Author Topic: Guys Teaching Women  (Read 6193 times)

Offline Alec Furtado

  • kicks butt.
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1992
  • Karma: +27/-6
  • Balance.
    • View Profile
Guys Teaching Women
« on: March 14, 2011, 11:00:48 AM »
I don't know what I'm referring to specifically, but is there anything us guys should know about helping women get the most out of their training?

We have an entire active forum for women on here, so I know there is stuff to talk about. If I were teaching a session with a lot of women, I know (at least currently) that I couldn't serve as that kind of resource.

I know the main idea is to keep training the same. Are there suggestions on what to do with the extra stuff or should I not worry about it?


One of my goals in starting a club at SCU is to increase female involvement in the parkour community. There is almost a 60/40 ratio of gals to guys here and many of them are very active, so there is potential there. Building a group who can do it better than the guys would be sick and it was just a passing thought that I'd ask if there are any tips here. I already plan to make sure that any posters or fliers that are put out are not male-dominated, both in text and imagery:



So yea, are there any pointers or should I not try to be serve as that kind of resource?
Water conforms to the shape of it's surroundings. Do not be water. Shape your own life.

Offline Adam McC

  • Delicious
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Karma: +209/-43
  • Level 1 Sexability Certified
    • View Profile
    • Lehigh Valley Parkour
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 11:14:07 AM »
My advice would be, try not to think of women differently than any other group you'd prepare for, with classes or a seminar.

Now, I don't mean that as in, it doesn't matter, use the same methods. Obviously that's not the case. Anytime you prepare a class or event, you look at the demographics of the people you are serving and examine the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities you have for that group. For a beginner event, you might recognize enthusiasm and curiosity as a strength, experience and knowledge and ability as weaknesses, and then look at your environment and decide what kind of opportunities you have for expanding. For an intermediate or advanced group, you might look at their skill as a strength, the smaller precentage of practitioners as a weakness, and building on what they are already familiar with as an opportunity. For a mixed group, you can do this analysis. Really, you should perform this anaylsis on any group of people you intend to teach, to decide how best to help and teach them.

Women don't, in my opinion, require any more special attention than any other grouping. Or should I say, any other group does not deserve less attention. They should all have your full attention. For women, its no different, and should be no big deal. You might see balance, flexibility, and grace as strengths, strength and explosive power as weaknesses, philosophical understanding as an opportunity, and so on, to be obvious. Obviously, you should go deeper into this. But think of it like you would any other group. Serve their needs, expand their weaknesses, support their strengths, and provide them with new opportunities.

•Lehigh Valley Parkour Community Founder
•Level 1 A.D.A.P.T. Certified
•Urban Current Member

Offline Alec Furtado

  • kicks butt.
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1992
  • Karma: +27/-6
  • Balance.
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2011, 01:54:59 PM »
Yes, for sure.

But specifically, browse through the women's forum for a bit.

For threads such as this, http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,29103.0.html, it's very clear that showing off should be avoided like the plague, not to mention any "oggling."

But there's a certain attraction for women-only jams, I don't think there's any way to replicate that as a guy. (This is all speculation... obviously the club hasn't even started yet) Unless a girl stepped up, could there be any appeal to do women only sessions and I just kinda advise or something?


Also, I have had girls say they don't want to get buff or get too ripped of abs or something. Are there any tried-and-true comforting words here?


EDIT:
And girls refusing certain exercises because of ^that?

And pullups if a girl can't do them and there's only a guy available for assisted pullups... that could be totally awkward right? I mean, hopefully as a leader I could build up trust/comfort so that that wouldn't be a big deal but... idk.

Or should I just do my thing and not worry about anything in regard to any of that?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 02:26:00 PM by Alec Furtado »
Water conforms to the shape of it's surroundings. Do not be water. Shape your own life.

Offline Adam McC

  • Delicious
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Karma: +209/-43
  • Level 1 Sexability Certified
    • View Profile
    • Lehigh Valley Parkour
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2011, 05:15:25 PM »
I would imagine that showing off and any "ogling" should be avoided regardless of the gender of the class.;)

I've hosted a women's only seminar, and it went great! Just control your own movements so you don't intimidate them, and they'll follow your lead. They'll accept you since you're the teacher or the authority and it won't be a problem. You're -supposed- to be better than them. Just control your movements, but you should be always doing that anyways.

