I’m often asked what are the best exercises. The truth is, as a personal trainer, I know that this is a very hard question, as really, it depends on your goals. For some, exercises like squats and dead lifts might be best while for others, step ups and pushups might be more suitable. Exercises, for me, are like tools in a mechanics tool box – it’s simply a matter of choosing the right tool for the right job. You wouldn’t try and change a spark plug in your car using a hammer or nail up a picture using a screwdriver and exercise choice is no different.
That being said, there are some exercises that, in my experience, are popular and effective with certain groups. In this article, I want to tell you how to do some the exercises I have found to be best for women. Why these particular exercises? Good question! Simply, they target the main “problem areas” many women tell me they want to fix.
1. Supine hip bridge
This fantastic butt exercise is easy to perform but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. You can perform this one at home so why not do a set after reading this article? Lie on your back with your hands by your sides and your legs bent. Push down through your feet and lift your hips up into the air so your weight is resting on your feet and shoulders only. Lower your hips back down and repeat. This exercise can also be performed one leg at a time.
2. Kettlebell swings
I’ve been a personal trainer for 15 years now and I am always happy to see this exercise being performed. It’s a great leg toning, fat burning workout which is guaranteed to deliver results. Take your kettlebell in both hands and stand with your feet shoulder – width apart. Bend your knees slightly, push your hips back and lower the weight between your knees. Drive your hips forward and use this momentum to swing the kettlebell up to around shoulder height. Let it drop back down and repeat. Shoot for about 30 swings per minute pace and do not allow your lower back to become rounded.
3. Close grip pushups
Michelle Obama is known for her toned arms. Saggy, soft arms do not cut it in the White House! Be like the First Lady and tone up your arms with this variation of the classic pushup. Adopt the normal pushup position but place your hands directly under your shoulders with your elbows pointing to the rear. Keeping your abs tight, bend your arms and lower your chest towards the floor. Your elbows should travel backwards and stay close to your sides. Push back up and repeat. You can also bend your legs and rest on your knees for an easier workout.
4. Romanian dead lifts
RDLS are a champion butt builder. Want a firm but round butt? You NEED this exercise in your life! Grab a barbell or a pair of dumbbells with an overhand shoulder – width grip. Bend your knees slightly. Push your hips back and hinge forwards to lower the weight down the front of your leg. Really push your hips back as though you are trying to touch the wall behind you with your butt. Stand back up and repeat. Keep your shoulders back, your chest up and do not allow your lower back to become rounded.
5. Body rows
Good posture can make you look taller, slimmer and younger. Too much hunching forward means that many of us have terrible posture and look and feel terrible too. Body rows are a great way to fix your posture and give your arms, lower back and glutes a workout at the same time. Using a suspension trainer or a Smith machine bar set to waist – height, sit down and grab the handles/bar. Extend your legs and raise your hips so your weight is supported by your hands and on your feet only. Keeping your legs and body straight, bend your arms and pull yourself up as far as you can. Slowly extend your arms and repeat.
I’ve been a personal trainer for a long time now and, in my opinion, these five exercises will fix almost every one of the common female problem areas in double – quick time. Don’t take my word for it though – try them for yourself.
By Mark Darco
Mark Darco is a personal trainer and boxing instructor. He has completed multiple certifications. He works in Brooklyn and NYC.