The last time you went to the gym with a guy, you might have discovered something. It wasn't that Beyoncé's new clothing line really is eerily similar to Lululemon. It also wasn't that guys seem to only own shirts without sleeves when they train these days. You learned that you and the guys in your life have pretty dissimilar routines. Sure, the basics are all there for both of you. You do cardio, he does cardio. You use machines, he uses machines. You lift weights, he lifts weights. But there are some moves that he does by the weight rack that you never do. And we think there's a problem with that.
The old misconception that lifting weights makes women look like men has been disproved a million times. You're strong; you work out. So why aren't you doing the same moves as the guys? Let's debunk the myth even further and, with the help of top trainer Kendall Wood, NASM CSCS and coauthor of Core Fitness Solution, pick out two moves that guys do that women should also do to look even more fit than ever before.
The Preacher Curl
The very name of this move sounds sacrilegious but that's not why you avoid it. In fact, you probably don't do this move because of its reputation of building bigger peaks on the biceps. You're also bypassing it because the preacher bench is in that area where the sweatiest, noisiest, and biggest guys hang out. They think it's their spot, but that's a bad excuse to miss out on the benefits of this exercise.
Here's why you need to do this move: tight, toned arms for life! We figured that would get your attention.
Here's how to do it: sit on a preacher bench (yep, it looks a little like a pulpit), place your elbows on the pad facing away from you, holding a weighted bar with your palms up. Slowly curl the bar up to the top and slowly return all the way down to just above the weight rack.
Wood's expert tip: the preacher curl is all about positioning. Make sure your chest is against the pad and your seat isn't too high or low. Your body should make a 60-degree angle with the floor.
Let's be honest: the deadlift makes a day of back-breaking hard labor look like a day at the beach. It looks hard but that's not why you avoid it. You stay away from this move because your back already hurts enough and thinking about this move makes your lower back sore. You're probably also not doing this move because you don't want a big, manly bodybuilder's back. Interesting excuses, but without any real merit if you do the deadlift properly.
Here's why you need to do this move: total body strength; lower-back pain relief; a tighter butt; shapelier shoulders, arms, and legs — basically the move might just change your life.
Here's how to do it: standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down by bending your knees to almost 90 degrees, keeping your chest forward and not slouching your shoulders and back. Grab the bar in front of you with both hands, palms facing behind you and with a grip wider than shoulder width. Lift the bar by extending your hips and straightening your legs. Make sure to stand up straight at the end of the move by pulling your shoulders back.
Wood's expert tip: keeping your spine straight throughout this move is your key to success. Don't drop your shoulders or lean forward to account for the weight. Keep it simple: straight up and straight down.