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10 Core Exercises For Women

10 Core Exercises For Women

You can’t make excuses when it comes to your fitness, right? No matter how busy you are, you need to be in good shape and health. It’s obviously challenging to find those precious few minutes for a workout, but you need to find time for exercise and add it to your daily checklist. Creative exercise regimens can be a great help when you just want to skip your trip to the gym. People from different walks of life are stuck in this dilemma, especially working women who frequently have to ask the question “When do I workout? I simply just don’t have the time.” Believe me, you do!

All of us desire a lean, hourglass shape, and fitting exercise into our daily routine seems like an impossible task. But there are some basic strategies you can use to get your muscles working and your heart pumping to achieve a well-toned body. We’ve created a list of the top 10 core exercises for women to fit in their daily routine to make the most of their exercise time. No matter how busy you are with your everyday chores, take out some time, work that body, and get some booty.

1. Side Plank

Side-Plank

    The side plank is a yoga exercise that strengthens the arms, abdomen, and legs. The overall sense of balance is improved. It is a variation of the normal plank exercise where you build strength by assuming the position of a pushup.

    How To Do It: Lie on your right side with your legs absolutely straight. Lift yourself up with your right forearm, making a diagonal shape. Your left hand should be resting on your hip. Brace your abs and try to hold for 60 seconds. If it’s not possible for you to make it to 60 seconds, hold for 10 to 15 seconds and rest for 5; make sure your hips and knees stay off the floor. Repeat on the other side.

    2. Pushups

    Push Up

      Pushups are the best exercise for women. Add pushups to your regular workout to strengthen your chest. Your shoulders, triceps, and glutes will get into tremendous shape with a perfectly toned and tightened core. Give yourselves an extra boost by working all those muscles at once, torching tons of calories. You can’t ask for more in a single exercise, right?

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      How To Do It: Position your hands just outside your shoulders, directly below the shoulder line. Keep your feet together and make sure your body is in a perfect line from heels to head, as if a broomstick along your body would touch your head, back, buttocks, and heels. Core and glutes should be tightly engaged. Lower yourself enough to at least get your elbows to 90 degrees and touch your chest to the ground if possible. Raise your body back up and straighten your arms (without locking your elbows).

      3. Step-ups

      Step up

        The step-up is a very simple compound exercise that works several lower-body muscles. It also has many variations that you can include in your daily exercises to stay fit while keeping your routine fresh.

        How To Do It: Stand in front of a step, bench, or stair with straight posture (back, legs, arms, and feet absolutely straight). Your feet should be hip-distance apart and you should have weights in both hands with your palms facing your body. Step onto the center of the step with one foot. Bend your knee slowly and step back down. Remember to switch sides.

        4. Bridges

        Glute-bridge

          The bridge exercise, also known as the hip raise, is an excellent workout to give strength to the bottom, backs of the legs, and the core. People with back injuries can perform this exercise to align their back muscles.

          How To Do It: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your body back to the floor.

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          5. Plank with Arm Raise

          Side Plank with arm raise

            The plank with arm raise is a multifunctional exercise. It improves shoulder and spine stability, along with strengthening the core and lower back regions. The rolling movement of the body as you switch arms shifts the load to your core, ultimately making you work hard to maintain your balance and impacting your posture immediately.

            How To Do It: Get into a pushup position. Slowly raise one arm up and turn your body to face the side with your feet stacked. Hold this position for a few sections, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat the movement on the other side.

            6. Chair dips

            chair dips

              Chair dips are considered to be one of the best workouts for your triceps, as the entire weight of your body is being held by your triceps as you move through a complete range of motion. This triceps exercise can be done anywhere you can find a sturdy chair.

              How To Do It: Face away from the chair. Hold onto the edge with both hands, knuckles pointing right in front. Get yourself into a sliding posture with your bottom off the seat and arms absolutely straight, but making sure your body is close to the chair. Lower your body for two counts slowly while bending your elbows (which should be pointing directly behind you). Straighten your arms for a count of two. They should be supporting all your weight. Do 10 reps per set. During the last set, hold at the bottom for eight counts and pulse up and down slightly before straightening your arms.

              7. Lunges

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              Capture

                Lunges are a great exercise for the development of the thighs and hips as they target the hip extensors and the knee extensors. There are two main kinds of lunges — the walking lunge and the stationary lunge. Both variations involve the same muscles but the involvement of those muscles is very different.

                How To Do It: Stand tall, pull your shoulders back and place your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body slowly. Try and bend your front knee to 90 degrees. It’ll be difficult in the beginning, but you will make progress. Make sure your back knee is slightly above the floor and is not rested. Push yourself up and repeat.

                8. Squats

                squats

                  The squat is the king of all exercises. It is a full-body compound exercise and more muscles work in this movement than in any other exercise, making it the most effective exercise to gain overall strength. You can do squats anywhere because you aren’t using anything else except your own body weight. It is primarily used for lower body, thigh, and buttock training. Apart from overall strength, squatting also improves digestion, circulation, and posture.

