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The Best Total Gym Exercise for Women

author image Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. A retired personal trainer, former math tutor, avid outdoorswoman and experience traveler, Mulrooney also runs a small side business creating custom crafts. She's published thousands of articles in print and online, helping readers do everything from perfecting their pushups to learning new languages.
The Best Total Gym Exercise for Women
The Best Total Gym Exercise for Women Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Rightly or not, many women consider their hips, thighs and the back of their arms to be trouble spots in need of toning. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction; whittling fat away from these areas occurs with regular aerobic exercise, burning more calories than you take in. You can, however, use the Total Gym to tone areas of concern, filling out the slim figure you're working toward with sleek, strong muscles.

Lying Triceps

Triceps extensions strengthen the triceps brachii, the muscle that shapes the back of your upper arm. Strong triceps muscles also help with any pushing activity, including pushing yourself up off the floor, out of a chair or shifting heavy groceries across a kitchen counter.

Lie facedown on the glide board, head pointing upslope. Grasp one pulley handle in each hand. Bend your elbows at right angles, upper arms perpendicular to the glide board, then straighten your arms without moving any other body part. Bend your elbows and repeat. Once you can complete 12 repetitions without cheating, raise your Total Gym up to the next higher incline setting.

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Side Squat

If you want your muscles to get stronger, you must do exercises that challenge you to complete 12 repetitions, as advised on MayoClinic.com. By using just one leg to do the squats, you'll tones your glutes, hamstrings and quads. It also sidesteps a potential problem with the Total Gym: The squat platform doesn't always extend far enough for proper squat technique if used straight on.

Lie on the glide board on your side, head pointing upslope. Place your upper leg on the squat platform, directly underneath your hip. Bend your lower leg, tucking your foot out of the way. Squat down, thrusting your hips back as if you were sitting on a chair. Stop when your knee reaches a 90-degree bend. Push with your upper leg, sliding yourself back up the glide board. Repeat.

Sprinter Start

The sprinter start targets your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Much like a single-leg squat, it forces just one leg to lift the bulk of your body weight. Take care to position your pushing foot as low on the squat stand as possible to protect your knee; your knee should never bend forward past the imaginary line that extends up from your toes.

Kneel on the glide board. Place one foot on the squat stand and push off, sliding the glide board up the rails. Control your descent. Stop when your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle and repeat. Switch legs after completing 12 repetitions on one side.

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