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Ladies Lift: 5 Exercises Every Woman Should Do

It can be intimidating to leap into the pit of iron and sweat, but the benefits are undeniable. These five lifts will earn you a spot in the rack, and deliver a healthy dose of respect.

Ladies, the time has come to descend from the ivory tower of the women's workout room at your comfortable gym, step up to the platform, and get under a barbell. It's time to put down the chrome dumbbells (I know, I know, they're "helping you tone"), and pick up some actual weight. You'll get better, faster results.

Some women give heavy lifting a bad rap. Let me ease your worried mind: No, it will not make you "bulky." No, it will not make you "look like a dude." And no, it will not suddenly push your testosterone to chest-hair-sprouting levels. Lifting to your limits—safely and with good form—will boost your metabolism, develop and define your muscles, and improve your overall strength.

Even if you're not interested in becoming a bikini pro, powerlifter, or something in between, you should be concerned with the longevity and reliability of your body. That's where these basic compound lifts come into play. They make you stronger and more athletic. They tighten the mind-muscle connection. They breed mental toughness.

No matter your age or fitness level, adding these lifts to your regimen will make you feel great, knowing full well the incredible things your body suddenly can do.

Exercise 1//

The deadlift may be the single-best movement for increasing your overall strength level. What could be more functional than lifting a heavy weight off the ground?

A sumo deadlift resembles a regular deadlift, except your feet are wide and turned out, and your hands grasp the barbell in a close grip. Sumo deadlifts are great for women because they require more leg strength than back strength. Low hips and wide legs, plus a low center of gravity, make sumo deadlifts an excellent hip, glute, and leg workout.

Added Bonus: No need to wait for hubby to get home to move furniture. Lift heavy household items on your own! Plus, after you've rocked the deadlift, you'll never fear another barbell lift.

Exercise 2//

Front squats make you a better overall lifter and athlete. Because the weight is held at the front of your body rather than behind your neck, your base, core, and legs all grow accustomed to gettin' low.

Front squats put less pressure on the spine, allowing you to do the movement with your spine in a more natural position. If your back is in poor shape, front squats are better than back squats. Although you won't be able to lift as much weight as you would in a back squat, you'll still get intense training.

Added Bonus: Power comes from your base. Strengthen it, and you'll someday rule the world. Also, getting down in the gym means you can get down on the dance floor.

Exercise 3//

You want a muscular back that makes your waist look smaller? You want to increase your upper body strength? You want to be able to save yourself if you're dangling off a cliff face? You need pull-ups.

Most women have weaker upper-body strength and carry their weight in their booty and thighs. Our pear-shapes make pull-ups extremely difficult. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do modified pull-ups that will give you the same benefits until you're strong enough to do them without assistance. Use a weight-assisted machine, a band, kip, or swing. Any of these variations will increase your strength and develop some wicked musculature.

Added Bonus: You'll look totally bad-ass in the gym. How many other women do you see doing pull-ups?

Exercise 4//

The push press is not only fun, but it will also help develop those much-sought-after sexy shoulders. If you're unfamiliar with the exercise, it might take a few tries to ace the movement. Once you do, you'll never look back.

Push presses are great because you can feel your energy usage: it comes from the floor and goes all the way up to your hands. This movement primarily hits your shoulders, but you'll use your legs, core, and back as well.

Added Bonus: The push press can give your coordination a major boost, and it also transfers well to all types of athletics. Plus, you'll look so awesome doing it that you'll have Dudley Dude-Bro asking for a spot.

Exercise 5//

We're focusing here on exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time, not machine motions that painstakingly work your body one-single-freaking-muscle at a time. You've got places to be, right? Once you've got the hang of it, the hang snatch is one of the best full-body movements on the planet.

Although it requires a fair amount of coordination and balance, the hang snatch isn't so difficult that you need a Ph.D. in Olympic lifting. You'll push with your legs, pull and push with your upper body, and use your core to maintain balance and control. Throwing weight over your head increases speed, strength, and power.

Working on the hang snatch can help you learn a good full extension, develop a stronger mind-muscle connection, and increase your coordination for other, more difficult movements. Keep working on the hang snatch, and sooner or later you'll be saying, "Power cleans? Clean and jerks? No problem!"

Added Bonus: Get this one down, and you'll feel so strong that "tough," "hardcore," and "warrior princess," will be the necessary descriptors.


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About The Author

Cassie Smith is a writer/editor for Bodybuilding.com and former professor & college athlete. Find out more about her right here.

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emilysingan

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emilysingan

I've always been doing no. 1, 2 and 3

Sep 27, 2012 6:22pm | report
 
Jarhead224

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Jarhead224

Unless you are an experienced lifter, I would highly disagree with number 5 as an appropriate exercise for women, as it has a high risk of injury if done incorrectly. I would suggest very very light weight if all beginners are to perform this exercise, or to change to a completely different exercise that may produce similar results.

