A simple yet effective idea for resistance training
Whenever anyone ever mentioned weight training to me I always shrugged it off. I felt running, or playing Netball on a regular basis was always my most effective workout. I still feel that they are my best cardio workouts, but now realise I may have been missing a toning trick or two by ignoring resistance training and not doing weights alongside cardio.
I have recently started doing a routine that I find very effective. It focuses on your stomach muscles as well as toning your arms. It is a very easy routine to do at the gym or at home, and shouldn’t take longer than 15 mins so you can never have an excuse not to fit it in. All you need is a bit of space and a barbell of 10-15kg depending on your experience and strength.
I would advise doing 3 sets of each workout. I’d also recommend doing this workout with a partner – whilst one person is working with a barbell, the other one can focus on the core. You then have a non-stop workout that raises your heart rate, and you can just switch workouts with your partner each set, giving the muscle groups a rest in between.
Workout 1 – Arms & Legs
Exercise 1 – Bent-over rows With feet pointing forwards and at shoulder width apart, hold your bar with your palms facing you. Lean forwards at a 45 degree angle, and whilst facing forwards and keeping your back straight, bend your knees being careful not to let them in front of the toes. Now slowly bring the barbell straight up to your lower chest bending your elbows up to your side. Pause briefly and lower it slowly back down. Do this for 12-15 reps.
Exercise 2 – Shoulder press Pick up the barbell and lift it to your shoulders, palms facing away. Slowly push the barbell towards the ceiling until your arms are fully extended. Next lower the bar down until it is level with your chin. Repeat this for 12-15 reps.
Exercise 3 – Weighted squats With feet shoulder width apart, bring the barbell behind your head and rest it on your shoulders with your hands evenly spread either side of your head. Keeping your knees behind your toes, begin to squat down until your bum is level with your knees. Keep the head and chest facing forward and weight in the heels throughout the entire movement. Repeat 12-15 times
Exercise 4 – Bicep Curls Hold the barbell in front of you, palms facing you. Keeping your elbows locked in to your side and back straight, bend the arms lifting the bar up to your shoulders, then slowly lower back down. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
Workout 2 – Core
Exercise 5 – Crunches Lie on your back and bend your knees to 90 degrees keeping your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your thighs. Curl your body up off the floor, one vertebrae at a time using your core, sliding your hands up to your knees. Exhale on the way up, inhale as you lower. Repeat 30-50 times.
Exercise 6 – Plank Lie on your front. Raise yourself up onto your forearms and toes, keeping your back parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 secs – 1 minute
Exercise 7 – Stomach Pulses Lie on your back and put your legs up in the air. Preferably you would keep them straight, but bend them slightly if it feels more comfortable. Ensure your lower back is glued to the floor at all times. Point your arms in the air in line with your legs. Next lift your head and upperback up with your core and pulse towards your feet. Do 20 pulses to the middle, and then 20 to the left, and then 20 to the right.
Exercise 8 – Crunch balance Sit down on the floor with your legs out but bent. Lean backwards slightly until you can comfortably lift your feet up off the ground. You should now be balancing on your bum. Keep your core muscles tight, and hold the position for 30secs to a minute.
This routine really is worth a try if you are new to weight circuits. It’s challenging but not too intense, and you definitely start to notice a difference to your arms and core in a short space of time if you are continuing with your netball and other regular cardiovascular exercise.
Feel free to comment below if you have any other womens weight workouts that work?