                  How To Do It: Stand tall and straight with your feet hip-width apart and arms down by your sides. Lower your body back as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Try and push your weight onto your heels. Your arms will start to rise in front of you for balance as you are lowering down. Your spine should be neutral at all times and there shouldn’t be any time during the motion when your knees go over your toes. Keep your lower body parallel with the floor and your chest should be lifted and not rounded. Lift back up, with control, to the starting position.

                  9. Planks

                  Plank-exercise

                    The appearance of your abs could be improved by a well-performed plank workout. It’s the best thing you can do to shape your abs perfectly. The most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that generally people do planks wrong and achieve nothing even after several months of working out. The key to success is to reach a striking position. If you have any spinal or shoulder injuries, avoid attempting this without medical advice.

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                    How To Do It: Get into a pushup position and bend your elbows. Rest your weight onto your forearms and not your hands or wrists. Make sure your body is forming a straight line from the shoulders to the ankles. Start engaging your core by sucking your belly button into your spine. Hold this position for as long as you can.

                    10. Arm Circles

                    Arm Circles

                      This exercise seems extremely simple but is actually a very deceptive and difficult move. It does not add bulk to the muscles involved, yet increases your overall endurance. This movement requires no equipment and is considered to be one of the most effective training movements.

                      How To Do It: Extend your arms out while standing upright. Keep your arms parallel to the floor. Start making circles of about one foot in diameter with each arm. Initially, keep it a bit slow. As you pick up the pace, remember to breathe slowly. Continue the movement for about 10 seconds then reverse it to the opposite direction.

                      Featured photo credit: Earl McGehee / Stretching via flickr.com

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                      Published on July 13, 2018

                      13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

                      13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

                      Practicing yoga during pregnancy is a great way to nurture you and your baby. It can also help you cope and prepare both your mind and body for any pregnancy demands and challenges that you may face especially during the third trimester.

                      Yoga during pregnancy helps you to create space for both your baby and your internal organs. However, make sure that you only do what feels right and works, avoid muscle strains and extreme pressure exercises.

                      There are plenty of yoga techniques that can help you to prepare for labor in the 3rd trimester. Before you try out yoga, make sure you talk to your doctor. This way, you may know the do and don’t during this stage. The following are some of the common yoga exercises to try out during the third trimester.

                      1. Birth prep exercises

                      This mainly entails simple exercise designed to reduce pains and aches and can as well as help position the baby in a good pelvic alignment. Include this technique in your workout rest brakes, warm-up, and as part of your daily poses.

                      Here’s an example of it:

                      2. Cat cow

                        This is a great pose for lengthening your spine and strengthen your core muscles.[1]

                        This pose is a great technique for all pregnancy stages. It will help strengthen your belly as the pregnancy continues to grow.

                        This asana also relieves the back and allow a better circulation of spinal fluids and blood.

                        Practice belly breathing when performing this pose. It will aid in calming your mind and reducing morning sickness.

                        It should be done about 5 times for best results.

                        3. Warrior II

                          This technique is great for strengthening your core and legs and as well as lengthen your spine. Even though this technique is a little bit challenging, it is said to help alleviate backaches during pregnancy.

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                          4. Bridge pose

                            This pose is convenient if you want to open up your hips and strengthen your glutes, core, and hamstrings.[2] Also, it can be practiced in all the trimesters.

                            Begin on the side and roll to the back as you move your body into a bridge pose. This helps avoid stressing your rectus abdominals.

                            Avoid this exercise if you feel uncomfortable on your back.

                            5. Cobblers pose (Baddha Konasana)

                              This technique is said to improve the health of the reproductive system.[3] During pregnancy, it aids in opening up the pelvis, therefore ensuring an easy and fast labor.

                              It is also said to calm the mind and improve blood circulation. This yoga practice can be performed as follows:

                              • Sit on a mat and stretch out your legs.
                              • Fold your knees and bring your feet at the center.
                              • Then straighten your back.
                              • Using your palms hold your feet for a few seconds.
                              • Release.
                              • Repeat this about 4 times.

                              6. Warrior I

                                This technique helps you explore your upper body. It helps to open up your chest and strengthen your legs. This technique helps restore the health of your spine and help make space for the growing uterus.

                                Also, it helps your mind relax and stay focused and maintain balance. It can be performed as follows;

                                • Place your feet apart in a hip-width position.
                                • Pivot on the left foot.
                                • Make your right foot to face forward.
                                • Lower the pelvis, then assume a lunge.
                                • Look forward and lift your arms above your head.
                                • Hold that position as long as possible.
                                • Release the pose.
                                • Repeat the process with the left foot forward.

                                7. Corpse pose

                                  This technique aims at relaxing your body and mind.[4] It boosts your energy instantly and hence it’s convenient for battling any fatigue during the pregnancy.

                                  Also, it helps in fighting off any side effects of pregnancy such as pain, morning sickness, and nausea. This pose can be performed as follows:

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                                  • Lie on your back.
                                  • Let your palms rest beside you while facing upwards.
                                  • Close your eyes and then relax- your arms should be alongside your body.
                                  • Breathe.

