5 Exercises Every Woman Should Be Doing!

fitness female doing a push up at the gym

Add strength-training practices to your routine, and get stronger, feel amazing

As mothers, we always tend to be short on TIME! Between carpooling, cleaning, folding that darned laundry, and running after the crawling baby, is it any wonder most of us are perpetually 10 minutes late?!? Finding time to exercise? Yeah…add that to the list of things we KNOW we should do, but seldom make time for. (Cleaning the shower is on that list as well. Things are starting to grow, you guys!)

Today I want to share FIVE strength training exercises that every woman should be doing. Not only are they perfect for targeting multiple muscle groups, but you can do these five moves ANYWHERE and with LITTLE TIME! As you know, strength training can do phenomenal things for the female body. It burns calories, it creates more muscle (which in turn, burns more calories), and strength training also aids in the prevention of certain diseases, namely osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes. Don’t worry – you won’t bulk up. Quite the opposite – by incorporating strength moves into your fitness plan, you’ll see a slim and trim body in no time!

1. The Overhead Squat

The overhead squat is a great lower body exercise that also engages the entire core and shoulder complex. Perfect for targeting quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, intrinsic core stabilizers, and the shoulders. A total body move!

fitness woman performing an overhead squat

How To: Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly out. Extend weighted bar over head, keeping arms straight and locked out the entire time. Squat down with arms overhead. Try to get thighs parallel with the ground – more advanced: drop slightly past parallel. Knees should not extend past the toes.

**Keep the weight in the heels. Chest pulled back and upright.

2. The Upright Row

The upright row targets one of the larger muscles of the body: the latissimus dorsi. Using larger muscle groups burns more calories than say, a bicep curl, where you’re only isolating a small muscle. The upright row also makes a great shoulder and upper back exercise!

fitness woman performing an upright row

How To: Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Grip weighted bar or dumbbells, palms facing the body and a little narrower than shoulder-width. Bring the weight up to chest height, elbows held higher than the weighted bar or dumbbells. Slowly lower back down.

3. The Lunge

A stationary or walking lunge is a great exercise that can be done anywhere! Targeting the quadriceps, gluteal muscles, calves and core muscles, the lunge is also the perfect move to slim your inner and outer thighs!

fitness woman doing a lunge

How To: Start with feet together. Lunge forward with one leg, creating a 90 degree angle with your shin and thigh (thigh parallel to the ground). Drop the knee of the opposite, back leg into a 90 degree angle. The load should be prominently on the front leg, engaging the quadriceps, glutes and calf. Push off the ground with the front leg and repeat on the opposite side.

**Avoid collapsing the core – hold it tight and upright throughout the exercise.

4. The Pushup

Often overlooked, the pushup is one of the best exercises that women can do! A beginner may start on their knees and work their way up into a full “boy” pushup. This strength move works the chest, core and back. One of my favorites!

fitness lady doing a push up

How To: Start with body in a high plank position, arms extended and with shoulders directly over wrists. Lower the entire body down to the ground, then push back up with the arms into a high plank position.

**Avoid a low back arch (stomach falling toward the ground).

The Forearm Plank

Planking is now all the rage in the fitness realm! The plank exercise is a total body move, engaging the entire core, shoulders, back and lower body. It is particularly good for post-partum mothers, as it helps to restore strength to the intrinsic core stabilizers!

fitness woman in plank position

How To: Begin in a pushup position with feet and hands on the floor. Lower down onto your forearms. Hold for as long as you can, drawing the belly button towards the spine. Avoid a low back arch (stomach falling toward the ground). Try to keep a straight line drawn from your shoulders to your hips to your ankles.

For more fitness and health tips, please visit my healthy living blog, Lindsay’s List, and join in on the fun at the LL Facebook page, where I host giveaways and weekly workouts!