WELLNESS WORKOUTS

This is an article I wrote for www.bodybuilding.com but I wanted you guys to see it first.

In 2020 the NPC and IFBB are rolling out the new Wellness Division, a very different look to what we have been used to seeing onstage.

With regards to training, I feel there are two approaches

  1. Those who already blessed with a thick and shapely lower body
  2. Those who will have to do it the hard way 🙂

Whether you are thinking of getting onstage, or if you just want to build up that behind, I think you will love these workouts!

There are 12 workouts and I have tried a few of them – boy was I sore.

Enjoy x

Get ready as the NPC and IFBB Professional League add Women’s Wellness as their newest division in 2020.

Exhale a sign of relief and inhale a breath of determination as this new competition category embraces the most female of physical attributes while opening the flood gates on what will be a very competitive stage.

Do not be fooled into thinking this will be an ‘easier’ way to get on stage, and don’t listen to the naysayers who will tell you that this will bring the quality of competition down. Although we don’t have a precedent to refer to in the NPC or the IFBB, you can take a look at the gals in the recent Wellness Fitness competitions to see what we have to look forward to.

The incredible Nikoletta Sularz, who won the 2019 European Wellness Fitness

Or

Lisa Meiswinkel who won the overall at the 2019 Nordic Cup & Jan Tana Classic

These ladies will give you an idea of how this category is going to explode onto stages around the world.  Whereas, bikini, figure (even physique) started off somewhat tame and then, overtime, they grew into themselves and bodies morphed into what we see today. Do not expect the Wellness ladies to be so timid – this category has been primed for a long time, and there are women who have been standing in the wings, chomping on the bit, lunging every gym floor, just waiting for this opportunity, and 2020 they get turned loose.

So, what exactly does “Wellness” look like?

Going straight to the powers that be, the NPC states

  • Wellness is for females with athletic physiques that showcase more body mass in the hips, glutes and thighs.  The upper body should be developed, but not to the same degree as the lower body.
  • Conditioning should be on par with Bikini, but with slightly more muscle.
  • They want to see a little body fat with slight separation of the muscles, but no striations please.
  • Abs – should be as the Bikini division.
  • Shoulders – a little more muscle than Bikini, but less than figure.
  • Quads – athletic with slight separation, no striations (you have been warned). Thighs should not be as lean as in Figure or Physique.
  • Glutes – Full and round with slight separation between the hamstrings and the glutes. No striations (thrice warned). Glutes should be bigger than bikini, but not as lean or defined as the Figure or Physique competitors.

If you (or anyone) thinks that it’s going to be easy to train for this category, then let me repeat one part of the criteria – “Separation between the hamstrings and the glutes” – ladies, right there is a whole can of hard work!

It is fabulous that at long last a full and powerful lower body is being celebrated in todays fashion, training and competition. This lower body mass is a lot more realistic for the majority of women, but it does tend to cover and hide any detail of the upper hamstring and its connection with the glutes.

Couple this with the fact that female fat stores in the lower body are notoriously difficult to reduce, and now you’ve just dictated a huge work load and extreme work ethic to the ladies of this division.

Genetically you either have the ladies blessed with thick legs or the ladies blessed with lean legs – without a lot of work, rarely the two shall meet.

The 3 main challenges I see are;

  1. The ladies who will have to build a great deal of muscle on their lower body.
  2. These same ladies will have to diet down for the shows without losing any of their gains. This is not as easy as it might seem and the industry gnarly diets with hours of daily cardio might not be the best approach.
  3. The ladies who have the mass already will have to etch detail into their behinds. There are many theories as to why lower body fat does not respond the same way as upper body fat does. It might be the dominant Alpha 2 receptors, or it might be the fat pattern dictated by Lipoprotein Lipase (an enzyme which plays a role in body shape and fat patterning) Whatever the reason, hip and thigh fat is well known to be stubborn.

As in every division, the whole show may be won or lost when the competitor turns around.

