Updated: Apr 21, 2022
Last week, I outlined a few items that women in perimenopause and postmenopause need to consider to ensure that they continue building and maintaining lean mass. We know that our old training methods aren't working - increased intensity and longer duration may not aid in losing weight and maintaining/building strength.
The questions are:
What DOES work?
How do we implement these activities into our training calendar?
What happens to the remainder of our training?
Let’s look at what does work. Based on research performed by Dr. Stacy Sims, three items should be added to training. They are:
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Plyometrics (jump training) and Power Training
Heavy-to-you resistance training (weight lifting)
This may sound like a lot. So if it does and you need to choose one to implement, start with the heavy-to-you resistance training. That will provide the biggest bang for your buck. Then add in HIIT and Plyometrics/Power Training over time.
How do we do this?
Improve the quality of training - HARD days are actually hard and easy days are really easy (most athletes train in the middle gray zone where we don’t ever go really hard or really easy)
Manage nutrition to fit training needs
Pre and post-strength: 40+ total grams of QUALITY protein + leucine
Phase in the HIIT, plyo/power training and heavy-to-you strength training
Lower training volume for swim/bike/run (triathlete example) as we implement HIIT, plyo/power training and heavy-to-you strength training
Sample HIIT and Plyo/Power training
HIIT and Plyo/Power training are no longer than 30 minutes. If you can go longer than 30 minutes, you didn’t go hard enough.
5 RFT: 10 KB swings/20 walking lunges/10 pushups
6-minute AMRAP: 5 burpees/5 box jumps/3 pull ups/6 lateral skiers
RFT: Rounds for Time
AMRAP: As Many Rounds As Possible
Sample Heavy-To-You Strength (Lower Body)
Heavy-To-You Strength can start with bodyweight exercises and progress to heavier weights over time. The key is proper form. These sessions should take no more than 45 minutes.
4 x 5 reps w/2-minute rest between efforts
- Trap Bar Deadlifts
3 x 10 as circuit:
- Goblet Squats w/DB or KB
- TRX or Stability Ball Leg Curls
3 x 8-10:
- Split Squat w/DB’s
- Glute Bridges w/feet elevated on bench or step
3x50 paces Farmers Carry w/DB or KB
Here’s a sample plan to get started. You are welcome to rearrange your days as you see fit, but try to keep the pattern similar to what I have listed to give your body time to recover. Generally I work as two weeks building effort and one week recovery/"deload." I’ve split the days by morning and afternoon. This training plan is based off a similar plan from the Menopause for Athletes Course by Dr. Stacy Sims.
Maria Netherland is a Northwest Florida-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Youth & Juniors Certified Coach as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Coach Maria loves working for athletes of all abilities, military athletes, and new triathletes as they pursue their goals. Maria is a veteran of the US Army and a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.