The trend of having a slim and fit body led to the creation of dozens of myths about diets and workout. Nowadays, personal trainers use their knowledge of physiology and the human anatomy to distinguish the best types of workouts for men and for women. The exercises that help men look terrific can actually have a completely opposite effect on women so it’s important to know which exercises are good for your body type.
Bright Side put together a “blacklist” of exercises that women should avoid if they want to get a beautiful body.
1. Exercises that enlarge the side abs
Side abs are connected to the lower ribs and go down to the pubic bone. They create the shape of our body. When working this group of muscles, you make them grow which means that you can forget about having a thinner waist.
Here are 3 exercises that are not recommended for women:
Bends with dumbbells
Lena Boone, a bodybuilder and an NPC Sunshine Classic winner, says that one of the most frequent mistakes women make is when they do different bends in the hopes of getting a thinner waist. She calls it “abs abuse.” When bending from side to side with dumbbells, you make your side abs grow. Try to avoid this exercise when working out.
Replace it with the “vacuum” exercise.
Suck in your stomach as much as you can. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then relax. In the beginning, it will be quite hard to do this exercise but when you learn to do it correctly and start doing it regularly, you will notice the results shortly.
An extension is an exercise where you bend your body on a special sloped bench. When doing this exercise, you cause your side abs to grow and your waistline will only get bigger.
Replace it with the plank.
The best alternative to get a flat tummy is the plank. This is a very simple exercise that you can easily do at the gym and at home. Stretch your body above the floor standing on your elbows and toes and hold it for a minute.
Squats with heavy weights
A popular channel of fitness for women, Workout, claims that when you do squats with heavy weights, you tone not only your glutes but also your abs and spine muscles which inevitably leads to the growth of your muscle mass around your waist.
Replace it with straight crunches.
To keep your body toned, do straight crunches. When lying on the floor, raise your upper body up slowly. Repeat a few times until you feel your muscles “burn.”
2. Exercises that enlarge the neck and shoulders
The trapezius muscle is a flat wide muscle which is located in the back of your neck and the upper part of your back. When working this group of muscles, you risk losing your thin neck and gaining a wide back. Anna Borisova, a master of sports of international class in body fitness and a vice-champion of the world in fitness-bikini competitions, advocated femininity and beauty on her YouTube channel, Fit4Woman. She recommends avoiding exercises that can enlarge the delicate female shoulders and hide the neck.
Here are 3 exercises that it’s recommended you exclude from your workout complex:
Shrugs with dumbbells or a barbell
A shrug is an exercise where you raise your shoulders with weights. This exercise is called isolated because an athlete can enlarge the trapezius muscle without involving other muscles. It sounds nice, but be careful since wide shoulders look good on men, not on women.
Replace it with wide push-ups.
It’s worth focusing on exercises that can accentuate your femininity. Wide push-ups, for example, are excellent for your pectoral muscles.
Tugging barbells or dumbbells to the chin
These types of exercises enlarge your trapezius muscle.
Replace it with arm lifts with dumbbells.
It is better to do arm lifts with dumbbells to tone your arm muscles. Choose weights that are comfortable for you, press your arms to your body, and lift them slowly to your shoulders.
Lifting dumbbells and barbells in front of you
When doing this exercise, follow this simple principle: don’t raise the weights higher than the level of your shoulders. The wrong positioning of your arms will inevitably involve the trapezius muscle.
Replace it with arms bends.
A common problem area for many women is the inner part of the arms called the tricep. Place your arms behind your head, put the palm of one arm to the elbow of the other and bend it slowly.
3. Exercises that make your legs bigger
The body curves similar to those of Kim Kardashian changed the standards of female beauty. Rounded glutes became trendy. This led to the rising popularity of many different types of squats and exercises with weights in the hopes that our muscles would grow bigger.
However, you should remember that there are no isolated exercises for glutes. When working out the lower part of your body, your legs are also involved, especially your quads.
Quads consist of 4 muscles. This is a very strong group of muscles which is inclined toward rapid growth in size.
If you want to have slim legs, you should exclude the following exercises:
Squats with heavy weights
We mentioned above that squats with heavy weights can ruin your waist. But it’s not only about your waist – it’s also about your legs. First, intensive exercises can make your hips look less feminine and bulky. Second, heavy weights can ruin not only your figure, but can also do harm to your knees and lower back, as well.
Replace them with squats without weights.
Do squats without weights or with small weights. Make sure that your feet are placed in the right position. Your knees should not go beyond your toes to involve your glutes in the workout.
Unbending legs on the exercise machine
There are dozens of ways how to do this exercise. However, it won’t help you slim your hips. The muscles of your legs will just get bigger.
Replace it with lunges.
Lunges are a great exercise for your lower body. Follow this technique: take a short, but deep step forward.
Pulling legs together on the exercise machine
Another common problem area for women is the inner thigh area. To get rid of fat on the inner thighs, women often pull their legs together on the exercise machine. Jamie Eason Middleton believes that this unnatural position of the body involves not only targeted muscles but also the joints that support them. It may not bring the expected results and can also be harmful.
Replace it with side lunges.
Side lunges are a great alternative as they’ll help you tone your adductor muscles.
Illustrator Dmitriy Plishkin for Bright Side