As for them getting buff, I hear that a lot too. The magic words are, they wont. Girls do not put on muscle the same way guys do, so generic bodyweight Parkour training will not result in any noticeable muscle gain. Just some toning, which is usually what they are after.

For pull ups, just give them different goals! This goes back to my previous post. Adapt what you expect to who they are. If I were to have girls to do pull ups, I'd tell them to try to pull as far as they can and then hold for a second, and slowly release. That way they still get the workout but their goal is individualized.

Again I say, think about girls as just another aspect to adapt to, like beginners or training in the rain. They don't want to be babied as a special group and they shouldn't be.

•Lehigh Valley Parkour Community Founder
•Level 1 A.D.A.P.T. Certified
•Urban Current Member

Offline Joe Brock

  • #1 Coach
  • Ambassador
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1322
  • Karma: +70/-7
  • Pick your passion.
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011, 08:42:14 PM »
I do have some input here.  Train them exactly for S&C as you would a guy.  Their 1RM is exactly that...THEIR 1RM, and should be calculated the same way.  I work with Sarai (my fiancée) often on her lifts and body-weight training.  With the correct push, she's a beast.  Some girls might be into the whole "feminine appeal" aspects, and fear that muscle is going to look bad on them.  Without hormone therapy and steroids, though, this really shouldn't be a concern.  Look up some Crossfit videos for them to view.  Some of those ladies look like they'd be tellers at a local bank (not trying to be sexist here...just stating a fact), despite the fact that they are PCleaning 125lbs.  :)

On the other hand, some ladies are real fighters, and if you don't put forth the challenge, they'll never see their full potential.  It's exactly like most guys, some will push to get stronger while others just want to play around with the ideas.  Don't underestimate women because "they're fragile" or anything silly like that.  Push them with words of motivation, good training practice, and then step back and let them work.  They can surprise you, especially since the main differences are in UPPER BODY strength.  Women can perform amazingly well if the strength they need comes from their legs.  I'd still treat the training on an individual basis, not a "gender-derived" one.

If "ogling" and showing off is an issue for you, then hang up your "leadership" badge. 
Posts are not to be mistaken for medical or training advice, or anything other than the rantings of an amateur strongman and powerlifter.

Offline Alec Furtado

  • kicks butt.
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1992
  • Karma: +27/-6
  • Balance.
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2011, 05:48:00 AM »
Haha definitely not, but showing off could be an issue depending on what is considered showing off.

I've had training sessions with a group of guys in the gymnastics gym and many times we end up getting basically in line and going through whatever obstacle one after the other, much like trickers do. Eventually one person nominates to add something to the obstacle or change it around in some way that makes it harder. I can see a lot of this as showing off, but I also think it's a great way to share movement with others and push yourself. Showing off seemed to be a big concern in that thread, which makes me concerned, haha.


Anyway, glad we got some of this out of the way, haha. I know a couple women who seem to use their own gender bubble to hold themselves back, though I guess maybe those individuals might not have had it in them anyway and would have used whatever excuse was easiest? I've dealt with more guys who do the same now that I think about it ;)
Water conforms to the shape of it's surroundings. Do not be water. Shape your own life.

Offline Adam McC

  • Delicious
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Karma: +209/-43
  • Level 1 Sexability Certified
    • View Profile
    • Lehigh Valley Parkour
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 06:14:13 AM »
I've dealt with more guys who do the same now that I think about it ;)


Now youre catching on. ;)

•Lehigh Valley Parkour Community Founder
•Level 1 A.D.A.P.T. Certified
•Urban Current Member

Offline Kim Martin

  • Patas
  • ***
  • Posts: 205
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • More to see, More to do.
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2011, 09:28:51 AM »
Teach all your students as individuals even in big classes.
I have been taught in large groups and in small, my trainer has made time for each and every one of us to help correct mistakes or help get over mental blocks

Each person whether they are young, old, man or woman, are going to have different problems to face to become good at parkour

Offline Ashley McCauley

  • Is My Favorite
  • Ambassador
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1234
  • Karma: +24/-4
  • Strength sumblime, alive in my very skin
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2011, 02:05:12 PM »
- Do you feel more comfortable being taught by a woman, or a man, or does it matter? Do you think it's important for women's classes/clinics/jams to be led only by women?

For me it doesn't matter because as long as they explain the movement and treat me as a equal.

Quoting myself from this thread.


