Essential Exercises for Women: Three Great Stretches for People Who Sit All Day

Posted by Stephanie Khan on Dec 12, 2018 12:16:14 PM

By now you’ve heard that spending your day sitting isn’t very good for you. In a perfect world we would all have time to get up, take a walk, go for a bike ride or hit the gym, but unfortunately sometimes it just doesn’t happen! Sitting all day can leave your chest, shoulders, back, and hip begging for relief. Try these 3 stretches to help relieve those tight sitting muscles.


CHEST OPENER

chest opener stretch

 

 

 

If you spend lots of time hunched over a keyboard, this stretch is for you. Sit or stand with your spine long and slightly drop your chin. Sliding shoulder blades down the back, reach arms behind your back, interlacing fingers. If this is too difficult, use a strap or towel. Gently lift arms until you feel a e chest stretch. Hold 10-20 seconds.


 

 

 

HIP FLEXOR STRETCH

Hip flexor stretches

Those of us that spend lots of time sitting, whether it be behind a desk or behind the wheel of a car tend to have tight hip flexors. Start by kneeling on the floor. Step right foot forward to right knee is bent at a 90 degree angle, keeping front knee over the ankle. Gently ease hips forward until you feel a stretch. For more sensation, raise arms overhead. Hold 10-20 seconds, Switch sides.

seated spinal twist stretch

SEATED SPINAL TWIST

Sit with feet planted on the floor and spine tall. Keeping hips squared, rotate torso to the right, reaching right hand behind and left hand to the outside of the right thigh. Hold 10-20 seconds, then switch sides.

 

HAVE QUESTIONS?

When do I stretchStretching should be done before and/or after your workout? How long do I need to stretch? What if I have a lower back injury? What if I have limited range of motion? Can I really improve my flexibility?

If these things have crossed our mind (or any other fitness related question), please do not hesitate to ask. Our expert staff of certified personal trainers at The Women's Club stand at the ready to help!

Ask Fitness Questions Here

 

 

0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, personal training, stretching

Essential Exercises for Women:  Firm Your Booty!

Posted by Stephanie Khan on Apr 11, 2018 4:45:49 PM

Summer will be here before we know it and most of us are looking for ways to firm up our backside. Aside from looking great in a pair of shorts, strong glutes help improve posture, balance, and athletic performance. In addition, strengthening your backside can help to reduce knee and back pain and is a great way to prevent injuries. Adding these four exercises in this addition to our Essential Exercises for Women series to your routine can help you develop glute strength and lift and firm your backside. All you need for this workout is a loop resistance band and a mat. Perform 15 reps of each exercise, completing the entire circuit three times for a complete total booty workout!


BANDED LATERAL WALK: Place band around ankles and come into a quarter squat position (knees bent with slight hip hinge) Keep the toes pointing forward, step right foot to the side. Perform 15 reps to the right, then reverse direct, performing 15 reps to the left. 

20180330_154617-964794-edited 20180330_154634-163206-edited

                                  Position A                                                         Position B

 

SQUAT WITH HIP EXTENSION: Stand with band around the ankles with feet hip width apart. Hinging at the hips and bending the knees (take care not to extend knees in front of toes) sit back into a squat. Squeeze glutes as you straighten legs and extend the right leg behind you, keeping spine neutral and core engaged. Repeat with left leg for one rep. If you want a great way to really target and tone your butt this is a great one!

20180330_154819-453785-edited20180330_154833-528362-edited

                                 Position A                                                         Position B


BOOTY BURNING BRIDGES:

Lie on back with band around the thighs. Place feet on the floor about hip distance apart. Press heels into the floor as you squeeze glutes to lift hips, keeping the back in neutral alignment with the lower belly drawing in. Lower hips to hover over floor. For an additional challenge hold the last rep and perform 10 pulses up, then 10 pulses pressing out against the band. Glute bridges are a must-do, butt lifting exercise!

20180330_154947-645992-edited20180330_154956-715525-edited

                                 Position A                                                         Position B

 

BOOTY LIFTERS:  Place band around feet, so that it is looped around the sole of your shoes. Position yourself on to elbows and knees and engage core to keep low back neutral. Flex right foot and extend heel towards the ceiling, keeping right knee bent.  Perform 15 reps on right side, then repeat on left. #Feelthebootyburn

20180330_155021-871098-edited20180330_155030-941201-edited

                                 Position A                                                         Position B

 

Put all four of these exercises for women together for a power packed, butt toning workout that you can do right at home! 

