Did you know these are the top three exercises for women?

When it comes to finding what fits for you with exercising and not causing injury to your body the internet can burden us with too much information. Piper to the rescue! Here are my top 3 basic exercises to introduce and begin building on.

Anytime you look up what the top exercises are online, you are bound to get a plethora of results. But if you notice, there are 3 that will almost always come up:  

  1. Plank
  2. Bridges
  3. Squats

In my humble opinion, these 3 exercises are a MUST for every woman.  And the best part of these 3 exercises is that you can do them anywhere, they work core, and most of the body.  You can also add free weights of your choice to any of these exercises to intensify the moves.  

PLANKS – Planks target the stomach, the trapezius and rhomboid muscles (upper back muscles) in your back, as well as the pectorals (chest) and serratus anterior (the serrated-shaped muscles that wrap around the side of your chest and shoulder.  So, as you can see that this one move targets so much of our body.  But the best part, you can do this from your forearm or from a straight arm push up position; AND the stronger you get doing the basic plank, you can now add an exercise band to the legs and do leg lifts, step a leg out to the side, or arm exercises by doing rows or take the plank from forearm to straight arm. You can also take it to a side plank, on one arm to target the obliques.  And once again, you can add a band for the top arm to pull work the chest or grab a small weight and do various arm exercises from that side plank.  This move can also help improve some back issues because it strengthens the core.

BRIDGES – The glutes best friend!  Besides glutes, bridges help hip mobility and can help strengthen the lower back.  It is also great for it is great for anyone who has knee or hip concerns as well as the pelvic floor.  As we women age, our pelvic floor tends to weaken due to various reasons, (childbirth, overtraining, etc.). By starting with performing a small, ‘baby bridge’ as I like to call it, you can help target the pelvic floor and the lower abdominal muscles.  A ‘baby bridge’ is really lifting only the tailbone to the low back off the floor.  Do that for a series of 5-10 reps and then begin to perform the full bridge lifting hips high and away.  By doing this, you can help create a small stretch in the front hip flexor area.  From holding a high bridge, you can add a chest fly, overhead triceps, just to name a few.  And for the legs, also from holding a bridge, you can do leg lifts, calf raises, as well as leg circles.

SQUATS – The best or worst thing you can do when done with proper form, this move is another must do move because the primary muscles involved include the gluteus maximus, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Your abdominal muscles, calves, hamstrings, and lower back also get a good workout.  We do squats everyday – when we sit on the couch, the toilet, etc.  When I work with clients, I try to get them to have the concept that a squat is an ab exercise with legs. In my opinion, if you get that little ‘baby bridge’ engaged and then think of the hips pushing back, allowing the thighs to help bend the knees while trying to keep the chest more upright, you will get a full leg work out.  And once again, you can add weights for biceps, chest fly, overhead standing triceps, etc.  

So, there you have it.  A short and sweet article showing 3 simple exercises that can take on the whole body and can be efficient at any level of intensity.  As with any exercise, if you have any type of limitation, please make sure you have been cleared by your doctor to perform these or any movements.  

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Most everyone calls me Piper and I’m a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and aqua aerobics instructor. For the past 25 plus years I have studied all forms of dance from ballet to Middle Eastern as well as fusion belly dance. But it was in 2011 that I decided to turn my focus to fitness.
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