As we progress along the age line, and some of us transition hormonally, it is imperative to exercise and eat healthy to minimize the spread of our waistline, our decreasing metabolism, and thinning of our bones. By now we know we must strength train, but with the plethora of information bombarding us daily, it’s hard to discern what is valid and reliable information, versus what is spamming and discreditable.
Training women for over 30 years, and having firsthand experience with what is appropriate and safe for strength training, I’m going to give you my top 5 exercises every women should do on a weekly basis.
1. Deadlifts– These are a great compound movement that requires many postural muscles to activate. Women we tend to round forward as we age and this is due to a lack strength on our backside (hips, lats, rear delts and hamstrings). We also suffer lower back problems from many years of bending down and/or bad posture. To combat this we need to strengthen our back side, and deadlifts is the best way to address this area.
Goal: Deadlift your own bodyweight!
2. Pull-ups– Most women want to do a pull-up but traditionally lack the upper body, back and grip strength. Pull-ups addresses this issue perfectly while strengthening your lats, rear delts, rhomboids and a tremendous amount of core! Start with a Lat Pulldown machine if you are just beginning or perform assisted pull-ups using a machine. The preferred exercise is using a band to assist you and gradually work your way off the bands.
Goal: 10 pull-ups unassisted!
3. Planks on the Physio ball– These are traditional planks, but add another element to the equation by performing on the stability ball. Dr. Stuart McGill, World expert on lower backs, states that this is the single best core, lower back strengthening, and rotator cuff exercise to be done. Place your forearms on a Physio Ball and have your feet together while holding the plank position.
Goal: Make small circles with your shoulders (both directions) while planking, and do this for a total of 5 minutes!
4. Single Leg Reverse Lunge on the Val slide– Single leg work is of the utmost importance for women. If you have any differences between your limbs in strength or an asymmetry, this is a risk factor for an injury. Working single leg or arm will address any imbalances you may have and reduce your chances of getting hurt later. This exercise requires tremendous core strength, balance and agility, as well as hip and glut strength. This exercise gives you so much bang for your buck. Val slides will provide instability that forces additional supporting musculature to engage as you are performing the exercise.
Goal: Hold a 25lb dumbbell on the arm of the working leg!
5. Side Band Walking –A great exercise for working the hip abductors, and gluts. For women this area tends to very weak, which can lead to knee and back injuries. By walking with the band above your knees, you also work a lot of core (QL- for lower spine stabilizing). This exercise seems to be the weak link for most women, and when performed weekly can make a tremendous difference in hip and knee stability, which means less knee problems or lower back complaints. Start with walking side to side with the band located above the knee. There are different strength bands, so use what is appropriate for your level of strength.
Goal: Walk 4 steps to the side, 4 steps front, 4 steps to the other side, and 4 steps backwards forming a box for 4 minutes.
Our bodies change as we age and the need to maintain strength and stability will help ensure a more active and enjoyable later years. Many women want to travel and see the all of the beauty that this world has to offer, but so many are limited by their physical abilities later in life. While the exercises listed are not the easiest, they are the best exercises women should be performing. If you cannot perform these exercises now, it is a goal to work up to them. If you can perform some or all of them, then try to reach the goals listed. They will challenge you, but that is the only way that our bodies improve.
For more daily information like and follow us on Facebook and check out our custom designed exercise programs on our website at http://www.achievingfitnessafter50.com.