0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, exercise while travelling, leg exercises, butt toning, thigh toning, fitness for women, exercise at home

4 Easy Steps to Sticking to a Morning Fitness Routine

Posted by Stephanie Khan on Apr 3, 2018 12:31:32 PM

Lets face it, some days we have every intention of working out, but life somehow gets in the way. Between work deadlines, family obligations, and sick kids even the most dedicated exercisers  can get derailed. One way around this is to workout first thing in the morning. Sounds good, but getting out of a warm and cozy bed to exercise is hard! Follow these four steps to get yourself up and moving in the morning.

easy morning workout for women

unsplash-logoPhoto by:Christopher Campbell

 

START SLOWLY: Figure out how much time you will need for your workout and begin to gradually adjust your sleep schedule. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and waking 15 minutes earlier. Use that extra time in the morning to do a quick yoga or stretching routine, or any other short workout. This will help you get into the habit of doing something good for your body every morning. Continue gradually adjusting your sleep schedule by 15 minutes each week until you have enough time for your full workout.


SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS: Create an environment that is conducive to exercise. Start by packing your gym bag or setting out all of your workout gear the night before and placing them by the door so you are ready to go.  If you are having a hard time resisting the snooze button put your alarm clock across the room or set multiple alarms. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to get out the door in the morning! It also helps to have a plan B in place just in case. For example, if you are planning to head out for a run but wake up to a thunderstorm, try an indoor tabata or strength workout.


GIVE YOURSELF AN OUT: Sometimes we wake up and just don’t feel like getting out of bed to exercise! When lack of motivation strikes, promise yourself you can stop after 10 minutes if you are still feeling exhausted. Chances are that once you get up and moving you will want to keep going. Even if you decide to stop, at least you have done something for 10 minutes. Even 10 minutes of exercise is better than zero!


ENLIST HELP: An early morning workout buddy can work wonders in helping you stick to a morning workout routine. We are more likely to show up if we know we have someone waiting for us! If you can’t find a friend who is willing to wake up and workout, Try signing up for a class, hiring a trainer, or posting your intentions to social media. All of these thing can help create accountability and help you to stick to your plan.

 

Article Submitted by: 

Stephanie Khan, Director of Group Exercise and Personal Training at The Women's Club

0 Comments

Topics: group exercise classes for women, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, personal training, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, Strength training for women

30-minute No-Gym Body Weight Workout

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 17, 2014 4:38:00 PM

No Gym, No Problem!

Worried about staying on track with your fitness during Spring Break? Well fret no longer! While we firmly believe that there is no substitute for a good, old fashioned gym workout, we understand your concern so we scanned the internet for the perfect workout that needs no gym or equipment and can be done anywhere. Chock-full of body weight exercises, this little marvel will work your total body in just 30-minutes so that you can be on your way to having Spring Break fun in a jiff!

So what are you waiting for? Pull up some sand or push back that hotel room furniture and get started on these 8 fantastic body weight exercises! You will be done before you know it and right back to the fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get more  health and fitness tips at Greatist.com.

0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, exercise while travelling, Strength training for women, exercise at home

7 Things You Need to Know About Proper Squat Technique

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 28, 2014 12:04:00 PM

You're Doing It Wrong...Maybe

It is no secret that the squat is one of the best lower body exercises around that targets those hips, buns and thighs that are troublesome spots for many women. While this exercise for women can really help you tone and sculpt those areas, it also very easy to perform this fatburner improperly thereby diminishing the power it packs and risking injury. Fear not friends! We have put together 7 tips on proper squat technique for women to ensure that you get the most out of your squat every time.

1) Proper Squat Technique: Hip Hinge

When most people try to squat, the knees protrude far over the toes, the rear end goes straight down, and the heels come off the floor. This happens because proper squat technique requires some hip flexibility, proper balance, and a “hip hinge”. Each time you squat you should hinge your hips so that your rear end moves backwards during the downward phase of the squat, your knees will no longer protrude well over your toes (if you are tall, this may happen, but make sure it does not put pressure on your knees). Finally, the pressure of the squat will be on your heels instead of your toes and you will be able to get more depth to your squat.

