It is important for women to do functional training. Or, stated another way, you should train for the way you want to live (train movements, not just muscles). It is important to shape your butt, hips, thighs and arms. But, it is more important to train in a way that improves your quality of life.
For example, if you are going on a hiking expedition, you need to tailor your exercise program to get your body ready for that activity. Just walking 30 minutes a day won’t get your body in shape to hike hills and trails.
First, you need to strengthen and stabilize your core area. The saying “you are only as strong as your weakest link” is true in the case of the human body. All movement begins with the core so you better strengthen it. And, the majority of powerful movements are either initiated or transfer through the body’s core area. Many injuries can also be linked to a weak core area.
Here are some tips to follow during functional training:
1. Your body needs to be stabilized and strengthened before progressing to high-speed power exercises. If this is not done, you are headed for certain injury when more intense exercises are introduced. Along the same lines, you should perform an exercise correctly before progressing to power exercises. Full body strength training is a great place to start preparing your body for the challenges ahead. Vary your exercises using dumbbells, medicine balls, stability balls, bodyweight exercises and resistance band exercises.
2. Most core exercises should be performed in a standing position if you participate in sports or races. These exercises will also involve the important hip stabilizer muscles and not just the abdominals. A great full-body core exercise is the medicine ball chop.
3. The core exercises should be in all planes of motion, multi-dimensional and progressive. Many of your daily movements involve twisting, rotating, turning, squatting, bending over, etc. The exercises should also constantly challenge and improve your endurance and balance.
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