I didn't read the article, sorry, but I can tell you the best all-body strength workout: targeting the biggest muscles with the fewest exercises.
The big four: push ups, pull ups, squats, and deadlifts. All of these some combination of similar barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight varieties: bench pressing, back rows, weighted squats, and well you need weights for deadlifts.
You don't need to waste your time on calf raises or bicep curls or shoulder presses - any person can develop the necessary functional fitness with just those four exercises. And yes, women can do all the heavy lifting men can do, and get awesome results. Those four target every muscle in the body, and do so in such a way as to activate both large and small in compound motions, i.e. more than one joint and more than two muscles are in activity at once. Higher calorie burn as well.
Thanks for all the advice, Slysam...I have a Nook and I am going to see what's available on it so I can bring it to the gym with me. As I explained to Coach Nancy, I am not actually interested in achieving the 6 pack, just an all-around toned body. My stomach is quite bulgy, lol, so getting it flatter is a priority, but 6 packs aren't. Although the article was about 6 packs, it highly recommended the all-over weight training for best results, so that is why I mentioned it.
Thanks,Coach Nancy. I edited my original post to say that my main focus wasn't actually getting the 6 pack abs, I am mainly interested in an all-body strength training to get lean and strong. I will never have 6 packs, I am nearly 40, have had 3 kids, and have scar tissue from appendicitis. But I would be THRILLED just to have a flatter, toned stomach, along with arms that are lean and don't flap, and legs that are toned instead of flabby, lol.
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Some good books are: Women's Health Big Book of Exercises, New Rules of Lifting for Women, New Rules of Lifting for Abs, New Rules of Lifting, Female Body Breakthrough (I like the workouts and warmup though the writing is a little off). Oh about the Women's Health book, they also have one for men "Men's Health Big Book of Exercises". The exercises are pretty much the same in both (I compared), but the women's version has a female model and a prenatal rotation and a "bikini body" rotation. Then men's a male model and probably a different rotation than the womens. So either version would work for either gender, unless someone wants (now or in the future) a 9 month prenatal strength training routine.
I had good success with an e-book routine, but I hesitate to suggest it for a few reasons (cost, some of the exercises, and emphasis on aesthetics). But I did get stronger, lost inches and my balance improved a lot while doing it and felt it was solid. It is called Venus Index, in case you are curious. But the above books are cheaper and packed with good programs and information.
If you like videos/dvds Cathe is excellent for strength work and some types of cardio. It would be hard to follow a dvd unless lifting at home so a book or ebook might be your best bet.
ETA: Nancy is spot on about the 6-pack abs thing--that is in large part about being lean enough in the midriff to expose the abs. I have known two women who were very pear shaped but naturally lean in the belly area who could see a six pack at a slightly higher body fat percentage, but for many women it means a very low body fat level. But we cannot choose our fat storage patterns so it may or may not be a realistic goal for you.
Edited by: SLYSAM at: 11/27/2011 (20:09)
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The key to having a 6 pack is low body fat and a genetic predisposition for developing muscle definition. For women this means around 14% body fat which may not be easily achieved.
For me the goal is not so much have the look of being fit, but being able to participate in the activity to do all that I want to do regardless of my muscle definition. That doesn't mean weight training is not an essential element in our healthy lifestyle journey--it is.
I read an interesting article http://health.yahoo.net/articles/fitness/h ow-to-get-six-pack-abs it was actually about how to get 6 pack abs, (although that is not my main focus, I just want to get lean and strong) and it was from Men's Health magazine, but I thought it had some good points and that women would benefit from it as well. I'm not positive since I'm not an expert in exercise, but I would like to try an all-over strength training program 3 to 4 days a week, in addition to cardio 3 to 4 days a week.
To that end I am going to join Planet Fitness so I can use their free weights. I was just wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction so that I do exercises that will work all the muscles in my body.
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