Sep 27, 2012 9:30pm | report
 
justinromano

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justinromano

I agree.. the snatch is known as the 2nd hardest thing to do. the 1st thing is hitting a fast ball. haha

but like you said experienced lifters are the only ones who should be trying this move.. unless, of course, you're working with a trainer or coach.

Sep 27, 2012 9:53pm | report
DerekStauffer

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DerekStauffer

Snatches are fun but I have bad form so after getting a sore shoulder and back I decided to drop them out of my routine

Sep 28, 2012 1:36am | report
ashthorn

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ashthorn

I also agree, its a highly risky exercise that not "every" woman should do, unless they are highly experienced.

Sep 28, 2012 5:26pm | report
ballaj2001

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ballaj2001

I was just about to make that comment ...

And my Body Stats are way off but I'm not fixing them lol ... They still suck though

Sep 28, 2012 7:09pm | report
Mike185

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Mike185

In my gym there were plastic pipes that everyone was able to practice with. I do think that anyone would be able to do this as long as they start with little to no weight, using these plastic pipes to learn proper form.

Sep 29, 2012 10:40am | report
meangela010

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meangela010

Agreed with everyone above, before you do ANY new exercise you should practice it without weight, then slowly increase the weight so that you get the form down. form first!

Sep 30, 2012 10:42am | report
bouboula

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bouboula

Totally agree with you. It takes years to master it and you also need flexible shoulders. You'r more likelly to get hurt than benefit from it.

Oct 8, 2012 6:54am | report
fightingforfit

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fightingforfit

100% agree. reading that last exercise i was like, are you kidding me? It definitely requires an experienced trainer and spotter to benefit from that exercise and to avoid injury

Oct 19, 2012 10:16am | report
joolyah

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joolyah

no chest exercises? Those feet ain't gonna be the only things hitting the dance floor if you don't get some lift behind those titties....

Sep 28, 2012 12:33am | report
 
Ocir

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Ocir

Chest exercises are good for the beach only. you want overall performance improvement, go with the snatch or clean.

Sep 28, 2012 8:05am | report
MyZ318

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MyZ318

haha....the article says adding these to your regimen. Hopefully you got the chest exercises going already, though it would've helped to add one in this article as many women neglect those exercises as well.

Sep 28, 2012 11:53pm | report
MyZ318

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MyZ318

haha....the article says adding these to your regimen. Hopefully you got the chest exercises going already, though it would've helped to add one in this article as many women neglect those exercises as well.

Sep 29, 2012 1:07am | report
ilovemuscle29

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ilovemuscle29

And a good multi-vit!! Cha cha!!

Dec 2, 2012 1:31pm | report
jmaxeden

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jmaxeden

great article!

Sep 28, 2012 8:50am | report
 
dreambig1993

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dreambig1993

Already having my women I help on these! Glad I'm doing good! Great tips

Sep 28, 2012 10:30am | report
 
herrerota

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herrerota

I love all the exercises, i'll do them tomorrow for sure!! Thank you!!

Sep 28, 2012 11:33am | report
 
BigMoney247

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BigMoney247

Guess next week I will add these to my workout

Sep 28, 2012 11:39am | report
 
gorana

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gorana

Not for beginners!!

Article Rated:
Sep 28, 2012 12:14pm | report
 
Holly444

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Holly444

I'm an experienced lifter and a personal trainer, and I wouldn't try the hang snatch without another coach or experienced trainer helping me learn it. It's a difficult lift and takes a lot of step by step instruction and practice to get it perfect. Be safe everyone!

Sep 28, 2012 1:15pm | report
 
Muscle Mania Matt

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Muscle Mania Matt

A full snatch maybe, but a hang snatch is a cinch and an experienced coach or trainer should have no difficulty with it. The article wasn't title "5 lifts every novice should do", but was aimed at women in general. The hang snatch allows you to train powerful triple extension, and if you lack the mobility to successfully do it with a barbell, then do it one handed with a dumbbell. I've never met anyone that I couldn't get doing that correctly the first time.

Sep 28, 2012 1:54pm | report
ncrowsey9

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ncrowsey9

This is perfect. My wife has been getting jealous because I have all the information available that I need to get awesome workouts designed for the goals I want to achieve. Now, I can get my wife involved! This is perfect for what she's wanting to achieve. She is already slender, but just wants more strenght in her legs and upper body. This looks like it'll work perfect for her!

Sep 28, 2012 2:16pm | report
 
cassie1162

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cassie1162

Glad you like it! More to come.

Sep 28, 2012 2:22pm | report
DSM2

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DSM2

How people avoid scratches at legs doing sumo dead lift? The right way of doing the movement requires the bar going along the legs and very often it scratches legs below knees very badly

Sep 28, 2012 5:02pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 48 Comments

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