I think as long as you treat the women equal it shouldn't be a problem. But as LoneHowler said, there may be different difficulties that each person face and that's when you treat them as a individual so as to help them and explain to them in a way they may understand on how to tackle that particular movement or obstacle.
“Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive, look, experience, examine, and for once; just once, understand."

Offline OPSLORUNNER

  • Oryctolagus Cuniculus
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2011, 11:10:26 PM »
With the school kids i work with the girls are often tougher and quicker learners as long as they are not trying to look cute for the boys. I find encouraging the girls to find a skill that the boys are neglecting and use that to build their confidence to lessen the compatition embarasment and frustration. Try not to overly control the class just encourage each student to push themselves to try something new every class or session. Everyone is scared and weak when they start just build each student like a pyramid, one b....Trick at a time. Sex does not seem to matter in the ability to do anything....The willingness to try however...Ha-ha
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 05:19:54 AM by Alec Furtado »
FREERUNNING TILL OLD AGE

Offline Alec Furtado

  • kicks butt.
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1992
  • Karma: +27/-6
  • Balance.
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2011, 06:05:58 AM »
Thanks guys, a lot of good points in this thread. Just changing the perspective automatically answers a lot of the questions... ;D

So I'm guessing you would run a girls-only session the same way?


And yea, I already know one of my big difficulties is with trying to control the process too much. I don't know why, but that seems to be how it is. I just need to keep it in my head that I cannot put strength or muscle memory into their body, they have to go through the reps themselves.

Opslorunner, out of curiosity, what is the age-group(s) of the people you teach?
Water conforms to the shape of it's surroundings. Do not be water. Shape your own life.

Offline lethalbeef

  • Guenons
  • **
  • Posts: 67
  • Karma: +1/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2011, 11:23:53 AM »
When I went to Mexico City last summer I happened to be there right as they were running a women's only introductory session that they had been planning. They did a lot to empower the women, and even though all the instructors were all guys, everyone looked like they were having a lot of fun and learning a lot. Inspired by that I started planning a women focused class in Berkeley and learned a lot from it.

While I definitely agree that men and women have parallel mental issues to deal with, should be taught with a similar mindset, etc, at the risk of sounding sexist, I would say that there are different approaches you can take when running a women's only session if only because of differences in gender/culture influence. There might be certain issues such as the muscle/buff thing that you can address head on. I was told by Brandee from PKV that, in opposition to men, women get a strong sense of achievement from personal accomplishment and don't need to match others competitively to feel good. In teaching terms, this means give them things they can do well and let them enjoy the success of it, whereas guys more often need to keep pushing and advancing to have fun. The other thing is that the huge gender imbalance in parkour (and in many sports, of course) makes many women uncomfortable with jumping in. You can treat this the way you might treat (any) beginners feeling shy about trying things because they think they can't do anything, are out of shape, will look dumb, etc. Do your best to help them relax, take them aside and give them personal instruction, group them together so they feel less out of place and can progress together.

Offline mortal

  • Oryctolagus Cuniculus
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Always looking for more Phoenix Metro traceurs.
    • View Profile
    • PhoenixParkour
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 08:47:15 PM »
No differences in my opinion.  The more you maintain that mentality, the purer your interaction with them will be.
Will play Extreme Games of Tag for Phoenix Parkour

Offline Alan

  • Oryctolagus Cuniculus
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Flip Yeah, Parkour!
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2011, 08:56:07 AM »
Also, I have had girls say they don't want to get buff or get too ripped of abs or something. Are there any tried-and-true comforting words here?

Refer them to this. She's not a traceuse, but she can deadlift over 300 pounds, and she doesn't look ripped or muscle-bound.

Offline Joe Brock

  • #1 Coach
  • Ambassador
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1322
  • Karma: +70/-7
  • Pick your passion.
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2011, 02:21:04 PM »
Refer them to this. She's not a traceuse, but she can deadlift over 300 pounds, and she doesn't look ripped or muscle-bound.

The funny thing...in the world of powerlifting...she's extremely weak at her weight.
Posts are not to be mistaken for medical or training advice, or anything other than the rantings of an amateur strongman and powerlifter.

Offline Alec Furtado

  • kicks butt.
  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1992
  • Karma: +27/-6
  • Balance.
    • View Profile
Re: Guys Teaching Women
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2011, 06:14:33 PM »
That's a sweet article though!! Thanks for posting. Good to have a personal story of a girl doing it right with good results.
Water conforms to the shape of it's surroundings. Do not be water. Shape your own life.