I’ve seen it too many times… back when I worked at gyms and still now when I work out at my local commercial gym: alot (not all) of women are neglecting the big old compound exercises. The reasons could be many:
- Lack of knowledge: not knowing how to correctly perform the exercise
- Intimidation: some women feel intimidated walking into the free weights section because of all the testosterone around. I say OWN it.. do your thang girl!!
- Have been misinformed: some women might still believe that these big lifts are just “too manly” for them, totally not the case.
I could continue, but then this would turn into a looonnnggg rant.
Ok, so moving on… these lifts I like to refer to them as the “Build-A Body” group, because when implemented correctly can help ‘build’ your lady bumps and humps 😉 and who wouldn’t want that?!
- The Deadlift: A foundational lift. This exercise mimics everyday movements like bending and lifting (ex: picking up your little one). This one is my ultimate favourite lift. With so many different variations, I incorporate the deadlift in almost every one of my workouts. Muscles worked include:
- entire posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, hips): equals a beautiful backside
- engages your core musculature (internal girdle): a strong core increases overall strength, protects your back, and lets you wear those crop tops without thinking twice
- biceps and forearms: develops your grip strength so you can lift more heavy SH*T!
- Here’s a great article on deadlifting written by Tony Gentilcore (who is only the world’s deadlifting god)
- The Squat: Another foundational lift as you do this movement every time you sit and stand. With many variations to choose from, you can never get bored of this one.
- helps build and shape nice thighs
- helps build glutes
- builds overall strength
- The Hip Thrust: This one is a great glute builder/ isolator exercise. Remember that your glutes are pure muscle and in order to grow them you need to learn to fire the glutes and stimulate them properly using heavier loads, varying rep ranges, etc. You can increase or decrease the intensity level by doing body weight hip thrusts, adding bands, doing singe leg variations.. possibilities are many.
- Pull-ups: This is the ultimate upper body exercise as it builds incredible strength. As a multi joint exercise:
- works & strengthens entire back musculature, shoulders, biceps, grip strength
- creates a tapered effect of the back making your waist look smaller
- different hand positions target the muscles a little differently/ changes difficulty
- Vertical/ Horizontal Presses: These include push-ups & variations (horizontal press exercises); military press, push-press, shoulder press, etc (vertical press exercises). These exercises:
- increase upper body strength (women have less muscle mass compared to their lower bodies.. we gotta work harder at it!)
- work your chest, shoulders, triceps and core
- Band assisted push-ups (beginners)
- Awesome push-up variations (advanced)
- Military Press helps build amazing shoulders
- Push Press helps build raw strength. Improves shoulder stability. And can I just say it look badass when a woman does it!!
So here it is ladies.. a short list of some lifts to definitely include in your training. Don’t be intimidated or embarrassed of walking into that gym and grabbing some iron. Your body will thank you 😉
Happy Training 🙂
The Turkish Get-up
This has to be one of my favorite exercises right now. I had done it only a few times before.. But I can say I mastered it this past July when I took a kettlebell training course.
Apart from being one of the most functional exercises ( I would categorize it right along with dead lifts), it totally builds your confidence when you can handle a chunk of iron with grace.
I started off with 35pds, then one afternoon I decided to challenge myself & was able to handle a 50pd kettlebell with ease. (Mind you, I was only able to get in a couple reps on each side).
The awesome benefits of this exercise?
• Strengthens your shoulder girdle. In order to keep that kettlebell from falling into your face the scapula must keep retracted & as stable as possible. The continual motion of the exercise challenges the entire shoulder girdle in multiple planes to work constantly to stabilize the weight.
• Core. Trust me you will feel your core after doing a few of these. Your core works overtime to stabilize you as you go from the floor to standing. Try it & you will experience first hand.
• Strenth. The TGU is really like 5 exercises in one (in progression): Floor Press, Weighted Situp, Weighted Plank, Weighted Lunge/Split Squat/Squat, and overall isometric hold. The more weight you do with each, obviously you will get stronger.
• Proprioception. When you have a big chunk of iron directly above you, you become super aware of each part of your body and where it’s at and where it needs to go. You will notice how the slightest adjustment affects what you’re doing and becomes immediately clear.
• Balance. I think this speaks for itself. Any deviation from proper form will send that kettlebell (or you) right down.
• Focus. You have to constantly focus and be aware of every movement throughout this exercise. After getting in more then 3 reps will power is what will help fight off fatigue & let you get in that last rep (or two).
• Grip. A big one for me. If you have weak grip, this will help strengthen those forearm & wrist muscles. Your wrist an forearm work to keep any lateral movement of that kettlebell from occurring. You will feel it the next day.
These are just some of the benefits of this exercise. Kettlebells overall are great to use in your routine.