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5 total-body moves for Women’s Health and Fitness Day

Last Modified: 9/30/2020

Womens fitness

With more than 15 years of fitness instruction and training experience, Kim Cowan, performance specialist, Parkview Sports Medicine, was the perfect source for five functional exercises to get ladies moving for Women’s Health and Fitness Day. As a bonus, she even offered a couple of advanced modifications for those sessions when you want to progress to something more difficult. These moves are great for women looking to improve core strength, leg strength, shoulder strength and overall muscle tone (no equipment required).

Bodyweight squat

Squats are an essential, functional movement that targets several major muscle groups in your legs.

Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings

Sets/repetitions: 3 sets of 10-15 reps


  • Keep feet shoulder-width apart
  • Knees should trail your feet
  • Knees should never go over your toes

See how it’s done:

Bodyweight dip

Dips are great for building strength and toning the triceps (back of the upper arm), shoulders and engaging your core.

Muscles targeted: Triceps, shoulders

Sets/repetitions: 3 sets of 10-15 reps


  • Find an elevated platform like a sturdy coffee table or chair
  • Beginners can start with knees at a 90-degree angle to help disperse some of your bodyweight off your arms
  • To increase the difficulty, straighten your legs

See how it’s done:

Glute bridge

This exercise targets both the glutes and hamstrings, as well as your core muscles, while also typically being friendly to those who may be dealing with lower back pain.

Muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, core

Sets/repetitions: 3 sets of 10-15 reps


  • Arms at your side, feet close to your body
  • Push through your heels to raise your pelvis as high as possible
  • Keep your knees in line with your feet
  • To increase the difficulty, raise one leg in the air and push off with the other leg

See how it’s done:



A classic core exercise, planks help you learn to stabilize your core and lower back muscles while also building shoulder strength.

Muscles targeted: Core, lower back, shoulders

Sets/repetitions: Hold for 1-3 sets of 15-60 seconds


  • Keep feet hip-width apart
  • Elbows should be directly under the shoulders
  • Keep a neutral spine, keep hips up and don’t let your lower back sag
  • To increase the difficulty, put your palms on the floor with wrists below shoulders for a high plank

See how it’s done:


Lunges are another great exercise for working major lower body muscle groups while also improving balance and building the muscles that stabilize your body. Front, reverse and side lunges are all variations of this simple but effective exercise

Muscles targeted: Glutes, quads

Sets/repetitions: 3 sets of 5-10 reps per leg


  • Keep feet hip-width apart
  • Keep shoulders over hips – no leaning back or forward
  • During side lunges, sit your hips back so knees do not go over toes

See how it’s done:

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