WELLNESS SELF ASSESSMENT

If you are thinking about christening this new category then its as good a time as ever to compare the judging criteria with what you have to offer. This is undoubtedly a category that will be split into the genetically blessed and those less blessed, but conditioning is rarely genetic and hard work often wins out.

Head on, looking at horizontal widths, we are looking for;

  • Shoulder to Waist ratio
  • Hip to Waist ratio

In every category longer clavicles paired with a small waist is a visual advantage. There’s not much you can do about growing inches of bone to your clavicle, and in other categories this one physical issue can seal your competitive fate. In Wellness however, a narrow clavicle won’t end your career, but it might necessitate more medial delt work to make that shoulder to waist ratio appear more than it actually is.

If the waist isn’t as teeny as you might like, the good news it that this can be somewhat of an illusion. Posing is a ridiculously powerful way to narrow a waistline, and so too is training to bring detail to the external obliques. Our eyes happily land on detail, and an etched oblique line that runs right down into those bikini bottoms makes the waist appear no wider than the medial insertions of the muscle itself.

The rectus abdominis and its ‘6 pack’ has an almost horizonal line to its detail, however the diagonal line of the oblique alludes to a narrow, conditioned and very sexy torso. The bikini girls have paved the way to prove this point.

An extreme hip to waist ratio will be celebrated in Wellness. The narrow, boyish bottoms that work so well for figure and physique will not be rewarded here. Ladies with the wider hips, you have found your home. Full glutes that fill out that wider pelvic frame will be an obvious advantage, especially when paired with a ‘Betty Boop’ type waistline.

Another important proportion to consider is the upper to lower body lengths. In this lower body dominant category long legs with solid mass are key. Although short legs can appear thicker, when they are showcased with a long torso, the look doesn’t always work. Again, if this is a concern, the right suit, the right shoes and the right posing can make all the difference.

If you are not blessed with wide hips and thick thighs but you feel that Wellness is your future, then just get ready for some big, basic leg workouts, by the looks of the girls working out nowadays, not many are scared of leg day, indeed most seem to live for it!

TRAINING FOR WELLNESS

Because the emphasis of this class is most certainly on the lower body, this article is going to focus on the legs, hips and thighs. That is not to say that upper body training is not required, as mentioned, if your proportions are not ideal then shoulder workouts will be routine. From the rear, prominent rear delts and visible erectors at the lower back will give you a visual taper.

When the eyes land on the widest part of the shoulder, then the narrowest part of the torso, then the width on the hips and glutes, it is a pleasing, complete look. This sort of patterning is not about size, it is more about completeness, a flow. In bodybuilding some men are cursed with poor calf development and when assessing the physique as whole, it is not the lacking of that one body part, it is more that the look is unbalanced, less complete.

Wellness is not about a muscular upper body, but for lines to flow, it must be complete.

Although chest, back and biceps will not play a huge role in this division, shoulders (front, medial and rear), abdominals and a little tricep, certainly will.

LOWER BODY TRAINING FOR WELLNESS

Rather than divide workouts by level of experience, these workouts are distinguished by those with the genetic attributes and those without.

  • Ladies that already have size and shape in the lower body
  • Ladies that are narrower with less size in the lower body

LADIES WITH SIZE AND SHAPE

Ladies who already have the size need to concentrate more on density and conditioning. Athletic moves, plyometrics, even track work may serve these women well.

The hamstring/glute tie in will be a priority, and that may take hill sprints, more step ups, lunges, dead lifts, kettle bells, good mornings and single leg work.

LADIES WTH LESS SIZE AND NARROW HIPS

Ladies, you get to experience it all! But if your legs are leaner, the prized insertions may come easier to you and it will be the mass that you chase. Squats, double leg press (as opposed to single leg press), smith lunges (allows for more weight to be used), reverse and forward facing hack squats, deadlifts for weight, they will all be in your repertoire.

