This is the second installment in the short series of home workout programs for women; check out the first. In the name of #BeachSeason many people are getting their G.T.L. on (does anyone really use that acronym anymore?) and trying new workouts. Here is a list of some of my favorite exercises that are truly effective and much easier to perform than most others due to limited equipment needs or time requirements. Enjoy!
Exercise 1: Banded Good Morning
Good morning! I’m not sure why exactly these are named as they are, but this is an extremely beneficial, effective exercise none-the-less.
Why you should do it: Like I said, many people – even if they do work their legs – often neglect their backside. This is an excellent, cost-effective way to work your gluteals, hamstrings, and lower back; all of which, if weak, can lead to lower back issues. Training these muscles in this movement will cause you to limit the possibility of lower back issues, while increasing your visibility on the beach.
Benefits of the good morning exercise include:
- Only need a band to perform (low cost, space-saving)
- Great for building glute and hamstring strength, size, and definition
- Increases lower back strength and endurance
- Protects against chance of lower back injury
- Improves posture
Main Muscle Groups: Gluteals, hamstrings, multifidus and erector spinae (lower-middle back)
Recommended Workout: 3-5 sets of 12-20 repetitions
Check out the videos below for performance of the banded good morning exercise.
It’s important to initiate the movement by pushing your hips back (knees move back with the hips and do not bend like in the squat). Also, be sure to keep your spine straight, meaning that you do not bend it or round forward.
Try this variation below if the band hurts your neck (or place the back on the back of your shoulders instead of the back of your neck)
Exercise 2: Banded Face Pulls
The upper back is quite possible the most important area to strengthen when considering posture. After all, when you’re on the beach, you want to walk (and sit) tall to be noticed because we all know body language says a lot about our confidence.
Why you should do it: Like I just said, we want to have good posture to help with the health of our body (a strong upper back holds our shoulders back and strengthens the back-to-front ratio of strength between opposing muscle groups). While that’s a good reason in-and-of itself, we want another reason, don’t we? How about that a strong-looking back is sexy; is that a good reason?
Like the banded good morning, the banded face pull is another exercise that can be done anywhere with limited equipment (just need a band and something to attach it to – like a pole).
Some benefits of the banded face pull include:
- Can perform practically anywhere with limited equipment
- Improves posture (and seemingly self-confidence by way of improved body language)
- Improves shoulder health
- Increases strength of upper back muscles
- Creates a sexy-looking back
Main Muscle Groups: Posterior deltoids, Upper and middle trapezius, rhomboids
Recommended Workout: 3-5 sets of 12-20 repetitions
Check out the video below for set-up and performance of the banded face pull.
Exercise 3: Banded Pressdowns
Why you should do it: Everyone wants to have good-looking arms, right? And, as we get older, we all seem to have that area on the back of our arms, between the elbow and armpit, that seems to just hang there, jiggling around; I hate that guy. Enter banded pressdowns! Again, a very easy solution to training anywhere (just need a band), while getting your sweat on and building awesome-looking arms!
Let’s put an end to that and get your arms beach-ready by building some muscle in that particular area, which just happens to be the triceps muscle group.
Many people think that working the biceps all the time will help arm development. Actually, the triceps make up a larger part of our upper arm (2/3, in fact), so why wouldn’t we work them more?
And, ladies, if you struggle with push-ups, a huge benefit of strengthening the triceps is that your push-ups will seemingly get better over night. Positives all around; better-looking arms AND better push-ups!
Main benefits of the banded pressdown include:
- Getting rid of “that jiggly area” via muscle growth of the triceps
- Improved push-up performance
- Better-looking arms
- Better muscle balance, physiologically and visually, of the arms
Main Muscle Groups: Triceps
Recommended Workout: 3-5 sets of 10-20 repetitions
See the video below for a simple way to perform the banded pressdown.
Exercise 4: Standing Calf Raises
We can’t forget about the smaller muscle groups, including the calves. A rockin’ beach body is one that is developed all-around and leaves no muscle group “left behind.”
Still not convinced you need to spend time on your calves? Next time you wear high-heels, compare how your legs look with them on versus off. Wearing the heels shortens your calves because of the position your foot is in (plantar flexion) and makes them actually look more developed.
Why you should do it: Developed-looking calves actually make the rest of your legs and glutes (butt) look even better. Again, do the high-heel check and you’ll see what I mean. Plus, calf raises are literally the easiest, most-convenient exercise you can perform. You can do them wherever you’re standing, against whatever surface or height you want!
Now, imagine what your legs and glutes would look like on the beach thanks to improved calf development. Yeah, I know, right – way better!
Benefits of calf raises:
- No equipment needed
- Can perform anywhere
- Creates a better visual for the rest of your legs and glutes
- Creates well-rounded physique
- Strengthens ankles for preventing possibility of ankle sprains/strains
- Easy to control difficulty level (two legs, one leg, bodyweight, added weight, flat surface, added height, etc.)
Main Muscle Groups: Gastrocnemius and soleus (calves)
Recommended Workout: 3-5 sets of 15-30 repetitions (start lower reps and work to higher rep ranges)
See the video below for how to perform a standing calf raise.
Exercise 5: Curl to Press
Last, but certainly not least, is the curl to press exercise.
Why you should do it: This is another great “bang-for-your-buck” exercise that works many muscle groups at once. Again, meaning that it’s a time-saver and larger calorie-burner than single-joint exercises (compare to just doing a bicep curl where you’re ONLY working the biceps). So, burn more calories and gain more strength in less time!
This is also a great shoulder exercise; who doesn’t like nice, round shoulders?!
Benefits of the curl to press exercise include:
- Easy to perform
- Easy to scale difficulty (single arm, simultaneous, alternating, light load, heavy load, etc.)
- Compound exercise (works multiple muscle groups at once)
- Burns more calories than standard dumbbell curl
Main Muscle Groups: Biceps, deltoids, triceps
Recommended Workout: 3-5 sets of 6-12 repetitions
This is a great video demonstration of the curl to press exercise.
Good luck on your exercise endeavors as you enter into this beach season. Use some of these exercises, as well as those from the last post, to gain that beach body you’ve always wanted!
Disclaimer: Consult a physician for medical clearance before performing any physical exercise program. Millennial Boss and its authors cannot be held liable in any capacity in regards to the use of these exercises.
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