Body Sculpting Exercises Women Can Do at Home to Build Muscle
by Jesica Salyer, Demand Media
Taking your workout to a gym is not the only way to effectively build muscle as a woman. With some space and a few free weights, you can challenge and strengthen your body so that it becomes more sculpted and muscular. Remember, diet is one half of the equation in gaining muscle. Make sure you eat plenty of lean protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats to fuel your body properly so that it’s able to replenish itself and grow.
Though body weight exercises will allow you to strengthen your muscles, you will witness more noticeable results if you use extra weight. Having a dumbbell or kettlebell at home can mean endless possibilities for your workouts. Start with a moderate size weight — at least 15 lbs. You want this weight to challenge you, as lifting too light will not help you sculpt your body. According to “Fitness” magazine, increase the weight you lift, not the reps, to increase your strength. In addition to having weights handy, find a spacious area in your home that allows a range of movement.
Deadlift to Upright Row
Your focus should be on integrating moves that target your upper and lower body, simultaneously. An effective example of this is performing a deadlift into an upright row. Start upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping your dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands. Bend forward at the waist, bending your knees slightly as you come down. Bring the weight down to the ground, then use your hamstrings to pull it back up. As you become upright, pull the weight up to your chest by elevating your elbows. These moves target your hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and back. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.
Squat to Shoulder Press
A squat into a shoulder press is a move that will help sculpt and build your quadricep, hamstring, glute, lower back and shoulder muscles. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding your weight to your chest. Bend your knees and drop your butt down so that your knees are above your toes. Drive your weight down through your heels and push your body up. As you come up, extend your arms and push the weight upward. Maintain good form by keeping your shoulders back and chest out throughout the entire movement. Complete that sequence 15 times. Do three sets.
Lunges with a Twist
Weighted lunges are highly effective at sculpting and building your hamstrings and glutes. When combined with a twist, this move becomes a full-body exercise. Start with your weight in hand and arms extended in front of you. Take a large step forward, bend your knees and let your butt sink down. While in this tense position, rotate your torso and bring the weight to one side of your body. You should feel tightness in the top of your shoulders and your obliques. Repeat starting with your other leg, bringing the weight to the other side. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.
Lunges are very effective at targeting your thighs, especially your hamstrings. Start by taking a large step forward with your right leg, then dip your butt down. Your right leg should form a 90-degree angle. Drive your weight down through your heel to push your body back to a standing position. Repeat this move using your left leg. Form is important to make this move effective. Focus on keeping your torso upright as you lunge. Also, do not let your knee surpass your toe, as this would welcome knee injury. Aim to do three sets of 16 repetitions.
Squat Jump it Up
Squats are one of the single-most effective exercises to target your quadriceps. Transforming the squat move into a jump supercharges the effectiveness of this move in reshaping your legs by also incorporating your calf muscles. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and drop your butt down so that your knees are over your toes. Drive your weight downward through your heels to propel your body upward, becoming airborne for a moment. You should feel a burn in the front of your thighs after three sets of 10 repetitions.
Deadlifts are a move that can be done with either a dumbbell, barbell or kettlebell. This move helps reshape your hamstrings and glutes. Start by standing upright with your legs shoulder-width apart, holding your weight in front of you. With your back arched and shoulders back, bend at the waist. Bring the weight down to the ground, then pull your torso upright again. You can also start this move by raising up on your toes to incorporate your calf muscles. After three sets of 15 repetitions, your hamstrings and glutes should feel tight.
Laying Leg Curl
You can isolate and reshape your entire backside by practicing this move. Your hamstrings and glutes should feel tight after performing this move. Start by laying down on your stomach with your legs extended and your arms out to either side of you for balance. In a controlled movement, lift your toes off the ground, bringing them closer to your butt. Then, tighten your butt in order to lift your thighs off the ground. Lift them up as high as you can then slowly relax them and bring your toes back to the ground. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.
Cardio for Legs
In addition to implementing resistance training into your efforts to reshape your legs, engage in cardiovascular activity. According to “Fitness” magazine, “One of the best ways to maximize fat loss and get more out of your aerobic training is to vary both the duration and intensity of your cardio workouts.” You can accomplish this by varying the types of cardio you do. The treadmill, stair stepper and elliptical trainer are three effective pieces of indoor cardio equipment. Mix it up by taking a few walking or running workouts outdoors. Aim to incorporate three cardio workouts per week into your routine.
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