2) Proper Squat Technique: Straight Head Position

One major mistake people make when they squat is rounding their necks, or looking down at the ground. The spinal alignment is automatically thrown off, which makes the squat a very dangerous exercise, especially if you are using a lot of weight. Sometimes we can pick a spot on the wall that’s in line with the eyes as I standing straight, then as you squat down, keep the eyes on that spot. The head is automatically in the correct position.

3) Proper Squat Technique: Chest Out/Shoulders Back

A key theme with the squat is to make sure your spine is in proper alignment. By keeping your shoulder back and your chest out, your lower back will most likely have the correct natural curve. If you instead round your shoulders and sink your chest in, your spinal alignment will be thrown off.

4) Proper Squat Technique: Slightly Arched Lower Back

As you can see in the picture below the bottom of the spine (known as the lumbar spine) has a slight arch. You should keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched as you squat. Hyperextending your lower back by arching too much, or rounding your back can put significant pressure on the intervertebral discs, which are soft gel like cushions that protect each vertebrae. If the disc ruptures because of too much pressure, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside its normal boundary, which is called a herniated disc and may require surgery to repair. Not enough emphasis can be made to make sure your lower back is flat to slightly arched throughout the entire squat movement.

woman doing proper squat                 WebMD.com

5) Proper Squat Technique: Athletic Stance, Toes Pointed Out

Use an athletic stance for the squat so that your knees are slightly bent, feet are firmly planted on the ground, and toes pointed outwards slightly, which helps with stabilization. The wider you put your feet, the more it works your glutes and hamstring (back of the leg), and the easier it will be to stabilize. The closer in you put your feet, the more your quadriceps will be emphasized (the front of the leg). One common mistake when people use too much weight is that one, or both knees will cave in towards their center. Make sure to keep your knees out and choose weight that is appropriate for your level.

6) Proper Squat Technique: Exhale Up/Inhale Down

Breathing is very important for squatting in particular because it is a challenging exercise. Improper breathing can make you light headed, or nauseous, and in extreme cases, some people even black out. As you are lowering yourself, remember to take a deep breath in, then as you are pushing up, breathe out forcefully. Always keep this breathing pattern. Towards the last few reps, you may consider taking a few extra breaths at the top of the squat position as you are standing for some extra energy.

7) Proper Squat Technique: Depth of the Squat

The depth of the squat primarily depends on your hip flexibility. If your hips are very flexible, then you may be able to squat “below parallel” (hamstrings are below parallel with the floor) and if you have poor hip flexibility, then you will be “above parallel”. In general, try to shoot for your hamstrings about parallel with the floor, which deeply engages your thighs, hips, and glutes. If you can go lower than parallel that’s fine, just make sure you don’t experience any pain in your knees, or lower back, and always keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched.

A couple other tips to keep in mind is as you are practicing proper squat technique for women is to look at the profile of the squat as you are standing sideways towards the mirror. You may also consider videotaping your form as well.

 

Need More Help?

Just ask us. We would be delight to answer your exercise questions! Just drop a comment in the box or if you would prefer a more private approach, just click that big orange button.

Ask Fitness Questions Here

 

 

 

 

Adapted from an article which originally appeared on builtlean.com.
0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, leg exercises, butt toning, hip toning, Strength training for women

See How Easily You Can Get Your "Sexy Back"

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 19, 2013 1:48:00 PM

Most people spend far more time working the muscles on the front of their bodies and little time focusing on their back. That is why we have selected the reverse fly or bent over reverse fly as this month's essential exercise for women because it focuses on this area that is so often overlooked. 

We've Got Your Back 

Recently, I have noticed that many of our members have exceptionally weak back muscles. An exercise that I love and do with many of my clients is the Reverse Fly. This is an exercise that is done with free weights and can be done on days you do weight training exercises.


exercises for a beautiful back resized 600
You can do reverse flies while standing, sitting or lying down. If you are standing, spread your feet hip-width apart and lean forward at a 45-degree angle with your arms down by your legs. If you are sitting, lean forward and hold the dumbbells by your calves. If you want to lie down during the reverse fly, lie on your stomach on a flat weight bench with your arms hanging off of either side of the bench. Choose light weight to begin! It is much better to start light and increase your weight until you determine what weight is right for you!!

