Obviously, getting a nice and sexy bikini body takes more than just cutting carbs and running on the treadmill or spinning, and if you do squats, deadlifts, and side bends you will probably ruin your symmetry. I am going to outline the training system that offers great results with female clients.
I know it’s fashionable to tell women to train like men, but such a strategy rarely leaves a girl with a body to show off on the beach in South Beach. In fact, women who want a sexy bikini body must follow a specific set of programmed guidelines. If your idea of the perfect bikini body is to be slim and firm, with curves in the right places, this plan is for you.
Full Body Training or Torso / Leg Training?
There are only two systems that I use for the bikini body: a full body workout or a Torso / Leg split.
A total body workout consists of a torso exercise to push (push), a torso exercise to pull or pull (pull) and squat or deadlift. A simple example is the chest press / row / squat combination. A Torso / Leg split separates the workouts for the core exercises on one day and the leg (and abdominal) exercises the other day.
I’ve never used a split chest-back, leg-abs, shoulder-arm routine with a woman and probably never will. Again, for women a full body workout or a Torso / Leg split.
A full body workout will get you in shape much faster as it stimulates more muscle mass and this is more demanding on your energy systems. In other words, a full-body workout burns more calories, flushes glycogen stores more, and revolutionizes your heart rate much more than a split routine can.
A Torso / Leg split has many of the same benefits as a full body workout, except to a slightly lesser degree. Since a Torso / Leg split does not require a squat or deadlift during every workout, it is not as demanding on your metabolic system. But that is acceptable in certain cases. If you are someone who needs a lot of volume (sets) to grow, or if you want to build a lagging part as quickly as possible then a split Torso / Legs routine is a good option. Should You Follow a Full Body Plan or a Torso / Leg Split? Read on and you will find out.
How many days per week can you train with weights?
This is the most important question you must answer to determine what type of system you should follow.
If you can only train twice a week with weights, then the answer is simple: you need a full-body plan since any other type of plan will not have a high enough training frequency per muscle group. Space your workouts as evenly as possible; for example, train on Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday, or Wednesday and Saturday.
If you can train three times a week, there are two different methods you could use:
The first is to do three full-body workouts per week. This is the ideal option for girls who need to get in shape as quickly as possible.
For the whole body plan, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are two good options. It doesn’t really matter which days you trained as long as there is at least 48 hours of rest between each workout.
The other option is a torso / leg split combined with a full body workout. Here are two examples:
Friday: Whole Body
Or it can be the other way around, full body on Monday and Wednesday, and torso and legs respectively on Friday.
Many of my clients prefer the full-body plan on Monday since it is the most demanding workout of the week. Apparently the weekends can lead to diabolical indulgences that need to be corrected Monday morning with a full-body workout!
If you can train four or more times a week, you have many options. The first is a full body plan. Ideally, you will train twice a day at least once a week. This would look like this:
Monday: (a.m.) full body; (p.m.) whole body
Wednesday: Full Body
Friday: Full Body Of course, you can choose the day you want or can to train twice.
One of the keys to determining whether to follow a full body or a torso / leg routine is knowing the exact days that you can train. If you can train two in a row, for example, the torso leg split is a good option. Here’s an example:
You can certainly mix and match your plans to your needs:
Monday: full body
Wednesday: full body
Are you banging your head against the computer screen because I am giving you too many options? If so, keep this in mind: three full-body workouts per week is the closest to a flawless system I’ve come across. I suggest you start there, and modify according to your needs. For example, if after eight weeks on a full body plan you still feel like your thighs should be a bit more muscular, then switch to a torso / leg split so you can really focus all your energy on your legs at least one workout per week.
Regardless of which structure you follow, it is essential that you select the correct exercises at the correct times.
This brings us to the next item: exercise selection.
Selection of Exercises
Selecting the correct exercises is of utmost importance in developing a bikini body. There are three simple steps that will get you there.
1. Use a different variation of exercise for each workout during the week
Let’s say you are following a total body plan for three workouts per week. Each workout consists of a push torso exercise, a pull torso exercise, and a squat or deadlift. This is an example of what your three workouts can look like:
Supine close grip pulley pulls
Barbell squats (squat or deadlift)
Pulley pulls with prone wide grip (pull)
Standing shoulder press (push)
Reverse lunges (squat or deadlift)
* A lunge is similar to a squat. Think of her with a single leg squat.
You will repeat those same exercises the following week. Continue for six weeks before switching to new variations of the exercise.
2. Focus on training a single member
I am in favor of unilateral training (training one limb at a time) for a few reasons; First of all, because you don’t need to use that much load to get great results. At least half of your training time should be spent on one-sided exercises like one-arm presses, single-arm pulls, single-leg deadlifts, lunges, etc.
The second reason is that unilateral training allows you to train through a greater range of motion. The third reason I like unilateral training because it stabilizes your midsection. When you hold a weight from one part of your body the muscles in the center must contract to stabilize your torso. This is a great way to develop an attractive midsection without adding unnecessary bulk. And that brings me to my next point: what to avoid.
3. Avoid Side Bends, Crunches, and Anything You Don’t Need
Most direct abdominal work is unnecessary to develop a bikini body; in fact, it often hurts more than it helps.
At the top of the offender list is side bends (or oblique dumbbell training). Never side bends with a weight in your hand! In fact, avoid it entirely. The same with crunches (the only acceptable crunch is the reverse crunch with no added load, that is, leg lift).
Please consider this tip: a high volume of crunch and side bend will make your waist bigger!
There are only two exercises that you need for the abdominal region: the plank (planks) and the side plank (side planks). Only those. And even those two exercises are not completely necessary.
Considering the push exercises, pull exercises, squats, or deadlifts, and all the variations of one-sided work that make up my system, your midsection will get enough stimulation to stay strong and healthy. And even when your abdominal region might really need a little help, use the plank variations.
There are many other exercises to avoid. To keep it simple, if you have a body part that is genetically super-developed, don’t train it! This seems intuitive but I have lost count of how many times I have seen fat people with large calves perform seated calf raises.
4. Add according to your needs
Every girl needs a training system that is customized to her needs. A girl could have a flat ass; another girl could have been born with a perfect ass. Obviously, the first girl needs some extra glute training.
Or maybe you need bigger delts, calves or quads to compensate for your physique? The options are endless, which is why it is important to have a system that can fit your needs.
This is why I want to be perfectly clear here: a total body workout is not just three exercises! Yes, it may be just three exercises, but most of my clients perform another exercise for a part of the body that is lagging once they finish performing the three main exercises.
So feel free to add an extra workout for glutes, calves, or delts, etc. as long as you follow a total body plan. And don’t forget that a torso / leg routine is always an option.
Well, this is enough for today. In the next installment I will talk about sets and repetitions.
Diego Gallardo Personal Trainer & Advanced Specialist Nutrition IFBB
Source: Bikini Body System, Training Structure and Exercise Selection by Chad Waterbury