I talk so often about the importance of building muscle for women that I often find it hard to believe that there is anyone left in the digital world who isn’t rolling their eyes when I start on the subject. In spite of my passionate rants, though, a lot of people out there seem unwilling to start. A quick scan through some of my other posts on this blog should reassure you about the whole “putting on too much muscle” thing, and I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, every physique you admire and want to emulate was almost certainly built using weights. Still, what I often don’t do is just give straightforward, actionable advice that you could get up from your desk right now and make use of.
By way or righting this terrible wrong on my part, here they are; the three core moves your training should never be without. Whatever else you do with your training, build it around these fitness and physique game-changers:
Even if your legs are so short you could paint yourself orange and audition for a part in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they’re still the biggest muscle group in your body. Changes to your body composition in one are affect the rest of the body, so if you could manifest changes in the biggest muscle group in your body, that’s going to have the most far-reaching effect from a metabolic perspective. This alone would constitute a great enough reason to do squats on a regular basis in my opinion, but it doesn’t end there.
Just to be clear, when I talk about squats here, I’m not referring to those things you do out in the park, or in your Les Mills class. I’m talking about getting under some iron and making your legs work. I’m talking about eight or ten reps that leave you gasping for air. Are we on the same page?
Maintaining good posture, keeping your chest up, your back straight, that’s also going to see your core get thoroughly engaged. What’s the second biggest muscle group in your body? Yeah, that’s right. Your core.
Want to drop heaps of fat? Go squat.
First of all, everything I said about the squat also applies to the deadlift. Muscles you didn’t directly target in your legs and core with the squat are going to get hammered with this lift, but there’s other stuff that makes it even cooler.
Have you ever needed to pick anything up off the ground? If you answered “no” to that I think you need to rethink. Just today I’ve picked up three bags of shopping, a lawnmower, and a three year old child. That was all before lunch, and I don’t think it was an exhaustive list. Part of being a person living on planet Earth is regularly having to manually relocate items of all shape and size. The deadlift not only represents a shortcut to a jealousy-inspiring physique, it also makes you really good at picking stuff up and moving it. It promotes physique and performance. Today I had to pick up my little boy because he fell off his bike and was crying. A woman who deadlifts regularly could easily pick up a spouse who fell off his bike and was crying, whilst still rocking that lean, toned look.
Want to get ten times stronger than you look? Go Deadlift.
This much maligned movement isn’t what people imagine it to be. To begin with, whilst it will build strength in your shoulders, it’s unlikely to build you huge and broad shoulders on its own. So if you don’t want huge and broad shoulders, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
Performed correctly, it will build strength in your shoulders and core. We already know why anything that hits your core is good, but why the shoulders?
Let me ask you this; have you ever successfully picked something up without using your shoulders and core?
There you have it. The shoulder press improves the quality of muscles that assist in the other moves I mentioned above. It’s a great move in its own right, but as a supplementary move, it will also improve your deadlift. And an improved deadlift means improved results from your deadlift. And I know you want results. That’s why you read this far, isn’t it?
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