Exercises All Women Should Do
As a woman, it’s important to cover the right bases with your fitness training. There are plenty of fitness hacks to help women look and feel good, but as well as training parts you can see, it’s important to train the parts you can’t. Here are some of the best exercises for women to master.
Transverse abdominal activation - lying toes tap
Transverse abdominal strength is important for women to help to protect the lower back. It also flattens the stomach, and perhaps most importantly protects the pelvic floor. The TA, as it’s known, is like a corset, in a deeper layer of muscle underneath the muscles you usually see. If you don’t train this area, you can jeopardize your pelvic floor muscle through the over-activation of your rectal abdominals. A weaker pelvic floor can cause bladder control issues during high impact exercise, pregnancy, or heavy lifting. If your pelvic floor needs more help, you can try a pelvic floor exercises app to help.
How to do it
- Lie on your back. Tilt your pelvis back to the ground to get a neutral spine position.
- Lift your legs to a 90-degree angle. Slowly reach your leg out to tap your toe on the ground.
- Bring your leg back, and alternate for 10 reps.
Glute activation - booty banded clams
Glute activation is a must for keeping a strong posterior chain, and for building round, right behind. Lots of people do endless reps of squats without the glutes actually working. This can lead to hip imbalance, tightness in the hip flexors and quads, and lower back and knee injuries. Strong glutes not only look good, but also improve your overall performance for running, cycling, and swimming.
How to do it
- Put a resistance band around your knee, just above knee height. Lay on your side, and place your hand on the top corner of your glute.
- Bend your knees into a fetal position. Keep your feet together and slowly open your knees apart, starting with a contraction of the glute. Go as far as you can feel the glute reach its full activation before you start to engage other muscles.
- Lower your knee back down, and repeat 10 times on each leg.
The plank is a basic way to stimulate full core control, but a very effective one. There are many variations of the plank, depending on your ability and the area that you want to target. A strong core is essential for your day to day life, so include one in your daily routine. You could do 5 30-60 second holds while watching TV, or when you first get out of bed.
- Lie face down to the floor. Rest on your elbows, in 90-degree angle with elbow to shoulder joints.
- Lift your hips off the floor so you’re supporting yourself on your knees and elbows. Make sure you are drawing in your lower abdominals and your hips aren’t sinking, as this causes pressure through the lumber spine.
- When you’re comfortable, lift your knees off the ground, so you are parallel to the floor on your elbows and toes. Keep your core and glutes activated.
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