Many women love being active yet are fearful of lifting weights. The thought is that weightlifting will make women bulk up and look less feminine. Well, you can put those fears to rest. Women do not have high concentrations of testosterone like men do therefore most women find it difficult to actually bulk up without spending hours in the gym or taking additional supplements. Weight training is also quite beneficial for women. Lifting weights helps women tone up and look better, lose weight or maintain weight, strengthens bones and can also improve self-confidence.
Single-Arm Overhead Static Lunge
This exercise really works the glutes, hamstrings, quads and core. Assume a split stance with the right foot forward and left foot back. Hips and shoulders are square and facing forward. Keep the knees in line with the respective feet and hip. Begin with the left arm straight up overhead and the dumbbell above the shoulder. slowly bend the knees and lower the hips towards the ground then return to the start position. The shoulders should remain above the hips and hand holding the dumbbell above the shoulder throughout the entire movement. Make sure the knee of the front leg stays behind the toes. Complete 20 repetitions and then perform the exercise on the other side holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand.
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
The wide-grip lat pulldown targets the upper back muscles. It's an effective exercise that helps create that nice V-shape in the back which is nice for women as having the appearance of wider shoulders makes the waist look smaller. To perform this exercise sit with the torso in an upright posture and maintain neutral curves in the spine. Grab the bar with the hands wider than shoulder width apart with an overhand grip. Engage the core and pull the bar towards the upper chest squeezing the shoulder blades together at the bottom of the movement. Control the movement back to the start position. Avoid shrugging the shoulders or rounding the spine during this exercise. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions.
Dumbbell Squat to Lateral Raise
This compound exercise combines a squat with a shoulder lateral raise. Many muscles will be used during this exercise including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, core and shoulders. Start with the feet approximately shoulder-width apart with the dumbbell by the sides. Keeping the chest up perform a squat. sitting back on the heels, until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Press through the heels to return to the standing position. From here you will perform the lateral raise by lifting the arms out straight to the sides until the hands and shoulder level. Slowly lower the weights back to the sides and continue repeating the entire movement combination for a total of 15 to 20 repetitions. Keep the elbows slightly bent during the lateral raise.
Stability Ball Chest Press
Performing the chest press on a stability ball adds instability which recruits the core and glutes to help maintain balance during this exercise. Begin sitting on a stability ball. Slowly walk the feet forward until you assume a bridge position with the head and shoulders on the stability ball. The width of the feet position can vary depending on the amount of balance required. The wider the feet the easier it will be to balance. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with elbows wide and dumbbells by the shoulders. Keeping the core engaged and hips lifted, press the dumbbells straight up in front of the chest until the hands are over the shoulders. Arms are extended but elbows remain soft. Slowly reverse the movement returning to the starting position. Try to keep the rest of the body stable during the exercise and perform 15 to 20 repetitions.
Kristy Lee Wilson is a former Cirque du Soleil performer, Sharecare fitness expert, bestselling author, international speaker, certified personal trainer and youth fitness specialist. An elite athlete from a very young age, Wilson's ultimate mission is to motivate, inspire and educate as many people as possible to live life to their fullest potential.