Top 10 Best Exercises for Women

There’s a saying that the best exercises are the ones you aren’t doing. In other words, exercises for women should target each major muscle group and keep your body challenged. The best workouts for women are full body workouts that include these exercises, like the Curves circuit workout. Here are our top 10 best upper body, lower body, and core strength exercises for women. As you learn about them, keep in mind your age and specific weight loss and fitness goals.

Bicep curls without weights

Biceps curls are a basic but effective upper body exercise for women. Do bicep curls, sitting or standing, hold your arms straight down at your side, palms facing forward. Bend your elbows and pull your hands toward your shoulder, leaving a little space between your hands and your shoulders. Move slowly and with control, focusing on contracting the biceps as though you are holding a heavyweight. Keep your upper arms and wrists still, only moving your forearms from your elbow joints. Pause, then use controlled movements to lower your hands back to the start position. Complete 12-15 reps.1

Basic ab move

This core strength exercise for women helps tighten ab muscles. It’s essentially a crunch with your hands on your thighs instead of behind your ears. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Relax your upper body and place your hand on your thighs. Exhale, slowly tuck your chin toward your chest, and lift your back upward while sliding your hands toward your knees. Continue to lift up until your shoulders come off the floor or your fingertips reach your knees. Hold for two seconds, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 20 to 30 times.2

Superman (also called bird dog)

The superman is a great core strength exercise for women. Start in all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. As you contract your core muscles, shift the weight onto your left knee and right hand. As you do this, extend your right leg straight back behind you and your left arm straight out in front of you. Extend both as far out as you can for two seconds. Then release to the starting position. Switch sides and do the same thing with your right arm and left leg. Repeat 20 times.3


The inchworm is an excellent core strength exercise, and it works your arms, too. Start in a standing position, hip-width apart. Lean forward, bending at your hips and place your palms on the floor. If you need to, bend your knees to get your palms flat on the floor. Walk your hands forward until you are in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked directly above your wrists. Walk your hands back to your feet, then stand up. Repeat five times.4

Glute bridge

The glute bridge is one of our favorite lower body exercises for women. Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. With your arms resting on the floor beside you, engage your abdominals, squeeze your glutes, press into your heels, and raise your hips upward until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for two seconds and then lower to start. Repeat three sets of 10 reps.5


A great lower body exercise for women, squats strengthen your glutes and your quads. Start standing, feet hip-width apart. Bend your legs and lower your hips toward the floor, as if you are going to sit in a chair. Be careful not to let your knees collapse inward. Squeeze your glutes and return to the standing position. That’s one rep. Complete 12 to 15 reps.6


Pushups are a great total body exercise. To do a pushup, get into the high plank position with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Wrap your shoulders back and keep your ribcage knit together. Lower yourself down slowly, so your elbows point backward. Don’t keep your elbows too close to your body, but don’t let them flare out. Then push into your hands to push yourself back up to the starting position. If you need to modify, try the pushups from your knees instead of your feet. Do 12-15 reps.7

Triceps dips

A great upper body exercise for women, triceps dips help tone and strengthen your triceps in the backs of your arms. To do them, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands flat on the floor next to your hips, your fingers pointing toward your toes. Use your core to lift your glutes off the floor. Bend your arms and lower your butt toward the floor. Then squeeze your triceps and raise back up to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps.8

Reverse lunge

Another good lower body exercise for women, the reverse lunge strengthens your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Start standing, feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides. Slowly step your left foot backward and lower down until both of your legs bend to form 90-degree angles and your left knee is about two to three inches off the ground. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10 reps on each side without alternating.5


A plank is one of the best core strength exercises for women. To do a plank, start by kneeling at the back of a mat with your glutes resting on your heels. Get into an all fours position with you knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Lift your knees so your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds, keeping your abs engaged and your hips in line with your spine. Then return to the starting position.5

The best workout for women is one that includes upper body exercises, lower body exercises, and exercises that improve core strength. Try these top 10 best exercises for women to get a complete whole body workout. And remember, the Curves workout is a fun, fast, and safe full-body workout that targets all your major muscle groups—one of the best gym routines for women out there! For more information about Curves women’s only gyms, visit ‘Why Curves‘.





  1. Women’s Health: How to Do a Biceps Curl
  4. SELF
  5. Women’s Health: The 10 Best Exercises For Women
  6. Women’s Health: The 21 Types of Squats You Should Master
  7. Women’s Health: How To Perfect Your Pushup
  8. Women’s Health: How To Do A Triceps Dip
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