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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 August 29, 2019

                      How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

                      How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

                      Having a weight loss plateau is perfectly normal. Just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating though, and it feels like all your hard work has ground to a halt.

                      Instead of seeing a weight loss plateau as a roadblock, you need to see them as speed bumps that may get in the way from time to time but, can still be navigated.

                      This article will look at what causes these plateaus and how you can get through them the next time they may strike.

                      What Is a Weight Loss Plateau?

                      The basics of this plateau are that weight loss or fat loss has stalled after a period of progression. But what is the real reason this has happened and why does it occur when it does? Weight loss, or fat loss, has seemed to stall and the first thing to do is to recognize if this is a plateau.

                      If you weigh yourself daily, you know that there are fluctuations that occur each day. If you are weighing yourself every day, you want to at least be consistent with it. Your true weight will be first thing in the morning after you’ve gone to the bathroom. You want to weigh yourself at the same time and also make sure your scale is calibrated properly. Even a floor that is not perfectly even can give you an inaccurate reading.

                      It’s important to do this first thing as your weight can fluctuate just over one day, with people often seeing variations of 3-5 pounds. Since there are these daily changes, you want to take a different approach and look at your weekly averages week after week. This will give you a better snapshot at your progress and if you’ve actually reached a plateau or not.

                      True weight loss happens over weeks and months and that’s why tracking is important. You should see a gradual decrease over this longer time period. Healthy and sustained weight loss will be around 1-2 pounds per week. It’s a linear path that will have small up and down spikes over the time period but should still move progressively downward.

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                      When you see that the weight isn’t gradually dropping the way it had been over the past weeks and months, that can be your sign you’ve hit a true weight loss plateau.

                      The Issues with the Scale

                      A scale gives you some data but doesn’t always show the whole picture. You will not get an idea of true body composition as a regular scale will not show a balance between lean muscle and body fat. You may have lost 5 pounds of body fat, but gained 5 pounds of muscle and the number on the scale would stay the same. That body compositional change, however, would show some great physical results.

                      The body fat loss would help you appear leaner and the lean muscle gain would also enhance your overall appearance. You could look significantly different while the number on the scale hasn’t changed.

                      The scale is also not going to reveal issues surrounding water retention or bloating along with the hormonal fluctuations that can cause these issues. You can still check the scale, but a better indicator of weight loss will be with a tape measure.

                      When you’ve lost body fat, you will notice your clothes fitting differently and tracking your body part measurements can be a great way to monitor results. If you are going the tape measure route, measure these main areas:

                      • Hips
                      • Right thigh – at the midrange point
                      • Waist – just below your ribcage and above your belly button
                      • Chest – measure under the armpits
                      • Right bicep – unflexed
                      • Right calf
                      • Neck

                      You can take measurements on your right and left appendages, but this is a good base of measurement to track progress.

                      Why Is Your Weight Not Going Down?

                      This may be because you are doing too much and not getting enough calories at the same time. If you are overdoing it in the gym, it can be like taking a few steps backward. Your workouts shouldn’t be over 75 minutes (30-40 may be all you need) and you want some rest days throughout the week. If you’re working out every day and exhausting yourself, your body will go into that self-preservation mode, raising stress hormones and, again, making weight loss difficult.

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                      If you are involved in an adequate exercise program (3-4 days per week) and going for a reasonable amount of time, you may need to add in a little more physical activity if you’ve reached a weight loss plateau. This doesn’t have to be overly intense but some extra cardio may help. This can be another 5-10 minutes on to what you are normally doing, or one or two 20-minute walks added on to your weekly amount.

                      You also want to make sure you’re eating enough and getting into a bit of a calorie deficit[1] if weight loss has stalled. You need not count every calorie but it’s a good idea to take a few days to track your nutrition intake so you at least have a good idea where you’re at.

                      Many people do not understand how many calories they are taking in each day. Calorie counting is far from a perfect science but to get a rough ballpark figure, the average woman needs around 2000 calories a day to maintain. An average man will need around 2500 calories.[2] There are many factors that can alter this requirement but this is a good starting point.

                      If you’re not losing weight, you’ll want to reduce that amount by around 300 calories each day and see how this is going after a week or so. If there has been no change, you might need to drop another 200 calories. You don’t want this to go lower as not enough calories can have a negative effect on your metabolism and will lead to stalled weight loss.