Standing Reverse Fly

Standing Reverse Fly resized 600


How it's done
To do a bent over reverse fly, hold your back straight and tighten your abs. Make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent as you raise both of your arms. Arms should raise up slightly higher than your back, almost as if you are flapping imaginary wings. As you lift, pull your shoulder blades together, then lower your arms slowly back into starting position. Do 2-3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions to complete the exercise. If you find that this seems too easy, try increasing the weight of your dumbbells.

 

Seated Reverse Fly

Seated Reverse Fly resized 600
Keep these points in mind...
If you have any joint, back or muscular problems, be sure to consult your medical professional before attempting reverse fly exercises. Also, if you find lifting both dumbbells at the same time to be a challenge, you can alternate your arms so only one is lifting at a time. This is called an alternating reverse fly. As always, if you need guidance with this exercise, ask a personal trainer for help!

If you live in the Northern VA area (Chantilly, Fairfax, Herndon or Centreville) we would be more than happy to assist you. Schedule a free consulation and find out how a female certified personal trainer on our staff can help you reach your fitness goals!

 

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston

0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, strength training, back health

Who Else Wants a Flat Belly?

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jun 6, 2013 1:48:00 PM

Get More Bang for Your Buck (and a flat belly) with the Ball!

adult-beautiful-brunette-1089164-445813-edited-261687-edited

If you are looking to maximize your time when doing your ab/core work look no further than this month's Essential Exercise for Women. With bathing suits and clingy, unforgiving summer fashions on the menu for the next few months, who doesn't want a flat belly to show off? Answer: NO ONE! So grab a ball, even a beach ball will work if you happen to be laying around poolside with a few extra minutes, and try the ball exchange core exercise. Your abs and core will thank you!

 

Ball Exchange Exercise

  1. Lying on back, place your workout ball above your head on the floor. Lay flat on the floor with your legs extended.
  2. Now, bring your arms over your head and grab the workout ball. 
  3. Contract your abdominal muscles and hip flexors and bring the ball upwards towards the middle of your body, meeting your feet at the mid-line.
  4. Transfer the ball from your hands to your feet by gripping the ball between your ankles.
  5. Keeping your arms and legs straight, return to your starting position. 
  6. With the ball between your feet, repeat the same movement, except exchange the ball to your hands from your feet at the midline. 
  7. Slowly return to the starting position.


**You can vary the size of the ball to make this ball exchange exercise more challenging!

 


Ball Exchange Exercise for Core Muscle Toning—powered by eHow.com

 

Safety Note: Leg elevation while laying on your back can put a strain on the lumbar spine. Thus, the ball exchange is not recommended for those with lower back issues.

HEY YOU GUUUUUUYS!!!!

We've have heard from a few of our loyal readers but we want to hear from even more! So you there...yeah you in front of that computer or phone screen, if you love the ball exchange exercise, why not drop us a note in the comment section below or click to button to submit other body part(s) you wanna work on. In turn, we will share our sage advice so that you can begin to tackle those trouble spots and get results! So what are ya waitin' for? Click. Type. Send!

 

Ask Fitness Questions Here
 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston

0 Comments

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

Finally Get Shapely, Toned Calves You'll LOVE to Show Off

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 24, 2013 3:08:00 PM

Stand and Deliver

Every woman wants to have a great pair of legs...you know those gorgeous gams you see peeking out of skirt or leading up from a terrific pair of shoes? Shapely toned calves are a big part of creating that look, but they are also very important for stability, posture and mobility. The low-intensity exercise of calf raises is a simple but excellent way to strengthen and tone your calf muscles, when done regularly and why we chose it as this month's Essential Exercise for Women. 

 

Standing Calf Raise

standing calf raise

Stand tall, with feet a comfortable distance apart, no more than a few inches. Make sure that feet are pointing straight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. This is your starting position. Raise yourself slowly until you are standing on the balls of your feet, squeeze the lower leg muscles and hold for 1 second. Slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Repeat for 2 or 3 sets of 12-15. Need help with your balance? Grab on to the back of a chair or place you hands against a wall until your calves are stronger and you can maintain your balance more easily. 

 

Step it up!

calf raises with step

Kick those calf raises into high gear and stand on a step to do this exercise. This increases the level of difficulty. 

Note: Beginners should perform this exercise on the floor and it is advised to perform the exercise in front of a trainer, to be sure you are performing it correctly!

 

Get Sexy Legs from Hip to Ankle with these Great Moves:

 

What Can We Show You?

