Did you know that men and women should be training differently?

While there is no doubt that women can certainly stack up to men in every single way, the reality is that we may benefit from doing different types of exercise/s for a few reasons including our hormones, anatomy and physiology.

For example, women generally have more estrogen which means that we have less reliance on glycogen when working out which affects fat burning.

We also have several hormonal changes through the month and exercise plans may need to change as a result.

For example, in the first half of a cycle a female will often feel strong and perform well so we will respond better to a heavy stimulus. In the second half however we may feel more fatigued and suffer from a change in mood.

Additionally, due to our structure some exercises are better for us than others. Women tend to have wider hips for example, have a naturally greater anterior pelvic tilt which can affect the posterior chain and more.

Women have several hormonal changes through the month and exercise plans may need to change as a result.

There’s no point in wasting your workout and not getting the best out of it. High-intensity interval training, better known as, HIIT is the best way to get fit, feel good and look good, especially when the prescribed exercises are tailored to you.

We spoke to co- founder of ZADI Training, Adala Bolto about what the best exercises are for women and why.

According to Adala, “These are some of the foundation exercises that all women should master for maximum results and if you master them, they will assist with other movements of your everyday living, so you can start to move more efficiently at any age and to add more variety into your workouts with less risk of injury or bad form.”

Top 5 most powerful exercises for women

1. The squat

It’s no surprise that squats are extremely beneficial and when done correctly can have a huge impact on your body. The compound exercise is a full body exercise that primarily focuses on the Quadriceps (thighs), Hips, Glutes and Hamstrings.

The squat does not only use those muscles mentioned but the exercise itself also does help to strengthen your bones, ligaments and the beginning and ends of tendons throughout the lower body.

Squats are the perfect staple exercise that can really help tone your entire body, but in particular, your booty. The squat strengthens pretty much every muscle in your lower body.

The most basic squat to master, requires no equipment, all you need to do is stand up straight, like a piece of string is pulling your head to the roof and spread your feet shoulder-width apart. The lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bend your knees and proceed to push your knees over your toes.

Push yourself back to starting position and squeeze your glutes. That is one rep. If you want to challenge yourself more you can incorporate dumbbells or weights or you can ever add a jump to make the exercise harder.

Squats are the perfect staple exercise that can really help tone your entire body.

2. The deadlift 

The deadlift has been known to be quite an advanced exercise but it is one exercise to never skip nor never do.

The meaning behind the deadlift is to basically lift dead weight off the ground. Although an advanced movement the deadlift can be shown and practised without any weight just simply the body, progressing to a barbell with no weights, to a barbell with weight that is achievable with great form.

The deadlift uses not only your grip and forearm strength but also the glutes, hamstrings, core & torso, lower back muscles, quadriceps, upper back and arm muscles.

To perform the deadlift, firstly have feet hip width apart, from there the barbell, starting firstly in an upright position with barbell close to the quads, shoulders squeezed and locked back, chest proud, hinging at the hips, the barbell will glide their way down the front of the quadriceps (essentially imagine you are shaving your legs with the bar) past your kneecap or further if you’re flexible and can maintain your posture.

Maintain that posture and drive through the heels with your feet flat  and squeeze those glutes into action to take away too much work being taken over by the lower back muscles.

The deadlift uses not only your grip and forearm strength but also the glutes, hamstrings, core & torso, lower back muscles, quadriceps, upper back and arm muscles.

3 The wide grip bent over row

This exercise compound yet also so functional. It is a free weight exercise that does specifically target the middle back muscles but then also does engage the muscles of the biceps, forearms, lats, lower back and shoulders.

A great way to perform the wide grip bent over row is the barbell. But you can perform it in a few other ways using a Kettlebell and also Dumbbell. This is one exercise to also not miss out on because for anyone looking to build that strong upper and toned back then to also be able perform un-assisted chin-ups/ pullups, every girls dream….right?!

How to perform the wide-grip bent over row for example with a barbell would be in a bent over position (hinging at the hips) upper body does come over in a slightly more than straight angle (in bent over position) whilst your glutes and lower body slightly hinge backwards to counteract the weight between the upper and lower body.

From there with your grip on the barbell the individual will row the barbell to direction in line with the ribs and elbows with follow in track going in a straight direction backwards. When letting the barbell come away from the ribs you do want to make sure that the shoulders/upper back to stay locked into position and don’t fall out of pocket by allowing the shoulders to drop towards the floor and creating roundness in the upper back.

This exercise will help build that strong upper and toned back.

4. Push ups

The push up is a great exercise to gain upper body strength and should really be incorporated into any exercise routine, if you’re trying to burn fat.

The benefits of this exercise go further than just that upper body strength, it also does benefit the serratus anterior and midsection as a complete whole!

The push up can be performed in many variations. With hands placed in direction with the shoulders, for even just the normal pushes elbows don’t point straight out to the side or even straight back gliding the body (unless performing a triceps push up) the elbows actually direct on a 45-degree angle between the two angles mentioned above.

From there the body remains rigid and straight when you are performing the push up either on the knees or toes thus also making sure the chest does contact the ground.

Gain upper body strength by doing push ups.

5. The plank

The plank, also known as the bridge, is an exercise, strengthening the core of every individual. It can be performed on the elbows or on hands just the same as a push up position.

Some of the benefits of planking are endless, a toned belly, reduces back pain, flexibility, improves your balance and posture and can also improve your mood/state of mind.

To perform the plank, in a simplified explanation is to start firstly with elbows directly under shoulders, feet not too wide but just in line with the hips of the individual, glutes engaged, pelvis tucked in and under, relaxation between the upper shoulder blades/muscles and as every breath is taken in the individual is to draw their belly button up and towards their spine by squeezing their abdominals.

Planking can help to tone your belly, reduce back pain, improve your mood and more.

Adala Bolto is Founder/ Director of ZADI Training, which launched in 2017.

ZADI is the first ‘franchise’ network to offer female specific HIIT and functional combination programs – endorsed by exercise science, innovative technology, smaller trainer/ participant ratios and an environment which promotes targeted fitness.