                      Is 1000 Calories a Day Too Little?

                      In a word? Yes. Your body needs more than that just to carry out its basic functions of living – and that’s not including you getting up and moving around. Even if you were just to lie on the couch all day, your body will need at least 1200 to 1400 calories just to exist. If you are not giving your body sufficient calories, it goes into panic mode. Your metabolism will drop as your body needs to hold on to every precious calorie to sustain itself. When this happens you can kiss weight loss goodbye. The other problem is eventually you will snap because you are so hungry and will eat everything in sight.

                      When you flood calories into a body with a slowed metabolism, you can guess what they end up being stored as.

                      Keeping yourself fed with high-quality, and nutritious foods will allow your body to run optimally and provide you with energy to be active, burn body fat, and bust through those weight loss plateaus.

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                      What to Do When You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

                      This is where it’s important to take a step back and have a look at what’s been going on in your life. Tracking your info can be helpful because it gives you some data to observe. You don’t have to be obsessive about it but recording your workouts, sleep, stress levels and understanding your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and basic metabolic rate (BMR) will help give you an indicator where the problems may arise.

                      If you’ve noticed you’ve been overly stressed with work and life lately, this may be the culprit. When your body experiences stress, it elevates stress hormones such as cortisol. When cortisol is constantly elevated, it can slow weight loss to a crawl. Stress hormones are released in the body as a way to preserve itself. The body will be more likely to hold on to body fat as it believes some sort of trauma is happening and it needs all the backup fuel it can get. At this point, your body is not interested in burning body fat, or building muscle – it’s interested in preserving things.

                      Higher stress may also lead to a lack of sleep which causes the same issues, and when you add these two together, they compound their negative effects. If you’re seeing this to be the case, it means you will have to slow things down a bit. Make getting extra sleep a priority and you may have to back off the workouts for a bit. Even better, taking some time off from the gym can be a great way to let your whole body, central nervous system, and immune system recover.

                      This could be a good time to focus on relaxing, meditation, or yoga. You also want to make sure you’re keeping your diet as clean as possible as eating things like refined sugar and carbs when stressed can easily lead to weight gain.

                      Listen to your body and give it a breather when needed. Doing this will allow it to come back stronger than before.

                      How to Get Past a Weight Loss Plateau

                      When you hit a plateau, it’s a sign that your body is becoming complacent. There is no longer enough stimulation to warrant a response from your body. If you remember back to high school biology, you’ll recall homeostasis. This is a state of balance and it’s the preferred state your body wants to be in. Your body is all about self-preservation and keeping things stable. This is an evolutionary response to conserve energy for those times when it may be more needed.

                      Your body will learn to do things as efficiently as possible and therefore, you will progress with weight loss, and muscle and strength gains for a while – but then it hits a wall. Your body has figured out how to efficiently manage what you’re throwing at it, and this means it’s time to switch things up.

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                      For workouts, you want to always keep your body guessing. The best workout is the one you haven’t done yet. Your body needs an ever-changing stimulus in order to get more results. The good news is this doesn’t have to be a drastic overhaul. If you’re exercising, you just want to make changes to your routine, exercise order, duration, or repetitions. At the very least, you want to do at least what you did last workout – plus a little more. If you ran for 30 minutes, go for 32 next time. If you did 10 repetitions of an exercise, go for 11 or 12.

                      You can change the order of the exercises you do, perform some cardio before strength training, add in some high-intensity intervals, or shorten your rest periods between sets. The main thing is to give a bit of a shock to your body in order for it to change.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Weight loss plateaus will happen, it’s just all about being prepared for when they strike. Getting an understanding of why they happen is important to progress past them. What’s also important is realizing how your body works, and what it needs in order for it to respond favourably to exercise and diet.

                      A weight-loss plateau can be overcome with changes in activity, addressing lifestyle issues, and keeping the diet as clean as possible. Recognizing when stress has overwhelmed you, sleep is being neglected, and you need a break will go a long way in helping combat weight loss plateaus.

                      You also need to be aware of consuming enough calories per day and the issues that come from not nourishing your body properly. Healthy weight loss is all about combining exercise, diet, rest, recovery, and an overall holistic approach for it to happen.

                      More About Healthy Weight Loss

                      Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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