Here are some of the workouts we can use at home or outside:
“Deadlifts are one of the best exercises for working the back of your body, including your glutes, hamstrings, and back,” says Jacquelyn Brennan, C.S.C.S., a personal trainer and co-founder of Mindfuel Wellness in Chicago. (FYI: That’s all part of your very important posterior chain.) Plus, since deadlifts work so many muscles at once, they save you a whole lot of time performing single isolation moves. Performing this exercise on one leg also adds a bonus balance challenge to this workout for women.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand on your left foot.
- Keeping core engaged and chest up during the entire movement, lift your right foot behind you and bend your knee so your right lower leg is parallel to the floor.
- Bend forward at your hips, and slowly lower your body as far as you can.
- Pause, then push your body back to the starting position. As you come up, think about using your glutes to push your hips forward instead of lifting from your back.
Do 10 reps per side.
Planks are one of the best exercises for your abs, considering they work your deep inner core muscles (including your transverse abdominis), which helps stabilize your spine and power your workouts, says Brennan. This oblique-targeting variation is a nice way to work your abs in areas crunches often miss.
- Lie on your left side with your knees straight.
- Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm.
- Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Turn around so that you’re lying on your right side and repeat.
Do two 30-second holds per side (then work up to 45- and 60-second holds as you progress).
A perfect-form push-up challenges the entire body (especially your chest) while burning some calories since it’s like a moving plank. This is one of the best exercises to include in workouts for women because it trains your body in a functional movement pattern, helping improve your performance in other exercises at the gym as well as in daily life.
- Start on all fours and place your hands on the floor so that they’re slightly wider than and in line with your shoulders, feet close together.
- Keeping hips lifted and core braced the entire time, lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor and then push yourself back to the starting position.
Do 15 reps.
Second Position Pliés
Your lower body—and we mean your entire lower body—loves pliés. They’re one of the best exercises for women because, “they work all of the larger muscles in the lower half of the body, making them incredibly efficient and effective at both building muscle and burning calories,” says Brennan. Turning your toes out during this move means that the squat motion will sculpt the inner thighs as well as tone the gluteus minimus (side of your butt). Add them to your leg day routine to create a killer workout for women.
- Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly.
- Lower your body down by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Bring arms overhead and shoulders down and back.
- Pause, then slowly push yourself back up to the starting position.
Do 15 reps.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best workouts for women because it burns more calories in a shorter amount of time compared to long, slow endurance exercise. Try incorporating it into your workout routine twice a week on alternate days.
Choose any piece of cardio equipment (elliptical, jump rope, treadmill, bike, etc) or choose a bodyweight HIIT move:
- 3 minutes at 50 percent of your maximum effort
- 20 seconds at 75 percent of your maximum effort
- 10 seconds at your absolute maximum effort
Do 10 reps of the circuit.
This one of the best exercises for targetting the muscles of your glutes and hamstrings to create stronger legs and a tighter booty. Step-ups also target your quadriceps since they require you to straighten your knee against resistance.
- Stand in front of a bench or step and place your left foot firmly on the step.
- Keeping chest up and core engaged the entire time, press your left foot into the step and push your body up until your left leg is straight.
- Lower your body back down until your right foot touches the floor and repeat.
- Keep your weight balanced evenly, not leaning too far forward or too far back.
Do 10 reps per side.
Plank with Arm Raise
Adding an arm raise to an already-excellent core exercise like the forearm plank makes the ab workout for women even more of a stability challenge, which in turn improves posture and core strength.
- Start in push-up position, then bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of on your hands. (Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.)
- Brace your core and maintain your hip placement as you lift your right arm straight out in front of you. Draw your shoulder blades down and back as you lift your arms.
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds and then switch arms.
Do 5 reps per side.
There are so many physical and mental benefits to yoga, so why not include bits of the practice in a workout for women? Inversion postures are great for relaxation, blood flow, and for a new perspective! This is one of the best exercises for women to add to their workout—but you can also add more chill inversions to other parts of your life. For example, try putting your legs up the wall for 5 minutes every night before bed.
- Lie down on your back and lift your legs and hips off the ground, bringing your legs up over your head until your toes touch the floor behind you.
- Place your hands behind your back and extend legs straight in the air, creating a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
- Keep your neck relaxed as you hold the shoulder stand.
Hold for 1 minute (or as long as you’re comfortable balancing).