Workouts for Women at Home
The biggest obstacle that often prevents women from fully committing to a resistance training routine is the general belief that you have to go to a gym to get a good workout. There are various reasons why women do not like going to the gym. Some just don’t have time since they are working a full time job and taking care of their kids (often their husband, too). Others are just not comfortable doing resistance training at the gym since they have to work around big sweaty men who get in the way and make them feel weak for using such small dumbbells. Well, we want to help you out. Inspired by what we have learned from the home workout section of Visual Impact for Women, we are going to teach you how to get a full workout without having to go to a gym. Instead, you can complete all three of these workouts for women at home.
Body Weight Circuit Workout
We talk a lot about body weight circuits on this blog, but that is simply because we believe in them. We have experienced for ourselves the impact that body weight circuits can have on your fat loss and muscle toning goals. We also love them because you don’t have to leave the house and you can get in a killer full body workout in 20 minutes. They save you a ton of time, but they are also extremely effective. Isn’t that what everybody wants?
The Crazy 8 Body Weight Circuit
This circuit was developed by Craig Ballantyne from Turbulence Training. It consists of 8 body weight exercises. The idea is that you complete the designated number of repetitions of the first exercise and then move immediately into the next exercise without rest. Once you complete the full circuit then you can rest for 60 seconds and repeat the circuit. If you’ve never worked out this way before it will tax your system, but if you complete this routine 2 or 3 times per week you will see improvement in your time and eventually you will get to the point where you can complete 3 full circuits before collapsing to the floor in complete exhaustion.
Here is the circuit:
1. 60 Jumping Jacks: Done as fast as possible, but make sure you do full jumping jacks.
2. 10 Spiderman Pushups: To do a Spiderman pushup you alternate bringing a knee to an elbow each time you go down. These can be pretty tough so feel free to substitute regular pushups or knee pushups depending on your fitness level.
3. 20 Lunges: This means 20 total steps, 10 for each leg.
4. 20 Spiderman Climbs: again, 10 per side. In pushup position, lock arms, then alternate bringing one foot to your hand.
5. Wall Squat: Do for 45 seconds. This hurts! Put your back against the wall, lower yourself into a squat position and hold it. Make sure your knees are at a 90 degree angle.
6. Plank: 60 seconds. This is a long time to hold a plank after everything else you have done. Do you best to hold it for 60 seconds. You will get stronger with time.
7. 5 Burpees: Start in a standing position. Drop down and do a pushup, spring your feet forward and then jump up and lift your knees as high as you can. Pure punishment at this point.
8. 50 High Knees: Try to do them as fast as possible. Just keep thinking to yourself, after this is done you get to rest.
If you think body weight circuits are the way for you then we’ve got a full 4-week program for you to download completely free. You can find this Turbulence Training download here: Workout Routine for Weight Loss. It provides a full 4-week program for all fitness levels using nothing but your body weight. It uses illustrations to introduce you to exercises you have probably never heard of (like the ‘Bird Dog’) and it even gives you some helpful diet tips. Craig Ballantyne has a lot more body weight circuits and some great fat loss advice. If you are interested in learning more about what Craig has to offer then follow the link above.
If you’ve never done body weight circuits then watch this video!
[Craig demonstrates a ‘members only’ bodyweight circuit that you can use at home.]
Ab Workout at Home:
We know a lot of women want to have a flat stomach and sexy abs, but be careful about what you spend your money on. The fact is, the biggest reason most people don’t have 6 pack abs is because of their diet. Most women will have to get under 20% body fat before defined abs will appear. Before focusing too much on your abs we highly recommend trying to lose access body fat.
With that said, working on your abs now can really help tighten your stomach once you have achieved your body fat % goal. The two exercises that we recommend are planks and lying leg raises.
Lying Leg Raises:
Lying leg raises are exactly what they claim to be. Lay flat on your back with your arms at your side. Slowly and in a controlled motion raise your legs until they are at a 90 degree angle with your torso. Then slowly lower your legs, again in a controlled motion. Right before your feet touch the ground begin to raise your legs again for the next repetition. Start with 5 sets of 10 repetitions. Over time, work your way up to 5 sets of 20 reps.
[This video shows an example of great form performing lying leg raises.]
Using Planks for Abs:
Planks are a great way to work your abdominal muscles because they do not put strain on your lower back like crunches can and they use your abs in the way they were meant to be used, for stabilizing your torso. Plank position is basically a pushup position where you hold yourself up with your forearms and elbows instead of your hands. Plank is a position that you hold for a designated period of time. The longer you hold the position the harder your abs have to work to stabilize your core. Start by trying to do three sets for 60 seconds. The third set will be much more difficult than the first. Gradually you will work your way up to 3 sets of two minutes each.
[Watch this video for a nice introduction to the plank position.]
Free Weight Workout at Home
Women who are accustomed to lifting with free weights and do not want to give that up can get a full workout at home with just an adjustable bench and a set of dumbbells. Combined with the knowledge of just a few lifts you can complete a killer weight training routine at home. Here are some of the key lifts you should become familiar with:
Incline Dumbbell Press
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
Dumbbell Triceps Kickback
We recommend completing 4-5 sets of 3-5 reps for each exercise above for muscles where you want to increase tone. For muscles where you want to increase size, then complete 5-6 sets of 8-12 reps. This may sound contradictory to what you’ve often heard, but it has been shown time and time again that severely fatiguing a muscle by doing 8-12 reps is more likely to lead to increased muscle size. The truth is, using heavier weights for fewer reps and plenty of rest between reps will actually increase your muscle definition without increasing muscle size.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Much of what we talk about in the abs workout for women as well as the free-weights workout was taught to us by Rusty Moore over at Fitness Black Book. Rusty has a full course designed specifically for women that provides a complete workout regiment, a 12 week cardio program, and he also teaches you everything you need to know about how to tone muscle or even reduce muscle mass in places that you think are too big. The best thing is that he also teaches you how to tweak his program so that you can do everything at home. You can learn more about this program here: Visual Impact for Women
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