Regular exercise is one of those New Year’s resolutions few people can keep. Never mind that you’ve spent on gym membership, gym clothes and all the correct accessories to get you in shape (and in the mood). Within weeks, you have no time to do it. At all.
Which is why we’ve put together a simple workout routine for women that should take care of your resolution in the simplest possible way and in the least possible amount of time. You’ll have no excuse to get out of this. And you’ll love what it’ll do for you.
1. The single- legged dead lift
This will help you work the glute muscles to add shape and strength to the region. As you bend forward, the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh get stretched. This not only shapes them, but also prevents running injuries. The lower back also becomes stronger from having to hold its position through the exercise.
This is important for women who tend to have weaker balance and control because of their wider and shallower hips. The move will strengthen the ankles as well, as they have to work extra hard to keep you in position on one leg. Also because it is a single-legged exercise and you have to keep yourself from falling, your mind-muscle link gets stronger. This has a carry-over effect to activities such as running and even going up the steps.
2. The tricep bench dips
This exercise chiefly works the tricep muscle in the back of the arms and can help you tone up those ‘bingo wings’. The trick is to not go too low and not go too far forward from the bench or chair. Let your lower back almost rub against the bench as you go up and down, and do it slowly with control – lean your body and head back when you come up to get a great contraction in the triceps.
Strong triceps do not just look shapely, but also build strength to help you lift better and powerfully drive the arm backwards while running or swimming. This exercise will also lay a strong foundation for the elusive full push-up.
Aim to perform three sets of 10 repetitions. If your shoulders feel uncomfortable, replace this with Dumbbell Overhead Triceps extensions.
3. The Superman
Though this is called the Superman, it will definitely make you a Superwoman with your new back strength and posture. In yoga, this is the Viparita Salabasana, which builds lower back strength and stability. A lot of women suffer from lower back pain due to weak muscles and this can be your shortcut to preventing it in the first place. It stretches the abdominals when you lift your body up, and teaches you to lift the ribcage which in turn will help you attain better posture.
Perform three sets of 10 repetitions very slowly. When it gets easy, hold the top position for 10 seconds in every repetition.
4. Twisting abdominal crunches
This is old-school, simple to perform, safe and effective. It works to build strong and tight abdominals. The standard abdominal crunches (going up and down) will work the rectus abdominus in the front of the abs.
But adding a twist to it will make it twice as effective, because this works the oblique muscles on the sides of the abdominals as well. Rotating will also make you more powerful, like most actions, such as throwing a ball or a punch and running. It requires us to rotate our bodies to produce greater power.
This is a great exercise to tone and strengthen the whole lower body. It shapes, stretches and strengthens the quadriceps or front thighs, glutes or butt area, and even the inner thighs. It is easy to perform and can be done in various ways to make it more interesting. This is also a great exercise to keep your knees and lower back strong. Remember: the stronger your legs, the more they can help to reduce the load that is shifted to your lower back while lifting or carrying something. Because lunges work each leg individually, they ensure that both legs develop shape equally.
Perform two sets of 15 repetitions with each leg to give your legs a super shaping burn. Try holding a weight in your hands when the exercise becomes easy.
One of India’s foremost fitness experts, Deckline Leitao works closely with Olympic-hopefuls and has trained some of our best sportspeople.
From HT Brunch, January 22, 2016
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