The Top Exercises For Female Athletes With Sean Baker
Simon Mitchell - Aug 15, 2023
Top Exercises For Female Athletes With Sean Baker
When it comes to the world of Strength & Conditioning there’s a lot of information to wade through in regards to the exercises female athletes could or should be doing. Our customers will often ask questions related to equipment that they purchase and recently we’ve been getting more questions around equipment for female athletes. With the continued rise of professional women’s sport we’ve reached out to Sean Baker, owner of PEAQ Conditioning, a passionate Strength & Conditioning Coach who is helping raise standards in the industry. He is also currently blazing the trail of closing the gap between sub elite and elite athletes. Sean and his team of excellent trainers currently work with players from all tiers of AFLW, Lacrosse, Netball, WNBL, Soccer and more.
There's a significantly higher rate of ACL injuries in female athletes compared to their male counterparts. What are some of the preventative measures female athletes can take?
Sean - In the early stages of the coaching society realising that female athletes posed significantly higher risks of injury, it was assumed that this increased risk was caused only by the physiological make-up and biomechanics of the female anatomy (Hips/Knees etc..). As research continues to delve deeper into these issues, we are finding that this is only one piece of the puzzle.
Muscular strength is strongly correlated with helping to prevent injury and has therefore been prioritised when working with female athletes. On top of this, more recent research is suggesting that the number one issue leading to injury (for both Males and Females, but Females in particular) is Neuromuscular control.
For those that have never heard of it, the difference between Strength and Neuromuscular Control is as follows:
Muscular Strength – A muscle’s ability to be able to produce a maximal amount of force in one contraction.
Neuromuscular Control – A complex interacting system that results in an ability to purposefully produce or reduce force, based on the desired outcome. For ACL rehab/prehab in particular, we are seeing an integration of Strength and Neuromuscular training being implemented, in order to provide females the best opportunity to maximise their performance, without injuring themselves.
Translating Lower Body Strength
What are some exercises that would help a female athlete translate lower body strength into full body movement?
Sean - Initially to develop a female athlete’s lower body strength, we would focus on some the the following key movements:
– Hip Thrusts
– Adduction and Abduction
For an in depth look at this, watch the video below.
Sean - From there, to translate this lower body strength into full body movements, we progress to Olympic Lifting Exercises. Beginning with exercises such as High Pulls/Jump Shrugs and when ready we progress onto Cleans, Snatch and Jerk variations. These types of exercises all require an initial lower body movement (eg hip, knee and ankle extension), before catching with your upper body. I suggest that you aim to complete these exercises under Coach supervision to ensure technique and safety are paramount. They take a little while to master, however are really effective in maximising your long term athletic development.
Are you a fan of Farmer’s Walks and should female athletes be incorporating them into their workouts?
Sean - I’m a massive fan of Farmer’s Walks, as well as many of the variations and progressions that you can implement with female athletes. Generally, someone who is completing this exercise is going to feel their forearms burning, however if completed correctly, they will be activating a range of their core and postural muscles. This exercise gives you huge ‘bang for buck’, as it helps to improve strength, stamina and proprioception. Other variations of this exercise include a ‘Zercher Carry’ (holding weight in the form of a BB, in front of your body), as well as a ‘Suitcase Carry’ (a single sided version of the Farmer’s Carry). I would highly recommend these exercises to a number of athletes.
About Sean: Sean Baker has a Bachelor of Applied Human Movement and Health Sciences and a Masters of Exercise Science/Strength and Conditioning. Sean currently owns and operates PEAQ Conditioning Coaching located in Port Adelaide. For more information and to train with PEAQ visit their website here. give readers more than one way to get to the product.
Article credit: Sean Baker