5 Essential Movements to Master

When I see a new member begin a workout in a gym, she immediately heads for the arm curl machine, triceps machine, does some crunches, then spends way too much time on the treadmill or elliptical.

Now, I am always happy to see women get out of the aerobics class and into the gym, but their exercise choices won't help them lose weight, get stronger, or move better.

For this reason, I have come up with a list of 5 exercises which all women (and men, for that matter) should master.

Is this list definitive?  Nope.  There are many more movements which are important, but I tried to keep the list at 5 for reading's sake and for the sake of my hand, as I write with pencil and paper before I hit the computer.  I'm a bit old school.

Alright!  Onto the 5 exercises.  Drum roll please!

1. The Squat

Squatting strengthens the lower body and the core, as well as improves hip mobility.  Because the squat recruits the entire body into one movement, it is a great move for weight loss.

2. The Deadlift

I love, love, love the deadlift.  It doesn't matter which variation:  barbell, hex bar, RDL, sumo.  I guess you can say I like to "pick things up and put things down."  Planet Fitness would show me the back door.

Like the squat, the deadlift is great for strengthening the lower body, especially the posterior chain (hammies, glutes and back), and the core.  It is also a great exercise for fat loss due to its recruitment of many large muscles.

To put the lessons of the deadlift in the real world, it can teach you how to properly lift objects from the ground, such as grocery bags, boxes and babies.

3. The Pull Up/Chin Up

This is an exercise that elicits the most dread among women, and for good reason.  We women tend to be weaker here because we don't do pull ups and we are really working against gravity.  However, it is very important to be able to lift your own bodyweight.

The pull up strengthens the upper body and the core, as well as assist in weight loss.

4. Push Up

Like the pull up, the push up elicits groans from women.  Here again, women tend to be weak when it comes to push ups because we don't do them.  Like I said with the pull up, it's important to move your own bodyweight.

The push up doesn't just work the upper body, but, if done properly, it can help strengthen your core.

5. Overhead Press

I prefer to do these standing, as it will recruit the muscles of the core.

Not only is it important to be able to lift things over your head, it is also important to be able to control those items when you are bringing them down.  Think reaching for dishes or bowls in the cupboard or dealing with your carry on luggage in the overhead bins.

As I said before, this list is not the definitive list, but these are very important moves to master.  Get to it!