                                  8. Spiraling movement

                                  This entails moving your pelvis in circular motions and moving your hips. These movements help to massage down the baby’s head onto the cervix.

                                  Also, these movements helps you keep your pelvis mobile and relaxed while loosening your muscles and ligaments.

                                  You may consider using a fitness ball to help in the movements.

                                  9. Child’s pose

                                    This is a resting pose. It helps to focus on your breath, breathe more deeply, and also it’s a good position to rest between labor contractions.[5]

                                    This is a great position that will help you find peace and promote a healthy and a happy pregnancy. It’s safe for all trimesters.

                                    Relax and move your knees apart, then rest your head on your fists, hand, or on the floor. You should avoid this position if your pubic symphysis is sore or open. Relax in this position, eyes closed.

                                    10. Chanting

                                    Making your own sounds during pregnancy and birth is a powerful way to regulate your breathing, it enables you to focus and relax as you deal with the pain that is associated with pregnancy and labor.

                                    Practicing voice sounds can help you open up and have an easier and more comfortable labor. You can do this as follows:

                                    • Sit comfortably.
                                    • Close your eyes.
                                    • Placing your index fingers on the lobes of your ears, take a deep breath.
                                    • Exhaling slowly, make gentle humming sounds.
                                    • Do this 5 to 10 times.
                                    • You can also do this while lying down with arms by the side of the body.

                                    11. Standing hip rotations

                                      This moves will help strengthen your pelvis as well as relax.[6] You can do this as follows:

                                      • Stand with feet wide apart but comfortable.
                                      • Slightly bend your knees.
                                      • Place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips.
                                      • Try to keep your upper body still.
                                      • Focus on rotating the hips and the belly.
                                      • Inhale while moving your hips forward and exhale while moving them backward.
                                      • Do this as many times as you wish.

                                      12. Tree pose

                                        This is a balancing technique. It helps strengthening your legs and core. It also improves posture and alleviates back pain. How to perform this pose:

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                                        • Feet on the ground, shift your weight forward and backward until you gain balance.
                                        • Shift your weight to one foot.
                                        • You can also lift one of your foot to your ankle to gain balance.
                                        • Bring the foot higher to your inner thigh.
                                        • Put your hands in a prayer position.
                                        • Hold this for 5 breaths.
                                        • You can also raise the arms above your head.
                                        • Repeat with the other leg.

                                        This technique is safe for all stages during pregnancy.

                                        13. Meditation

                                        Over the years, meditation has been used to manage a lot of conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, and much more.

                                        During the last trimester of your pregnancy, meditation can help to move gracefully as you approach labor. It will help you ascertain a more peaceful state of mind by avoiding stress and anxiety especially if you are giving birth for the first time.

                                        Develop the habit of practicing meditation on a daily basis.

                                        Guidelines for pregnancy yoga

                                        There are some poses, however, that you should avoid while pregnant. They include plank cross, locust pose, boat pose, plow pose, and much more. Consult with your doctor on the best exercises.

                                        Here’re some guidelines you need to know before practicing yoga:

                                        1. Do what feels right.

                                        Starting yoga especially in your last trimester can be challenging while it’s really important in preparing both your mind and body for labor and pregnancy-related demands.

                                        To avoid accidents or extreme positions, you should practice yoga poses with the guidance of a trained tutor.

                                        When choosing which yoga poses to perform, listen to your body and do what you feel comfortable doing. Since all women do not have the same challenges and experience during pregnancy, avoid doing poses that your friends are doing if they don’t feel right to you.

                                        2. Do fewer poses.

                                        In case you are into physical exercises, it’s important to soften your training to avoid harming both your body and the health of the baby. Also, avoid long hours of training. You can talk to your doctor to guide you on the most convenient techniques to practice.

                                        During pregnancy, your body tends to have higher temperatures and it may feel hotter than usual. It’s recommended to avoid practicing yoga in a heated environment. Perform these techniques in a suitable environment with fresh and adequate ventilation.

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                                        3. Don’t get distracted.

                                        Reduce distraction while practicing yoga. For instance, a telephone can interfere with proper meditation.

                                        4. Stay comfortable.

                                        Wear loose and comfortable clothing.

                                        5. Do not eat before yoga.

                                        Practice yoga on empty stomach. Most techniques are effective in the morning.

                                        6. Always warm up for a few minutes.

                                        You can walk around, loosen your joints, move your limbs and warm up your muscles.

                                        7. Stay hydrated.

                                        Make sure that you are well hydrated especially when practicing challenging and sweaty poses. Dehydration, especially during the last trimester of your pregnancy can have severe sequences such as false early labor or preterm labor.

                                        Yoga techniques are the best kinds of workouts to try out during pregnancy. Especially if practiced together with mild exercises such as walking, it can help the expectant mother deal with both emotional and physical changes with ease.

                                        Also, it will help mothers feel relaxed and stay in shape during the last trimester of pregnancy.

                                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                        Reference

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