SEQUENCING

Although it’s tempting to hit legs every day of the week, progress also requires rest and adequate recovery. These lower body splits are for both types of ladies (mass and those seeking mass)

WORKOUT SPLIT A

Workout #1        Hamstrings & Glutes

Workout #2        Quads

Workout #3        Glutes

Workout #4        Upper body

WORKOUT SPLIT B

Workout #1        Quads & Glutes

Workout #2        Hamstrings

Workout #3        Glutes

Workout #4        Upper body Alternate between Split A & B every week or every two weeks

** You can workout more than 4 days per week, you simply stick with the order of the workouts

The following workouts are divided;

  • Ladies with mass workout splits A & B
  • Ladies seeking mass workout splits A & B

WORKOUTS

LADIES WITH MASS ALREADY

SPLIT A

WORKOUT 1 Hamstrings & Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Seated Reverse Hamstring Curls 20 15 12 30  
Good Mornings          
Travelling forward Lunge 40 total 30 total 24 total 20 total  
           
Lying Hamstring Curl 20 12 10 10 30
Side Lunges 12 ea side 12 12 12  
           
Dumbbell Deadlifts 12 10 8 6-8 6-8
Banded Side Walk 30 total 30 30 30  
           
Hamstrings on Stability Ball 20 20 15 15  
Weighted Step Ups 15 ea leg 15 12 12 BW  20 *

* BW Body Weight

SPLIT A WORKOUT #2 Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Seated Hip Abduction 25 15 15 15 25
Barbell reverse lunge (foot raised 2”) 15 each leg 12 10 10 10
           
Traveling Crab Lunge (stay low) 30 total 30 24 24 20
Standing Band glute kickbacks 15 each 15 15 15  
           
Hip Thrusters on bench 30 15 15 15 30
Banded lateral/side Walk 15 each 15 15 15  
           
Machine loaded Butt Blaster 20 12 10 10 20
Single Dead Lifts with dumbbell 10-12 10-12 10-12 10-12  
           

SPLIT A WORKOUT #3 Quads

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Single Leg Press 15 each leg 12 10 10 20
Box Jumps 12-15 12-15 12-15 12-15  
           
Free bar or Smith Squats 15 10 8 10 20
Plyo Split Squats 20 total 20 20 20 20
           
Reverse Hack Squats 20 12 10 10 20
Body Weight Bulgarian Squats 12 each leg 12 10 10  
           
Thigh Extension 20 20 20 20  
Sissy or Pile Squats (body weight) 20 20 20 20  
           

SPLIT B WORKOUT #1 Quads & Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Reverse (wide) then Forward 20 15 12 10 20
Facing (feet straight) Hack Squats 15 12 10 8 15
Standing/wall banded glute kicks 20 each leg 20 20 20 20
           
Smith Reverse Lunges  30 total 20 16 20 30
Goblet Squats  (if leaning forward too much, raise heels slightly) 15 15 15 15  
           
Leg Press (both legs for reps) 25 15 10 8-10 25
Pistol Squats or assisted single squat TF TF TF TF TF **
           
Single leg horizontal leg sled 12 each leg 12 10 10 20
Traveling/Walking lunges 30 steps 30 steps 20 steps 20 steps 40 BW *

** TF Too Failure (bodyweight)

*BW Body Weight

SPLIT B WORKOUT #2 Hamstrings

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Single Stiff Legged Dead Lift 10-12 10-12 10-12 10-12  
Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball 20 20 15 15  
           
Single Leg Lying Leg Curl 8-10 8-10 8-10 20 20
Good Mornings 121 12 12 12 12
           
Romanian Dead Lifts 10-12 8-10 6-8 6-8 6-8
           

SPLIT B WORKOUT #3 Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Bulgarian Squats w/barbell 15 each 15 15 15 20 BW
Marching Hip Lift (floor) 40 total 40 40 40  
           
Machine loaded Butt Blaster 20 each leg 151 12 12 20
Low ¾ Squats BW or barbell 30 30 30 30  
Body weight Diagonal Squat 12 each leg 12 12 12  
           
