Ladies, let’s be real, spring break is coming up and shortly after that we have the arrival of summer. I know what you’re thinking: all this holiday and winter weight needs to burn off right now. I’m here to give you 12 movements that will keep you feeling strong even on the days you feel you’re weakest.
The deadlift can be one of those intimidating movements if you have never touched a barbell before. It engages the butt, quads, hamstrings, and lower back giving you an all-around body sculpting. Having the proper form is essential to protecting your lower back from possible injury. A good tip is to practice with a lightweight barbell or even just heavier barbells before loading up a ton of weight on each side. In no time you will be able to lift weights you never knew you could!
- Approach the bar and place your feet hip-width apart, but make sure your shins are almost touching the bar
- Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip
- Lift your chest and try to keep your back as straight as possible
- Make sure you are pulling with your legs and stand up with it
The squat could be one of the most used movements in the gym. When doing any type of squat it is important to keep the phrase “ass to grass,” in mind, meaning get super low in the bottom of your squat. There are many types of squats that you can do to work the legs and butt! First is the air squat which is where you keep your feet just a little past shoulder width and keeping your toes slightly pointed outward. Doing a lot of reps and a few sets will make your legs so strong! If that is too easy try adding weight!
- Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width and slightly turn your toes facing outward
- Start with your hips and go down and bend your knees
- Try to keep your back as straight as possible
- Keep your thighs parallel to the floor
3. Weighted Lunges
To continue on with the legs, lunges are an easy way to make you feel super strong. They target and work multiple muscle groups at once. They work the butt, hamstrings, quads, calf muscles, and abdominal muscles since they act as a stabilizer. Make sure when doing this, you get low and really feel it! Try holding dumbells to add weight and make it more challenging!
- Stand upright with both legs straight
- Hold dumbells in each arm and keep them tight to your body
- Step with one foot forward and sit into a lunge
- Repeat with other foot
4. The Plank
Holding the plank position works almost the whole body, but mostly your abdominal muscles. It will make you feel confident in your own strength if you do timed intervals. This is a good method to push yourself but also to give you a little breather. Doing movements like the plank in intervals at the end of any workout will give you that extra accessory strength!
- Get into a push-up position and then drop your elbows so your forearms are parallel to the ground
- Make sure to keep your core tight and keep your hips parallel to the ground
- Hold this position
5. Bench Press
The bench press will definitely test your upper body strength and will work out your chest, triceps, and shoulders! This exercise is very common for athletes, whether professional or not. This exercise can also be completed using dumbells. A quick tip is to warm up with just the bar and get your body positioning and grip just right!
- Lay down on the bench and make sure the bottom of your foot is completely flat to the ground (if you are too short, put bumper plates under your feet till you can lay them flat)
- Evenly place your hands on the bar keeping your wrists just above your elbows to ensure proper form
- Unrack the bar with your arms straight and bring to your chest
- Push the bar back up until your arms are straight again
6. The Pullup
The pull-up is a true test on how strong you really are because you can only use pure strength to pull yourself up. A hack that I used to get my pull-ups down is tying a resistance band to the bar and then put the loop around my foot.
- Grab the bar shoulder-width apart and hang
- Pull yourself up until your chin is passed the bar and your chest is just about to meet it
If you are looking for a quick sweat, burpees are definitely the way to do it. It works both cardio and strength simultaneously.
- Stand straight up and keep your arms to the side
- Slowly lower yourself until your hands can reach the ground
- Pop your legs behind you and get your body in the push-up position
- Do a push-up or touch your chest all the way to the ground
- As you stand up jump high pushing from your legs
Step-ups are sometimes overlooked because they are one of the slower movements during a workout. These work on your glutes, hamstrings, butt, and quads. These will surely make your legs stronger if you add them to your workout. You can do them with no weight or spice it up by adding dumbells and holding them close to your sides. You can use a bench for this or a smaller step.
- Stand in front of the bench/step and place your right foot on the step and press your right foot into the bench
- Keep your head and chest up by keeping your core engaged to make sure you are completely balanced
- Keep standing until your right foot is straight
- Lower yourself using the left foot
- Repeat on the other foot
9. The Bridge
The bridge is a classic go-to when trying to exercise get the perfect sculpted butt. It targets your butt, hamstrings, and the abdominal because you have to keep your core tight when moving up and down. The bridge is also a safe exercise for your back because there is not a ton of stress on it like other movements. Also, make sure to lay down a yoga mat so you can be comfy while doing this.
- Lay down on the matt or ground and bend your knees, keeping your feet completely flat
- Lay your palms facing down
- Push through your heels and raise your hips, make sure to keep your core tight
- Your upper back and shoulders should not break contact with the ground
- Pause at the top and then repeat
10. The Suitcase Crunch
If you’ve never done a suitcase crunch, you are probably wondering what the heck I mean. This exercise can be done just using bodyweight or weight. It works your abdominal and hip flexors, by the end you will feel it instantly trust me.
- Lay down on a mat or the ground and lift your legs
- Bring your knees to meet your chest
- As your knees get closer to your chest lean up slightly
- Then extend your legs back
11. Toes to Bar
This exercise hits a lot of important muscles such as; abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, lats, and biceps. Another important thing is that it works your grip which is extremely beneficial. If it is too difficult, you can do knees to chest.
- Grab the pull-up bar just like how you would start a pull-up and hang
- Then bring your toes up to touch the bar
- Slowly lower your legs down
12. Jump Rope
Jumping rope may seem like one of those movements you did as a kid during recess, but I assure you that this will get your heart rate pumping. It is a great calorie-burner as well! If it is too easy you can attempt to do a double under. A double under is where the rope goes around your body twice between each jump!
All of these movements are great for keeping your body toned and healthy. Comment your favorite movement below!
I am currently a Marketing Student at Quinnipiac University. I am super passionate about fashion!