The 10 Best New Exercises for Women
And that's why I wrote The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. From start to finish, this makeover manual bulges with full-color photos of more than 600 exercises, along with scores of cutting-edge workouts from the world's top trainers. All to give you thousands of ways to upgrade your old workout—and sculpt the body you've always wanted. You can start today, with this list of the best new exercises for every part of a woman's body.
How to do it: Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight, but place your hands on a Swiss ball instead of the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Tighten your core and hold it that way for the duration of the exercise. Lift one foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can without changing your lower-back posture. Then repeat with your other leg. Alternate back and forth for 30 seconds. If that's too hard, place your hands on the floor or a bench.
How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor [A]. Now brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees [B]. Pause for 3 to 5 seconds—squeezing your glutes tightly the entire time—then lower back to the start.
How to do it: Hold a dumbbell in your right hand next to your shoulder, with your arm bent [A]. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your left knee nearly touches the floor [B]. Push yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep. Do all your reps, then repeat with your left leg, while holding the weight in your left hand.
How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold them at arm's length in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Now raise one leg off the floor [A]. Without changing the bend in your knee, keep your back naturally arched, bend at your hips, and lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor [B]. Pause, then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward, and raise your torso back to the starting position.
How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and lie on your back on a flat bench. Hold the dumbbell over your chest with your arm straight. Your palm should be facing out, but turned slightly inward. Place your right hand on your abs [B]. Lower the dumbbell to the side of your chest. Pause, then press the weight back to the start. Do all your repetitions, then repeat on your right side.
How to do it: Stand holding a pair of dumbbells with your feet shoulder-width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arm's length next to your sides, your palms facing each other [A]. Without changing the bend in your elbows, raise your arms at an angle to your body (so that they form a ''Y''), until they're parallel to the floor [B]. At the top of the movement, shrug your shoulders upward [C]. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to the start, and repeat.
How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on a Swiss ball that your middle and upper back are on the ball. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold the dumbbells over your forehead, with your arms straight and your palms facing each other [A]. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until your forearms are beyond parallel to the floor [B]. Pause, then lift the weights back to the start.
How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and place one foot in front of you on a bench or step that's just higher than knee level. Let the dumbbells hang at arm's length next to your sides, your palms facing forward [A]. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders [B]. Pause, then slowly lower the weights back to the start.
How to do it: Lie facedown on top of a Swiss ball so your back is flat and your chest is off the ball. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders, your palms facing behind you [A]. Keeping your elbows flared out, lift your upper arms as high as you can by bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your upper arms should be perpendicular to your torso [B]. Without changing your elbow position, rotate your forearms up and back as far as you can [C]. Pause, then reverse the movement. If you can do more than 12 repetitions, use dumbbells.
How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor with your left leg straight and flat on the floor. Your right knee should be bent and your right foot flat. Place your hands palms-down on the floor underneath the natural arch in your lower back [A]. Slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor, without bending your lower back or spine, and hold this position for 7 to 8 seconds, breathing deeply [B]. That's one rep. Do 4 to 5 reps, then switch legs and repeat.
Learn more about The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises and where to buy the book.
What area of your body do you need Adam's help with? Leave your comments below.
20 reasons you should be lifting weights
Training 101: Adam answers your most-asked questions about lifting