Alternate Reverse Smith Lunge* 40 total 30 20 16 40
Rear Foot Elevated Deadlift 12 each 12 12 12  
           

*Alternate one leg and then the other

LADIES THAT NEED TO BUILD MORE MASS

SPLIT A WORKOUT #1  Hamstrings & Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Lying Curls legs wide then close 20 + 12 12 + 8 12 + 8 12 + 8  
Traveling Lunges 40 total 30 24 20 40
           
Barbell Deadlifts 10-12 8-10 6-8 6-8 6-8
Clamshells w/band 25 25 25 252 25
           
Seated Reverse Leg Curl Pause set ** 15 12 10 10 25
Step up with Reverse Lunge 12 each leg 10 10 12 20 BW
           
Single Leg Deadlifts 8-10 8-10 8-10 8-10  

** complete set and pause at the top of the exercise, count to 10, try for 3-6 more reps

SPLIT A  WORKOUT #2  Quads

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Thigh Extensions 15 12 12 12  
Hip Adductors 20 15 15 15  
(these will prime you for squats)          
           
Barbell Squats 12 10-12 8-10 6-8 6-8
Step Ups 12 each leg 10 8 8 12
           
Leg Press (both legs) 15 10-12 8-10 6-8 6-8 + drop
Banded air squats 20 20 20 20  
           
Hack Squats forward facing, wide 15 12 8 10 15
Front Squats w/dumbbell for reps 12 10 6 8 12

SPLIT A WORKOUT #3  Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Smith Lunges Reverse 2 at a time** 30 total 24 16 16 24
Clamshells w/band 20 20 20 20 20
           
Single Horizontal Sled ¾ reps 15 12 12 12 20
Ankle Jumping Jacks w/band 20 20 20 20  
           
Bulgarian Squats 12 each leg 10 8 8 12
Hip Bridge Pulses w/band 15-20 15-20 15-20 15-20  
           
           

** 2 at a time. 2 reps on the right leg, then change legs legs. Alternate between legs every 2 reps

SPLIT B WORKOUT #1   Quads & Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Hack Squat Reverse (wide) and 15 12 8 8 15
Then facing front (feet straight) 10 8 6 6 10
Body weight traveling lunges 20 total 20 total 20 total 20 total 20 total
           
Box Squats (free or smith) 12 8 6 10 10
Banded walk          
           
Leg Press (both legs) 12 8-10 6-8 6-8 20
Hip Bridge Pulses w/band 20 20 20 20  
           
Thigh Extension – feet flexed, then pointed 12+8 10+6 10+6 12+8 15+10
Kettle Bell Swings 15 12 12 15 25

SPLIT B WORKOUT #2  Hamstrings

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Seated Reverse Hamstring Curl 15 15 20 15 15
Single Stiff Legged Deadlift 12 12 8 8 6-8
           
Lying Hamstring Curl w/drop set 12+6 10+5 8+4 8+4 12+6
On every set          
Good Mornings 12 12 12 12 12
           
Barbell Deadlifts (Romanian) 8 6-8 6-8 8-10 8
Stability Ball Hamstring Single Curls 12 each leg 12 12 12  

SPLIT B WORKOUT #3  Glutes

  Set #1 Set #2 Set #3 Set #4 optional
Single Leg Press or Sled 12 each leg 8-10 8-10 1-12 20
Double Tap Traveling Lunge ** 20 total 20 20 20 40 BW
           
Step ups with Reverse Lunge 12 each leg 12 10 8 8
Banded Fire Hydrants + banded 15 15 15 15  
Glute Donkey Kicks 12 each 12 12 12  
           
Reverse Lunge (front foot raised 2”) barbell 12 each leg 10 8 8 12
Barbell Hip Thrusts (bands optional) 12-15 12-15 12-15 12-15 12-15

** Double Tap Traveling Lunge – Step forward and lunge, repeat that lunge (do not move feet) and then continue. Basically two lunges per step