We love, love, love showing you moves you can use each month but we want to know what you want to see! Drop us a note in the comment section below or click to button to submit the body part(s) you need the most help with and we will share with you some ways you can target those trouble spots and get results! So what are ya waitin' for? Click. Type. Send!

 

Ask Fitness Questions Here
 

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston, Director of Personal Training at The Women's Club

0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, leg exercises, strength training

The "Two-fer" Essential Exercise for Women

Posted by Angie Quehl on Mar 22, 2013 12:40:00 PM

Let's Twist Again!

In the past we have brought you several exercises incorporating rotations of the torso and upper body. There is nothing that can help you sculpt that terrific bod better than doing these "two-for-one" moves and who doesn't want to get more bang their buck when it come to working out?! We all know the leg-toning, butt-firming lunge is a lower body exercise that is hard to beat in terms of getting rid of the dreaded jiggly bits.  Add a torso twist and you have turned this classic move into a core-targeting, side-firming power couple which is why its our pick for month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women. 

Twisting Lunges

• Stand with feet about shoulder width apart.


• Hold a medicine ball (optional) in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. You may want to begin this exercise with no weight and build up your strength over time.

Twisting Lunges

• Step forward with your left foot into a lunge position. 

• Be sure to keep your knee over your left foot; don't twist at the knee.


• From your torso, twist your upper body to the left. Then, reach across your left side with your arms out-stretched.Think of pointing to the left from your belly button. 


• Maintain a slow and controlled movement throughout the exercise.


• Slowly move your arms to center and step forward with the opposite foot and twist to the other side.


• Continue the movement for about ten steps.


Complete 2 sets.

 

More Twisting Two-fers

 

 

What Can We Show You?

We love, love, love showing you moves you can use each month but we want to know what you want to see! Drop us a note in the comment section below or click to button to submit the body part(s) you need the most help with and we will share with you some ways you can target those trouble spots and get results! So what are ya waitin' for? Click. Type. Send!

 

Ask Fitness Questions Here

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston, Director of Personal Training at The Women's Club

0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, abs exercises, butt toning, thigh toning, Strength training for women

The Ultimate Abs Exercise

Posted by Angie Quehl on Feb 15, 2013 10:57:00 AM

Did you know that done correctly, Pilates exercises can activate abs more than crunches do?! It's SO true according to exercise physiologist Michele Olson, Ph.D., of Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. In fact some are "over 200 percent more effective!" A Pilates abs workout can tighten and streamline your abs quickly and effectively, because it emphasizes your breathing along with maintaining proper form and we have chosen the cadillac (no pun intended) of Pilates moves for this edition of Essential Exercises for Women. The Roll Up is a great challenge for the abdominal muscles, and a wonderful articulation for the spine. One well is equal to six regular sit ups, and is better than crunches for strengthening your abdominal muscles!

How It's Done


1. Begin by lying on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Press your upper thighs and knees together. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and let your belly drop toward the floor.


2. Reach your arms all the way overhead and rest them on the mat. Your fingertips will point toward the wall behind you and your palms will be facing up. Keep your ribs down.


3. Inhaling, press down through your shoulder blades and reach your arms up over your head. Let your biceps pass by your ears, and then drop your chin and curl your torso up.


4. Exhale as you stretch all the way forward toward your toes. Pull in your abs and curve your spine as you raise your torso. With your head tucked, reach your fingertips toward your toes.


5. Squeeze your glutes and tuck your tailbone. Pull your navel deeply in toward your spine, and then begin to unroll, one vertebra at a time. Inhale as you continue this motion halfway down.


6. About halfway down, exhale as you lower your shoulders to the mat, reaching your arms overhead again. Then lower your head and arms to the floor.


7. Repeat up to six times.


TIP: Don't try to pull yourself up by sheer force or momentum! Doing so can overwork yoexercise tipur hip flexors, neck, and back muscles. Instead, keep your spine rounded as you pull your abdominals in deeply to lift your torso up.

 

For more tips on toning that tummy, check out our article: 3 P's for a Tighter Tummy

 

 

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston, Director of Personal Training at The Women's Club

 

 

 

0 Comments

Topics: exercises for women, abs exercises, Pilates

"I want personalized attention from a team of experienced professionals
who absolutely LOVE their job."

Mary Kate, VA

Want 3 FREE Sessions? Get Started Today!

Request Free Consultation