22 Men's Exercises Women Should Do
Kettlebell Leg Raises
Sure they might wear the same cut up t-shirt to the gym every day but there's one thing that the guys definitely get right: they're usually not afraid to hit the weights, lifting heavy and trying different moves. (Duly noted that this stereotype doesn't apply to all guys and girls.) And no worries, lifting like a dude will not make you look like a dude. To do this move and work your quads, shins and hip flexors, hook a kettlebell over your foot, bend your knee, and lift your leg straight up in front of you and then out to the side. Dude tip: Move slowly so you don't drop the 'bell and dent the floor.
This along with the chest press is often considered the ultimate "guy move" but not only do deadlifts work your hamstrings and low back like nothing else can, they have an added benefit for girls in that they help strengthen your pelvic floor. Take it from a girl who's had 5 kids: you want to do this. Stand with feet hip width apart in front of a loaded bar (don't be afraid to put heavy weights on that thing!). Grip the bar and keeping it close to your body, stand up. Good form is super important with this move so you don't get injured. Check out this video to see the whole range of motion or ask a personal trainer for help. Dude tip: Keep your chest and head up!
Women typically have a lot of strength in our lower bodies so work your quads and glutes with a heavy back squat. Start by standing in a squat rack (we're not using one in this picture because our gym wouldn't let us snap pics there but it is much safer). Come up under the center of the bar, with feet just wider than hip width and then stand up slowly. Take a step back, and then squat down to parallel, just like you're sitting in a chair. (Video) Dude tip: Do a free squat (not using a Smith machine) if possible as it makes you work much harder because you also have to stabilize and balance the weight in addition to squatting it.
Lying on your back, lift an Olympic bar (45 lbs) straight over your shoulders. Raise both legs up and then slowly lower them to one side. Touch your feet if you are flexible enough to do it while keeping your back on the floor. Raise them back up and lower to the other side. Dude tip: Keep your neck straight and look up at the ceiling, not your feet.
Compound movements like this one have the advantage of working lots of muscle groups - arms, shoulders, legs, back and butt - at the same time. With the bar on the ground in front of you, squat down, grip the bar and then in one explosive movement bring the bar up to your chin. Rotate your hands underneath the bar, squat a little bit and catch it on the top of your shoulders. (Video) Dude tip: drive the movement with your hips and legs, not your arms.
Clean and Press
A clean by itself is a great move but adding a press or a jerk to the top of the movement adds more work for your heart, shoulders and arms. Once you've cleaned the bar, stand up and press the bar above your head. (Video) Dude tip: keep your wrists straight, not bent like mine are in the picture (I know, I know - working on it!)
Clean and Jerk
Another variation on the clean is to do a "jerk" at the top to work your shoulders arms and legs. After you've cleaned the bar, jump your legs out into a lunge position and press the bar over your head. (Video) Dude tip: It's a little like rubbing your head and patting your tummy (guys totally say "tummy" right?) but don't be afraid to try it.
Sumo Squat to High Pull
To work your inner thighs, quads, butt and shoulders stand in front of the bar with feet wide and toes pointing out. Squat down, grip the bar, stand up and pull it all the way up shoulder height. (Video) Dude tip: Keep the bar close, just like you're shaving your chest. (Don't judge a guy for manscaping!)
Sure you can work your biceps with dumbbells or kettlebells but how much cooler does it look when you use the bar? Keeping your elbows close to your body, raise and lower bar in front of you. Dude tip: Try switching your grip for an added challenge for your forearms.
Planks are awesome for your core and rows give you that sexy back for backless dresses so why not try the two together? Start in a plank position with your hands on two kettlebells (dumbbells work great too). Keeping your elbow close to your body, lift one kettlebell up. Repeat on the other side. Dude tip: Try not to rotate your hips out when you lift the 'bell.
Work your back, legs, shoulder and arm with this one move. With the kettlebell on the floor between your feet, squat down to grab it with one hand and then in one smooth motion bring it up your body until your arm is straight above your head. (Video) Dude tip: You can do both arms at the same time!
I'm pretty sure that not all Turks are men and yet I rarely see women trying this move. But it's great for your arms, core, shoulder, legs and coordination so you should add this one to your list. Lay flat on your back with the kettlebell in your right hand. Press the kettlebell straight up and bend your right knee. Keeping the kettlebell above you, use your left arm to push yourself to a seated position. Bring your left leg behind you to a lunge and then stand up. (Video - if ever an exercise needed an explanatory video, it's this one) Dude tip: Keep your elbow locked out. Trust me, you do not want to conk yourself on the head with the kettlebell.
Squat Jump onto Box
Wonder Woman would approve of this leg-blasting plyometric. Stand in front of a squat box (or sturdy coffee table, step, or weight bench). Squat down, jump off both feet and land on top of the box. Jump off and repeat. Dude tip: You can jump higher than you think. Don't let the height of the box psych you out.
Get those guns in shape for hunting season (I'm allowed to say that in a dude post, right?) with this variation on the biceps curl. Place one leg on a box or weight bench. Prop the elbow of the same side on the inside of your knee. Raise and lower the dumbbell. Dude tip: You must point to your bicep with your free hand, just like Megan is doing here. Kissing your bicep is optional but encouraged.
These ropes aren't made for jumping but they will sure work your arms, shoulders and especially your core. Loop a heavy rope around something stable. Grab an end in each hand. Whip the ropes up and down. You can do your hands together or opposite (like I am in the picture). Dude tip: Aim to get the "waves" as close together as possible by moving your arms faster.
This is one way to re-rack your weights that will certainly get you noticed. Thankfully it will also work your shoulders and core as you walk a lap around the weight floor. Pick a fairly heavy weight plate and press it straight over your head. Keeping your elbows locked and your abs tight, walk 100 yards. Dude tip: If you use a dumbbell and you get tired, you can set it down and use it like a stool until you get your strength back enough to finish. (Okay, no dude would ever do that. But I totally would.)
Lay down on your back on a chest-press bench. With your hands directly over your elbows, grip the bar. Lift it off the rack and lower slowly until it either touches your chest or you hit 90 degrees (big-chested girls have the advantage here!). Press straight back up. Dude tip: Don't be afraid to ask for a spotter. Crushing your windpipe is very uncool.
Does it get any more masculine than dragging a tractor tire around? Once you discover how great this is for your legs and arms, you'll want to give those farm boys a run for their money. Grip the handles attached to the tire. Keep your elbows close to your body, lean forward and pull baby! Dude tip: Make your legs do most of the work, not your arms.
Using the same tractor tire (they usually weigh between 150-400 pounds), squat down and get your arms underneath it. Using your legs, raise it up and flip it over. Dude tip: Keep your chest close to the tire as you lift it so you don't strain your biceps.
Not just for demolition anymore, use this tool too work your arms, shoulders and core. Raise the hammer over your head and then slam it down on something (the tire works well) as hard as you can. Dude tip: Switch hands/sides every ten reps.
The favorite show-off move of dudes, girls can get in on this shoulder and lat burning action too. Stand underneath a bar. Reach up, grab on and pull yourself up. Even if you can't do a pull-up, try an assisted version by standing on a chair or by doing negatives. Dude tip: Try different grips like wide, narrow, chin-up and switch to work different muscles.