 2011 NPC Nationals. In my opinion, these competitors resembled figure athletes in bodybuilding condition.
Downsizing: Make smaller
The consensus is most female bodybuilders are too big to make the transition from bodybuilding to women’s physique. In my opinion, that transition is specific to the individual. Below are the criteria a female bodybuilder must consider:
1. Structure: A competitor has the structure or doesn’t. What has evolved in figure and bikini is what I call the cloning effect. The judges are looking for a specific structure. The variance of structure is specific to the height of the class. In my opinion, women’s physique will be no different at the amateur level. It should be noted pros aren’t held to the same standard as amateurs. I expect there will be degrees of separation.
2. Symmetry: This is the correct or pleasing proportions of the body parts. This is one of the few variables a competitor can control and correct.
3. Conditioning: In my opinion, the judges want cuts and splits with no striations, especially in the glutes and quads. The grey area is how the judges interpret that expectation. The competitor’s aesthetic will influence a judge’s selection. Conditioning will not have the same importance in women’s physique as it does in women’s bodybuilding.
4. Presentation: How a competitor presents her physique is a criteria with little value. The posing round isn’t judged specifically anymore, even though it is part of the evaluation.
5. Muscularity: I expect this criteria to cause a lot of controversy in the pro ranks. What is too muscular is in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion, the beholder will be the head judge, because he’s the one who makes the call-outs. The question remains, how will a female bodybuilder downsize?
Essential: Absolutely important
This article is about Kris’s training. I will go into detail in subsequent articles on other aspects of Kris’s downsizing program. Here are a few of the essentials necessary for downsizing:
1. Cardio: High intensity and duration
2. Diet: Moderate protein and high carbohydrates
3. Supplementation: Ergogenic aids
4. Training: weight training (high volume, high intensity), plyometric training, sled pulling and sprinting
I’ve chosen a leg routine because Kris’s legs require the most downsizing. The downsizing of her quads has influenced our choice of cardio exercises. This is one of many routines we are using for our preparation.
Leg Extension super set with Vertical Frog Jumps:
The difference between a frog jump and a squat jump is the stance and depth of the jump. When executing this exercise, one should squat as deep as possible, then jump vertically as high as possible in a fluid, repetitious manner, landing as lightly as possible and catapulting upward using a quick, reflex-like action. The sets and reps are as follows:
Leg extension: 1x30, 1x20, 1x15, 1x12, 1x10. Pyramid weights on every set.
Vertical frog jumps: 5x10 reps. Execute after every set of leg extensions
Execute combo until all sets are done in their entirety.
Vertical Machine Jumps super set with Machine Leg Press:
Vertical Machine Jumps are done on a selectorized machine. The jumps should be done in a similar manner as frog jumps. They should have depth and a reflex action done repetitiously. There are three important components to doing this correctly;
1 Set the seat as deep as possible.
2. Weight should be light to moderate. It is more important to do this exercise with quickness than with a heavy weight.
3.When jumping, flex the legs during full extension.
Once the jumping is complete, increase the weight and do 10 full reps. Deep leg presses are necessary to maximize the effect. The reps are as follows:
Vertical Machine Jumps: 4x10
Machine Leg Press: 4x8-10, increase weights until a maximum weight load is reached.
Barbell Pop Squats super set with Lying Leg Curl:
When doing pop squats, three components are necessary to make this exercise maximally effective:
1. Push from the balls of your feet.
2. Rotate the ankles outward to a 45 degree angle, and on the return, jump so the feet are side by side.
3. Make sure there is adequate depth in the squat position to affect the abductor and gracilis.
Lying Leg Curl: 1x30, 1x20, 1x15, 1x12, 1x10
The pop squat will be done with a bar on the back prior to the lying leg curl. Do this until all sets and reps are complete.
Sled Pushes or Bosa Ball Pushes:
If there is no sled at the gym, one can substitute a bosa ball. If the gym has a rug, the ball will slide when pushed. Or, go into the aerobic room and place a towel under the ball. Add the appropriate weight on top of the ball. The ball can handle up to four 45 lb. plates.
The length of the push should be 40 yards. Estimate how long the incremental length is inside the gym and push the number of times required to reach 40 yards. If there is a plate-loaded sled, take it outside.
Do eight pushes of 40 yards.
Lying Leg Curls (single leg) 4x15 reps. Start with the weak leg first
Adduction: 4x15 reps
Abduction: 4x15 reps
Leg Press: Single Leg Toe Raise, start with the weaker calf, 4x15 reps
Leg Press: Both calves, 6x30 reps
Take your time and do all the reps slowly with a full range of motion. All auxiliary exercises should be done with minimal rest of 10-15 seconds between sets.
Next article, I will go over how to incorporate upper body plyometric exercises with your weight training.