Exercising is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal; there are tons of different workouts you can do to target your specific body type and goals. For women, a pretty flexible mix of weights and cardio is usually the right combo to create a lean, toned hourglass shape and keep you looking sexy in your jeans and booties. These five exercises are incredibly effective at strengthening your full body while increasing your heart rate to burn fat. Get out your stylish women’s track pants and tank, and get sweating!
Holding a plank position is an intense exercise that requires nothing but a mat and your body weight. It’s an incredibly simple workout move, but it targets your full body. The plank engages your core, glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders as you work to hold yourself upright and balanced. It may look easy, but watch out: soon enough, your body will be shaking, sweating, and ready to collapse. To perform, simply push yourself off the ground into a push-up position and hold for as long as you can, aiming for at least 30 seconds.
- Romanian Deadlifts
Romanian deadlifts are all about working the lower body with dead weights (weights with no momentum). The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the regular deadlift where your legs are straighter, targeting your booty and lower back. If you’re new to deadlifts, start with just body weight to master the form, and then work your way up through the weights rack. Start with your feet hip-width apart, weights in your hands, and a very slight bend in your knees (always avoiding locking your knees when exercising). Keeping your shoulders pulled back and your back flat, slowly lower towards the floor, palms facing your knees. Raise back up slowly to your starting position, completing one rep.
Lunges are a fantastic multi-muscle workout that tones your butt, legs, and core all at once. Lunges can be done in so many ways, but the basic exercise involves stepping one foot forward a few feet and then lowering your back leg straight down. Make sure your front knee never goes past your toes to prevent knee injury. Hold the lunge briefly, and then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, and complete 8 reps per leg. Once you get the hang of regular lunges, you can try adding weights, reverse lunges, walking lunges, and even side lunges to really target your glutes.
Women tend to shy away from upper body exercises for fear that they’ll become too bulky and manly; this couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes very dedicated strength-training and nutrition choices to achieve that bulky look, so adding in bodyweight upper body exercises will simply give you a toned physique. Pushups work your entire upper body at once, giving you a solid workout without having to navigate your way to the weights rack. Start in a plank position (modifying it to resting on your knees if needed), and slowly lower yourself down to the floor and pushing yourself back up. Ensure your hands are directly below your shoulders, and that your core is engaged and supporting you. Perform as many as you can, rest and repeat.
If you haven’t been squatting on the regular, then you need to add squats into your regular workouts. They’re unbelievably effective at toning your legs, butt, and core, while also strengthening your body for regular everyday movements. With your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, slowly sit back as though you were lowering yourself onto a toilet. Keep your chest lifted and core engaged until your legs reach a 90 degree angle. Rise up slowly, and repeat 3 sets of 10 reps. Once you get more comfortable with the movement you can add in weights, pulsing motions, or even plié squats to target your inner thighs. Soon enough, you’ll be a lean, mean squatting machine.