Fitness Articles

3 Exercises Every Woman Should Do

Get Results in as Little as 3 Weeks!

Ever wonder if the exercises you're doing are going to give you the best results for your body? Well look no further! These three moves offer body benefits for every woman—and they don't require a gym membership or fancy equipment. Make them part of your fitness routine on a regular basis and you'll be looking and feeling better in no time.

#1 Exercise for Women: Squats

Why they're effective: Squats are the go-to move for everyone who strength trains because they engage more muscles than any other move. Squats work the thighs (quads, hamstrings, outer thighs), glutes, and core (abdominals and the muscles that support your spine). You don't need any equipment to perform squats, but always have the option of adding dumbbells and/or a stability ball to add challenge. Perform 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions.



Starting Position
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and your toes slightly turned outward.

INHALE: With your abs pulled in tight and your weight in your heels, slowly lower by bending at the knees and slightly from the hips. Keep your back as upright as possible (don't lean forward from the waist).  EXHALE: Straighten legs and come up to the starting position to complete one rep.

Special Instructions
Make sure your knees don’t cross the plane of your toes. Try to lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor. If you have difficulty performing this exercise you can also use a chair or wall to help with balance and the movement until you build sufficient strength.

#2 Exercise for Women: One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
Why they're effective: Did you know that the easiest way to look longer and leaner is to improve your posture? Rounded shoulders are common among women when the weight of the breasts pulls the shoulders forward and upper back muscles are weak. Most people only train what they consider to be a "problem" or what they can see in the mirror (muscles on the front of the body. But strengthening your back muscles, particularly the lats (which give your back its "V" shape), can help improve posture. This exercise also targets several other muscles at once: the biceps, shoulders, and other back muscles (traps and rhomboids), which will help improve your overall upper body strength. Aim for 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions.

Starting Position

Grasp one dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing the body.  Step forward with your left leg as if you were going to lunge.  Bend the left knee and straighten your right leg back.  Rest your left elbow your forward (left) leg. Try to create a flat back. Keep upper body steady with the abs pulled in tight.

INHALE: With the right palm facing the body, "row" the dumbbell up as high as possible (towards the armpit) as the elbow points backwards.  EXHALE: Slowly lower dumbbell back down until arm is straight, but elbow does not lock, to complete one rep. Finish one set and switch sides. 

Special Instructions
Keep your spine in a neutral position. While lifting focus on the muscles in the back, visualizing your shoulder blade moving towards the spine, and coming back out as you release the weight down.

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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • I have back problems so crunches of any kind are out for me. If I do squats they would have to be demi-squats so I don't put any strain on my lower back. - 11/30/2015 10:32:48 AM
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  • These are all good! - 9/13/2013 5:47:09 AM
  • I thought they were going to start with the Kegal! These look great too! Thanks - 9/3/2013 11:41:36 PM
  • Good article I will definitely have to try these. - 8/2/2013 11:24:59 AM
  • I have a lot of problems with my posture and I was just thinking that I need to find exercise to build my back muscles. So I was very happy to read this article and see that one-arm rows are exactly what I need to include in my routine. - 4/25/2013 2:32:28 PM
    I can see fitting in the squats throughout the day, as they fit well with increasing my NEAT (non exercise activity themogenesis. I LOVE the idea of burning more calories when I'm sleeping, sitting, watching TV etc! I can't see myself doing the bicycle exercise though - too many scary flashbacks to Phy Ed classes. - 4/25/2013 1:10:54 PM
  • Definently solid go to moves! - 4/25/2013 11:06:44 AM
  • I love squats. I prefer static moves to dynamic moves, because my balance is a little off- getting better with these strength moves, though. I like to combine squats with bicept curls. - 4/25/2013 10:16:18 AM
    I will start this next week. I really hope it works for me. - 4/25/2013 9:03:19 AM
  • I do those every other day - 4/25/2013 8:38:53 AM
  • I will be trying all of these tomorrow. - 4/6/2013 4:51:56 PM
  • Umbrella breathing with kegels make all the difference! - 2/24/2013 12:05:28 PM
  • i do 60 or more squats daily, holding a 10 lb dumbbell in each hand and 2 dozen dumbell rows daily or more...and i agree about the kegels should be right up there, not only for good sexual health, but for good bladder control later in life - 2/24/2013 11:39:08 AM
  • I was expecting kegels to be mentioned! Keep those pelvic floors healthy, ladies! - 2/24/2013 9:03:22 AM

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