Many women are missing out on an important workout that can help reduce overall body fat, slim inches around the waist, and speed up the metabolism. What is this magical workout? Weight lifting. Women’s Health writes that only 21 percent of women strength train two or more times a week. This is something everyone should be doing! The benefits are endless — just two weight lifting sessions a week can reduce your overall body fat by about three percentage points in ten weeks without cutting a single calorie. Ready to start lifting your way to a slimmer waist? Try one of these four great routines.
1. Follow this routine created by personal trainer Rachel Cosgrove, per Women’s Health. Each move works multiple muscle groups, so you’ll not only burn a bunch of calories, but you’ll rev your metabolism into high gear for 24 to 48 hours afterward.
- Back Row: Aim for two sets, doing 10 reps on each side. Tie an exercise band to something sturdy at shoulder height. Grasp the band in your right hand and get into a lunge position with your left foot forward, until your arm is straight and the band is taut. Pull the band while rotating your body 180 degrees, until both feet are facing forward and your right hand is at chest-height, touching your shoulder.
- Deep Step-Ups: Do two sets of eight to 12 reps. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand on a 16- to 20-inch step. Take a giant step back with your right foot and drop your right knee until it’s a few inches from the floor and the left knee is bent at about a 90 degree angle. Squeeze your glutes to push your body up, then slowly return to the start position.
- Split Stance Alternate Rows: Aim for two sets and 10 reps. Loop an exercise band around something sturdy, and stand facing the band, holding an end in each hand. Position your feet shoulder-width apart and squat slightly. Contract your abs as you row your right arm back until your elbow passes your torso. Repeat with the other arm – that’s one rep.
- Weighted One-leg Squats: Grab a pair of eight- to 10-pound dumbbells with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your left leg so you’re standing on your right. Squat down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Push back up to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do two sets of eight to twelve reps per leg. If that’s too hard, you can skip using the weights and place your hands on your hips instead.
- Push-up to One-Leg Lift: You’ll want to do two sets, and you’ll continue alternating sides for 30 to 90 seconds (that’s one rep). Place a mat about two feet from an exercise bench or at the bottom of a staircase. Kneel on the mat and position your palms slightly wider than your shoulders on the bench. Straighten your arms and legs so you’re in a plank position. Brace your abs and push up onto your toes. Do a slow push-up while lifting your right leg. Repeat the push-up raising your left leg.
- Crescent: Try to do two sets, with 10 reps on each side. Secure an exercise band at chest-height and hold it tight with both hands. Position your body so you’re at a 90-degree angle from the band, and your feet should be shoulder-width apart. With your arms straight, simultaneously pull the band across your body and rotate your torso to the left. Go as far as you can without moving your feet. Return to start – that’s one rep.
2. Try this “Tone Up All Over” strength routine, as shown in Health. Do this two to three times per week, making sure you leave at least a day’s rest in between. Remember, your muscles need time to heal and repair! Each move targets multiple muscle groups. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds after each set.
- Squat to Overhead Press: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, elbows bent, a five-pound weight in each hand at shoulder height, and your palms forward. Lower into a squat (don’t let your knees go past your toes); hold for a moment. Now, push through your heels to stand up, pressing the weights overhead. Return to the starting position. Do three sets of 15 reps.
- Single-Leg Dumbbell Row: Stand holding a five- to 10-pound weight in your left hand. Hinge forward so your back is flat and almost parallel to the floor; rest your right hand on a chair or low shelf for support. Extend your left arm toward the floor, with your palm facing in; lift your straight left leg behind you, so your body forms a T. Slowly bend your left elbow and draw your weight up until your elbow is even with your torso; hold for a moment, then lower the weight. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Aim for three sets.
- Step-Up With Bicep Curl: Stand with your left foot on a sturdy bench or step, and a five-pound weight in each hand. With your weight on your left foot, lift to standing on the step, with your right thigh raised, so it’s parallel to the floor. At the same time, curl the weights up toward your shoulders. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat, aiming for three sets.
- Dolphin Plank: Start by lying facedown with your toes tucked. Keeping your forearms on the floor, and your bellybutton in toward your spine. Now, raise your hips to come into a low plank position. Inhale while lifting your hips further, so your body forms an inverted V; pause, then slowly return to the starting position. Do three sets of 15 reps.
- Curtsy Lunge: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Take a giant step diagonally back with your left foot and cross it behind your right; bend your knees (as if curtsying) as you reach your left hand toward the floor on the outside of your right foot. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Do three sets.
- Superman: Lie facedown with your arms and legs extended, toes pointed, and palms down. Inhale while raising your arms and legs as high as you can; pause, then exhale while slowly returning to the starting position. Do three sets of 15 reps.
3. Looking for a few individual moves to add to your normal routine? Try these, per Oprah; you can either do them all together for one big workout, or incorporate a move into a workout you may already have.
- Offset Dumbbell Lunge: Hold a dumbbell in your right hand next to your shoulder. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your left knee nearly touches the floor. Push yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do as many reps as you can, then repeat with your left leg while holding the weight in your left hand.
- Single-Leg Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift: Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold them at arm’s length in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Now raise one leg off the floor. Without changing the bend in your knee, keep your back naturally arched, bend at your hips, and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward, and raise your torso back to the starting position.
- Single-Arm Dumbbell Chest Press: Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and lie on your back on a flat bench. Hold the dumbbell over your chest with your arm straight. Your palm should be facing out, but turned slightly inward. Place your right hand on your abs. Now, lower the dumbbell to the side of your chest. Pause, then press the weight back to the start. Do all your repetitions, then repeat on your right side.
- Scaption and Shrug: Stand holding a pair of dumbbells with your feet shoulder-width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length next to your sides, your palms facing each other. Without changing the bend in your elbows, raise your arms at an angle to your body (you want them to form a ”Y”), until they’re parallel to the floor. At the top of the movement, shrug your shoulders upward. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to the start, and repeat.
- Swiss Ball Lying Triceps Extension: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on a workout ball so your middle and upper back are on the ball. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold the dumbbells over your forehead, with your arms straight and your palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until your forearms are beyond parallel to the floor. Pause, then lift the weights back to the start.
4. If you’re looking for a few more moves to do, try these suggestions, as shown in Shape. A few of these only require you to use your body weight, so no gym required!
- Triceps Extension: Come into a lunge position, with your back heel on the ground. Lean over your front bent knee as you lift your arm straight up by your side, with the top of the weight facing the ceiling. Lift and lower the two- to three-pound weight about an inch, doing it 30 times on each side.
- Second Position Plies: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and turn your toes out slightly. Lower your body down by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Bring your arms overhead and your shoulders down and back. Pause, then slowly push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Step-Ups: Stand in front of a bench or step and place your left foot firmly on the step. Press your left foot into the step and push your body up until your left leg is straight. Lower your body back down until your right foot touches the floor and repeat. Keep your chest up and your core engaged the entire time. Keep your weight balanced evenly, so you aren’t leaning too far forward or too far back.
- Bridge: Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause in the up position, then lower your body back to the starting position.
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