How Female Bodybuilding World Champ Alina Popa Trains

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The prevalence of bodybuilding-style weight training in virtually all sports has shown us a lot of things. We’ve seen that stronger athletes perform better almost across the board, including in baseball and golf, which used to be thought of as sports that depend more on “skill” than high-level athletic ability.

It has also demonstrated that women can build full, strong muscles just as much as men can and that the very same techniques that create muscular development in men work the same with women. And if you look at the aesthetically muscular physique of Rising Phoenix World Champion Alina Popa, it’s obvious she did not “train like a girl” to become a world champion — at least, not in any conventional sense.

Alina achieved her success doing traditional bodybuilding workouts, like almost all other male and female champions, using sufficient amounts of weight, performing the appropriate exercises, doing the necessary number of set and reps and working out consistently over time.

“There is essentially no difference between my workouts and those of male pro bodybuilders,” Alina says. “Although some of the mass monsters out there are so much bigger than I am, then of course they need to train with heavier weights than I do. But I train as heavy as I need to, and in some cases I am lifting heavier than some men. Remember, bodybuilding is about weight training, not weightlifting. So, nobody who wants results should use the amount of resistance appropriate for the sets and reps dictated by their own workout schedule.”

When a bodybuilder is posing on stage, the judges are going by what they see. They don’t take into consideration how much weight any given bodybuilder uses in his or her workouts. And while it is human nature to occasionally push yourself or show off in the gym, that is not going to increase your scores in a contest. And training injuries, which can come from working too heavy, poor technique or overtraining, are always going to get in the way of your success.

The Romanian-born bodybuilder, who has twice placed a close second in the Ms. Olympia competition and won the Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix World Championship in 2018, would be a favorite to win the upcoming Ms. Olympia 2020 competition. But because she’s working as vice president for European Operations and Athlete Representative for Jake Wood’s Wings of Strength organization, she doesn’t have the time necessary to adequately prepare for the competition.


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