Alternative Exercises for Women

by Jessica B. | September 28th, 2012 | Assorted Workouts, Cardio

There are a few machines at the gym that can help you work on both toning your upper body and building your stamina. Men, at least at my gym, constantly occupy many of these machines. Women seem to be afraid that if they work out their upper body too much, they will only add bulk. This is not true. In fact, if you vary your cardio workout with some upper body cardio, you will see results faster and build muscle tone all over.

1) Rowing machine – I know, I know, you cannot plug your headphones in and listen to the TV while you are on the rowing machine. But download some good tunes, or a fun podcast, and start enjoying your workout. Rowing, it if is new to you, will give you some aches and pains. But it is a great upper body, in fact pretty much entire body workout. It will help you build stamina and increase tone in your arms. Take a look at the Olympic kayakers; their arms were solid, but not professional body builder arms.

2) Arm bicycle – These little machines are set up so you can pump your arms much like you pump your legs when you ride a bike. Ideal for people who are limited in mobility, the arm bicycle is still a useful tool for building upper body strength and stamina. If you haven’t worked with something similar before, you will not be able to use this for a long period of time, but give it some time. Try five minutes in between different weight lifting machines to keep your body warm. This will also help you to build tone without bulking up too much.

3) The elliptical – OK, these seem to be a little more female friendly, and you can easily plug your headphones in and watch your DVDs or whatever. But sometimes this means people get a bit lazy. It is easy to just set an easy pace and not push yourself. If you want to turn this into an upper body workout, you need to use your arms. Make sure you are making at least 30 per cent of the effort with your upper body.

4) Push-ups – Yes, these are the standard upper body building exercise, but done in quick repetition, they are also great for cardio. Imagine a military captain insisting you drop and give them 20 as fast as you can. This is a great way to get your heart rate up or keep it up.

5) Create a series of activities – Ideally variation is the best for a workout. Try to put these five activities together to create a perfect upper body cardio workout. Start with 10 minutes on the rowing machine, then 5 minutes on the arm bicycle, ten minutes on the elliptical, and then 2 -3 on pushups. Then begin your cycle again.

  1. How about TRX? We’ve seen a lot of our female clients improve their strength since we became TRX certified.

    Plus like you say, the men are busy using machines and have no idea what TRX is. I’d suggest all readers find a local gym that offers TRX and give it a try!

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