Essential Exercises for Women: Our Best Moves of 2011

Posted by Angie Quehl on Dec 28, 2011 1:56:00 PM

It Ain't Rocket Science

There is no magic to exercise: You get out of it what you put in. That doesn't mean you have to work out for hours each day. It just means you need to work smart and be consistent.  Not every exercise needs fancy equipment, just the dedication of your time. Over the past year, we have shared with you many exercises that require no equipment at all but can deliver results you have loved! For our final installment of Essential Exercises for Women of 2011, we bring you the top four moves of the year based on your readership!

1.  One Leg Lunge

one leg lunge hip glute and thigh exercise for women1.  Stand about 2 feet in front of a chair, facing away with your hands on your hips.


one leg lunge hip glute and thigh exercise for women step two


2. Lift one leg and place it on the chair, shoelaces down, behind you.


one leg lunge hip glute and thigh exercise for women step 33. Lower into lunge, keeping a 90 degree in the front knee. How low you go is up to you but the deeper the lunge the more work you load on the glutes and thighs.


Don’t forget to do each leg!  15 – 20 times each.


2.  Moving Squat

1.  Begin by bending your elbows and clasping your hands in front of you as you bend your knees and assume the squat position.

2.  Step your left foot out to the left side, keeping your core engaged and maintaining the squat position.

3.  Then follow with your right foot and place it directly next to your left foot.

4. Continue moving yourself across the room in this fashion. Once you reach the other side, switch directions and travel to the right, leading with your right foot. Move slowly and stay controlled.

This movement will increase your heart rate AND target your thighs,  backside, legs, and midsection all at the same time."

woman doing squat 

3. Bench Dips

These primarily work your triceps, but they also train the muscles of your chest and shoulders. This exercise uses no special equipment, just your own body weight, and can deliver great results.

  1. Sit on one bench (or chair) and place your hands on the bench very close to the sides of your body.
  2. Stretch your legs out in front of you and push your body off the bench holding yourself up with your arms (and a little with your legs).
  3. Lower yourself down by bending at the elbow joint just to about 90 degrees and push yourself up (using the tricep and shoulder) back to the starting position.

Avoid using your legs to lift you up and keep your body close to the bench to protect the shoulder joint.  If you are looking to raise the intensity up a notch, try putting your feet on another bench instead of the floor or better yet on a ball!  Not only will that intensify the movement, but it will also prevent you from using your legs and place all the work on those hard-to-target triceps!

4. Side Plank

This exercise targets your core muscles (abs, hips, and back) and can be started in a modified position and as you become stronger intensified with positioning and length of time held.

1. Begin on the floor, lying on your side, knees bent and elbow resting on the floor under your shoulder.side plank essential exercises for women chantilly

2.  Push your body weight and hips off the floor until you have created a straight line between shoulder and hip and you only have contact with the floor on your elbow and knee. 

This is your modified position.


full side plank essential exercises for women chantilly3.  To intensify this position simply lift your knees off the floor, extend your legs to a straight line, and let your body weight rest in the side of the foot.



The key to this exercise is creating and maintaining the straight line from shoulder – to knee- to foot.  Continue to breathe and work on holding the position for 30 seconds, to begin with, and increase to 60 seconds or more.  Remember to flip it over and do the other side!


A big THANKS and on to 2012...

We started this blog so that all of you in the blogosphere would have a "go-to" place for great information that not only educates but entertains. Thanks to all of you we have enjoyed our largest increase in readership ever in the past 4 months! While we appreciate each time you log on to read or click the share button for Facebook, Tweet about us, or send an article to a friend, in the coming year we want to bring you what YOU would like to read/learn about. So how about doing us one last favor for 2011...sound off in our Comments Section and let us know how we can help make the upcoming year your healthiest, most fit ever!

Topics: exercises for women, exercise programs for women, exercise at home

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