STRENGTHENS

SHOULDERS (POSTERIOR DELTOIDS), UPPER BACK

STARTING POSITION

Sit on a bench with your feet together at a 30-degree forward bend from your hips. Keep your arms extended with your elbows unlocked and your shoulders back and down toward your hips, allowing the dumbbells to hang down naturally below your shoulders (A). Maintain a slight arch in your lower back throughout the movement.

MOVEMENT

With a natural upward movement from your torso, open your arms outward with very little change in your elbow angle (B). HARD
Pause at the top with your shoulders contracted back and your arms at shoulder height.
Slowly lower your arms back to the start, returning to a 30-degree bend (A). EASY

women's health - REVERSE DUMBBELL FLY

Why It’s Perfect for You

This is an incredibly important exercise for optimal shoulder function and injury prevention. Beyond that, it makes the back of your shoulders look great and targets the trouble zone in the back of the arms by strengthening the upper region of your triceps. You’ll also get rid of bra bulge under the arm and around the back.


STRENGTHENS

TRICEPS

STARTING POSITION

Using the double-rope attachment, face the cable column with your feet together, knees slightly bent, a natural arch in your lower back, and your shoulders back and down. Press the rope down so that your arms begin straight with your hands separated as much as possible. Allow a slight bend in your wrists in this position (A).

MOVEMENT

Keeping your shoulders anchored down, slowly bend your elbows, keeping your upper arms perpendicular to the floor (B). EASY
Pause with your elbows bent and forearms just above parallel to the floor.
Activate your triceps to press the rope down to the starting position with your hands separated (A). HARD

women's health - ALTERNATIVE ROPE PRESSDOWN

Why It’s Perfect for You

This is a great alternative to the previous movement, the Overhead Rope Extension. This movement has less time under tension but allows for greater attention on the upper region of your triceps. This option is great if you don’t love the staggered stance or overhead position of the Overhead Rope Extension or if you have any shoulder issues.


STRENGTHENS

ABS AND CORE, SHOULDER GIRDLE

STARTING POSITION

Using the captain’s chair, prop yourself high with your elbows under your shoulders. Aggressively reach your head up toward the ceiling to maintain an energetic lift (A). This creates the ideal foundation from your shoulder girdle.

MOVEMENT

Bring your knees forward and upward by contracting your abs and without using momentum (B). HARD
Pause with your knees at chest height. Your pelvis should tuck under and pull away from the pad just a tiny bit.
Slowly lower your legs back to a straightened, hanging position (A). EASY

women's health - HANGING KNEE-UP

Why It’s Perfect for You

This. Will. Make. You. STRONG.
While this exercise is for your abs and core, there is a secondary benefit that comes from propping yourself up in the chair. By aggressively extending upward, you will be pushing with the muscles at the base of your shoulder blades. This improves shoulder-girdle stability. Also, the action of extending toward the ceiling strengthens the area under the arm and around the back that causes bra bulge.


STRENGTHENS

ABS (RECTUS ABDOMINIS, TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS)

STARTING POSITION

Using a 55- or 65-centimeter physioball, from your knees, place your elbows directly under your shoulders and clasp your hands. This is your foundation, so take your time to set this up strongly. Step back into a plank position with your feet 2 to 4 inches apart. draw inward with your abs, but keep a natural curve in your lower back and avoid flattening it.

MOVEMENT

Hold this position for the time noted in your 90-day training program. You can either use a stopwatch or try your best to count it out in your head.

women's health - PLANK ON BALL

Why It’s Perfect for You

This is the ultimate functional exercise for core stability and spine support. Its origin is from the world of physical therapy, and it is very important for alignment.


STRENGTHENS

ABS (RECTUS ABDOMINIS, TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS)

STARTING POSITION

Using a 55- or 65-centimeter physioball, sit on the front quadrant, holding a weight plate across your chest (A). See the inset for how to hold the plate.

MOVEMENT

From the upright seated position, engage your abs and slowly rotate backward as you allow the ball to counterrotate under you just a little bit (B). EASY
Pause on the back end at the point where you feel solid pressure in your core, where you are balanced but not straining.
Squeeze your abs to pull yourself back up to the starting position (A), allowing the ball to counterrotate back to the start. HARD

women's health - WEIGHTED BALL FLEXION

Hold the plate, 5 to 10 pounds, high on your chest.

women's health - WEIGHTED BALL FLEXION

Why It’s Perfect for You

This is one of the only weighted core exercises I like for most women. It’s a great way to truly strengthen your core in a functional and aesthetic manner. It will make you stronger by forcing you to balance while you flex up and back.



STRENGTHENS

ALL FOUR AB MUSCLES THAT COLLECTIVELY FORM YOUR CORE

STARTING POSITION

Lie on the floor, contract your abs, and bring your elbows and knees together over your torso (A).

MOVEMENT

Extend your left leg outward to a 45-degree angle from the floor, and bring your right knee in toward you. Simultaneously twist and bring your left elbow to your right knee (B). HARD
Pause with your left elbow and right knee touching or as close as possible.
Keeping a contracted position with your shoulders off the floor, immediately switch your elbows and knees so that your right leg extends out and your left knee bends inward. Simultaneously cross your right elbow over to your left knee to complete the movement on the opposite side (C). HARD
Continue alternating your elbows and knees for the entire set. This means that your torso stays in a contracted position with your shoulders off the floor for the whole set.

women's health - BICYCLE

Why It’s Perfect for You

This is the mack daddy of core movements because it incorporates all the major muscles of your torso. This move creates tightness with some definition, not rigid, sculpted, bodybuilder-style ab muscles. It also serves a very important functional purpose by strengthening the transversus abdominis muscle that supports your spine.


STRENGTHENS

ABS (RECTUS ABDOMINIS, TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS)

STARTING POSITION

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and hands resting behind your ears. draw inward with your abs (A).

MOVEMENT

initiate action from your core and simultaneously bring your elbows and knees together, attempting to touch them above your navel (B). HARD
Pause at the highest point and contract your abs deeply.
Slowly release, lowering your upper and lower body simultaneously, allowing your arms to return to the starting position in contact with the floor (A). EASY

women's health - ALL FOURS CRUNCH

Why It’s Perfect for You

This is a great basic movement that strengthens torso flexion. Crunch-type movements are valuable for both core contractibility and appearance as long as other core movements complement them. This is the only traditional crunch of the five core movements in this section.
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