The Essential Body Part Women Ignore

One of the weakest areas in many women’s bodies are their hips. Many of us sit for a good portion of the day, which forces our hips into a crunched position. Maintaining a seated position for long periods of time can cause the muscles in our hips to shorten and tighten – particularly our hip flexors.

The role of our hips in day-to-day life is often overlooked. Our hips do SO MUCH. Hips are responsible for helping you maintain balance, walking correctly, lifting your leg and controlling the position of your knee.

Strengthening your hips can help you avoid injury and also assist in the prevention of osteoarthritis. The best way to keep injuries or arthritis at bay is to strengthen your hips. This is a quick hip workout you can do to start strengthening this forgotten – but necessary – body part.

Side-lying leg raises, with your toes pointed down, are an excellent movement to strengthen your hips.

Side-lying leg raises, with your toes pointed down, are an excellent movement to strengthen your hips.

***This workout uses a mini band for the lateral walk. These bands are inexpensive, very versatile and can be purchased from numerous locations. This is the band I use for training clients. (Disclaimer: if you click on this link and purchase a product linked from this site, it could result in a small amount of money for me.)

Strong Hips Workout:

10 Squats with Side Leg Raises

10 Reverse Lunges (per leg)

10 Single-Leg Glute Bridges (per leg)

10 Supermen

15 Side-Lying Leg Lifts (per leg)

15 Side-Lying Leg Lifts With Toe Pointed Down (per leg)

30 Sec. Plank

10 Wall Squats

30 Sec. Lateral Band Walk – per side

Repeat for a total of 3 times.

Finish up with some stretches – particularly the cobra stretch!

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When to Breathe During Strength Training Exercises

Recently, a client asked me about the timing of her breathing during a strength training workout. When should she exhale? Inhale? The easiest rule to remember during a strength training workout is to exhale when you are exerting force and inhale on the recovery. That’s easy to master – in theory. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what is the exertion portion of certain exercises. Let’s look at some popular strength training moves and identify when you should exhale and inhale.

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Why Are My Muscles Crazy Sore Two Days After a Workout?

Have you ever felt like your post-workout soreness was worse two days after your workout? You know the soreness I'm talking about - when it's hard to sit on the toilet or you feel every muscle in your abs when you laugh. If you are experiencing more intense soreness on day two following a workout, you are likely experiencing Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

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Beginner's Ultimate Guide to Strength Training

Starting a strength training program can be really intimidating. Before I became a trainer, I had no idea what areas of my body I should be training and how often I should train. The good news is that it's not as mysterious as it seems when you are standing in a gym staring at all of the equipment!

  • Strive to strength train a minimum of two, non-consecutive days. Your muscles need a day, or more, of rest in between sessions in order to repair themselves. Lifting weights damages muscle fibers (creates microscopic tears in the muscles you’ve worked), so rest days give your muscles time to reconstruct, recover and increase in size.
  • Strength training can be achieved by using your body weight, machines, free weights or various pieces of equipment such as medicine balls, swiss balls, BOSU, TRX, bands, etc.
  • Strive to do at least one set of 8-12 repetitions of 8-10 exercises that target the major muscle groups: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdomen, quadriceps and hamstrings. Check out the images below to help identify these muscle groups.
  • Set up a session with a personal trainer to help you come up with exercises that will target these muscle groups. If you are planning on strength training from home, you can still contact a personal trainer to help you create a program. I've met with a lot of clients who just need help getting started.
  • Adjust your weights according to the "two rep" rule. If the last two reps of an exercise aren't taxing, you might need to consider going heavier. If you can do dozens of reps at the weight you are using, you need to pick up the next heavier weight. In body weight exercises, you can add additional repetitions or modifications to your strength exercises to make them more challenging. For example, instead of doing push-ups on your knees, try to do some negative push ups on your toes. Remember that you don't want to increase everything at once: sets, number of workout sessions, repetitions, weight, etc. Pick one area to increase at a time. 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has a wonderful brochure that will share more information with you.