5 strength exercises women should do every day to stay fit

If you’re wondering how strength training can improve your fitness, health, and overall lifestyle, listen up. Aerobic exercise can play a vital role in keeping you fit, but don’t make any favorites and sleep on the benefits of strength training. Whether you want to melt body fat, firm your tummy, sculpt lean muscle, or all of the above, strength training is here to kill. Considering the fact that loss of muscle mass is a natural part of aging, performing muscle-strengthening exercises should be an essential part of your fitness routine. Denise Chakoianowner and founder of CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree, certified personal trainer, cancer exercise specialist, and boutique fitness consultant, shares with us some of the most productive strength exercises women can do every day to stay in shape.

Maintaining a fit physique goes beyond aesthetics. (Padding your jeans in all the right places is just an added bonus!) Staying in great shape helps you continue to lead an active, independent life, avoid the health risks associated with being overweight, strengthen your bones, and gain a check for any chronic health problems. Resistance training really can be considered “medicine” and the research says it is. Inactive adults can lose 3% to 8% of their lean muscle mass every 10 years, as well as accumulate more body fat and experience a decreased resting metabolic rate. By doing resistance exercise for just 10 weeks, you can increase your resting metabolic rate by 7 percent and decrease your fat weight by nearly ten pounds.

Now that you know how beneficial strength training can be, let’s see how you can add it to your daily routine. Chakoian shares five of the absolute best strength exercises for women to start doing as soon as possible. She reads on to learn all about them, and when you’re done, check out the 5 best exercises to keep you feeling young, firm, and fit after 40.

women doing push ups

“[The pushup is a] functional whole-body strength movement that incorporates the chest, biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, and core,” Chakoian explains. close (working more triceps) or wider [which works] more than the chest. [Try] feet closed to work the core more than [if you were to position your] feet apart.”

To prepare for push-ups, assume a high plank with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Come up to the forefoot. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the ground. Then, push yourself back up to a high board where you started. Chakoian recommends doing two to three sets of 15 to 20 reps to build bodyweight strength.

woman doing bodyweight squats

“This can be done bodyweight or by adding weights, which makes it that much more challenging,” says Chakoain. “Squats are probably one of the most important functional exercises you can do to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.”

To perform squats, place your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Keep your hands on your hips, stretch your arms out in front of you, or hold a dumbbell in each hand. Then, push your hips back and lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push against the floor to return to standing. Complete three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions. After performing each set, hold the squat position for 10-20 seconds.

RELATED: 7 Most Effective Strength Exercises to Prevent Belly Fat

woman doing lunges with dumbbells, strength exercises for women

According to Chakoain, “Lunges can be performed forward, backward, or in a cross position. Lunges are not only a complete leg workout, but they also add a component of cardiovascular enhancement. Lunges can be performed bodyweight or using weights by your side to add more load and challenge the stability of the exercise.”

For lunges, assume a split squat position with one leg in front of you and one behind you. Place your hands on your hips or hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Then, bend your knees to come down into a lunge. Press your feet to stand up. You can do timed lunges (three sets of one minute each) or reps for two to three sets of 15 reps on each leg.

women doing flips in fitness class, strength exercises for women

Next, Chakoain recommends doing any form of jumping if you’re able, such as jump squats or jumping jacks. “This allows the metabolic rate to increase and ‘shock’ the body,” she explains. “Maintaining a high level of cardiovascular fitness is important through interval training to keep the body in overall shape while also incorporating strength training.”

Jumping jacks begin with arms extended at sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Jump as you raise your arms above your head and push your feet further out. Then, return to starting position, lowering your arms.

RELATED: 5 strength exercises for women to get stronger and leaner in their 40s

fit woman doing planks, strength exercises for women

Chakoain’s list of the best strength exercises for women concludes with planks. Love them or hate them, planks will challenge your core strength, upper body and spinal stability. You can do forearm planks or high planks with your hands planted on the floor below your shoulders. Regardless, your body should form a straight line, your core should be engaged, and you should be on your toes. If you’re just starting out, feel free to do plank holds for 10 seconds at a time and keep adding 10-second increments until you get to one minute.

Alexa Melardo

Alexa is the Deputy Mind + Body Director of Eat This, Not That!, who oversees the M+B channel and provides readers with interesting fitness, wellness and self-care topics. Read more about Alexa

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