Best Exercises for Women

10 Best Exercises for Women

It’s time to say goodbye to those sassy swimsuits and hello to sexy sweaters and long pants! That sounds a bit sad, but what it really means is now is the time to keep up with all the hard work you’ve put in over the summer.

You can rock a hot winter body underneath your sweater-weather wear by keeping up with your daily workouts, sticking to a clean diet, and making the most out of your time by performing the best exercises that keep you strong, toned and ready for the coming season.

Every trainer has his or her own style and approach for working out their clients. Some trainers focus on cardio while others focus on strength, for example. My approach is well rounded in that I’m looking to give my clients elements of strength, cardio, flexibility, balance and functional core movements to accomplish their fitness goals.

Here is my list of Top 10 exercises that I believe are the best for accomplishing a wide range of goals simultaneously.

Not only will these exercises tone, sculpt and develop lean muscles, they will also train the body to achieve a more-functional range of movements, core strength, flexibility, balance and muscle strength. I like these exercises because they maximize the muscles being worked and condition the entire body in the least amount of time. It’s a complete way to train for success.

Give these exercises a try and see for yourself why they are classified as the 10 best exercises in my book.

My Top 10 Best Exercises for Women

Workout equipment you’ll need: weights (wt), band, body weight (bw)

Squat, Curl, Press ‘n Twist

Equipment: Wts
Exercise description: Stand tall with hips shoulder distance or wider apart, feet parallel. Hold the weights by your sides. Squat, stand and curl, then press weights over your head while twisting through the core to one side. Repeat exercise, alternating sides.

exercises for women

Why it’s the best: This exercise is a multi-joint and multi-range-of-motion exercise. It incorporates every plane of motion while dynamically strengthening the hips, thighs, glutes, biceps, shoulders and core all in one compact combination!

Step Ups with Side Leg Raise

Equipment: Wts & bw
Exercise description: Place one foot on a step with weights down by sides. Execute the movement by stepping up onto the step and lifting the opposite leg straight out to the side. Perform the desired reps on one leg, and then repeat on the other side. To challenge the shoulders, laterally lift the arms out to the side on the step up.

exercises for women

Why it’s the best: This exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, quads and outer thigh of the lifting leg. It’s a dynamic exercise that challenges multiple muscles simultaneously. The hand weights add an extra challenge for the legs as well as toning for the shoulders. This is an excellent way to accomplish a lot in one exercise!

Plies Slides

Equipment: Wts & bw
Exercise description: Stand tall with legs positioned wider than hip-distance apart, with your feet and knees in a turned-out position. Weights can be placed on hips or rest on shoulders. Bend the knees into a deep plié squat, and then slide one leg to meet the other leg. Repeat the movement by alternating sides.

Why it’s the best: This exercise dynamically challenges the inner thighs, glutes and core. Since it is a dynamic exercise, it also adds an element of cardio. It’s a perfect exercise to strengthen, condition, and tone multiple muscles!

Arm Circles

Equipment: Band & wts
Exercise description: Stand tall with feet hip-distance apart and hand weights in front of hips. With the core engaged, begin to move the arms in a circling pattern not exceeding shoulder height. Repeat the circles in both directions.
exercises for women

Why it’s the best: I love this arm exercise because it challenges ALL angles of the shoulders, biceps, and even the triceps in one move! It is my “go to” exercise when I don’t have a lot of time but want to work out my arms quickly with one exercise.

Upright High-Pull Twist

Equipment: Wts
Exercise description: Stand tall with legs positioned wider than hip-distance apart, feet facing forward. Hold one weight in front of your thigh. Keep knees soft and back straight, hinge forward, reaching the weight down towards the floor with a slight twist of the core. Use the drive and power of the core to stand and high-pull the weight to shoulder height. Rotate the core to the side while pulling the weight up then return to starting position to repeat.

exercises for women

Why it’s the best: This exercise dynamically challenges the upper back, rotators of the shoulder, the spinal rotators, the core and the hips to drive power to the movement. Definitely one of my favorites!

Push Up To Side Plank

Equipment: Bw & wts
Exercise description: Begin in a plank position with shoulders on top of wrists, core engaged and legs extended. Perform one push-up, grab one weight and open up into side plank, raising the weight in a straight line from the supporting arm. Repeat alternating sides.

You can modify the intensity by performing the push-ups on the knees.

Why it’s the best: This exercise challenges the core and upper extremities, and challenges core stabilization as the side plank position is performed.

Triceps Dips

Equipment: Bw
Exercise description: Begin seated on a bench with knees bent at 90 degrees and hands placed close to hips with fingers pointing towards the knees. Lift the hips off of the seat by supporting the weight on the arms. Keeping the back straight, dip the body down as low as you can by bending at the elbows while keeping the shoulders away from the ears and the chest lifted.

Add intensity by lifting one leg to the front to perform the same movement.

exercises for women

Why it’s the best: No one likes jiggly arm flab! Therefore, toning it up is the only option. Dips are a great exercise that targets the entire back of the arm and stretches the chest at the same time. It’s also simple to perform anywhere by using your own body weight.

Lower-Back Extensions

Equipment: Band & wts
Exercise description: Lie supine on a mat with legs extended together and hold one dumbbell over your head. Slowly lift the upper and lower body simultaneously off the floor, extend the arms with the weight straight to create a long line of the body, then return to the start position to repeat.

This exercise can be performed in many variations using body weight, hand weight or bands.

Why it’s the best: The lower back is a part of the core that should always be strong to support the spine, assist in functional movement, and maintain correct postural alignment. Therefore, it is very important to train the core from the front, sides and back to form a sexy back!

Glute Lifts

Equipment: Bw & band & wts
Exercise description: From an all fours position , arms remain extended with shoulders on top of wrists, hips on top of knees, spine extended and core engaged. Place one weight behind the knee and lift the leg to a 90-degree angle. Lift the leg in small, controlled ranges of motion upward leading with the heel. Try not to move any other part of the body but the leg that’s lifting.

Why it’s the best: When you are strapped for time and need a quick lift, this exercise is it! It’s simple, yet challenging, and works not only the glutes, but also the hamstrings, hips, lower back, core and arms if they remain extended and contracted.

Core Combo: Rev Crunches & Bicycles

Equipment: Bw
Exercise description: Rev crunches: Lie supine with knees bent at 90 degrees and hands behind ears with elbows bent and open. Begin to curl the lower hips off the floor two to three inches, hold contracted for a moment, then repeat the movement.
Bicycles: Lie supine with legs extended upward and hands behind head with elbows wide. Begin to cycle the legs and rotate the torso with one elbow angling towards the opposite leg.

exercises for women

exercises for women
Why it’s the best: This core combo combines movements to work the transverse abdominals (lower abdominals) as well as the obliques (waistline) — two areas that can be problem spots.

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Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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