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Ladies: Now’s the Time to Try UConn Rec!

Every UConn student is required to pay a (lofty) fee for the Rec Center each semester, regardless of whether they plan to use it or not.

Since coming to campus this semester, I’ve noticed that many people (particularly female students) want to make good use of their membership and use the lifting area but feel too intimidated.

Below, I’ve compiled an easy four-day, full-body workout outline for beginners, along with some more challenging exercises and variations.

Day One: Quads

  • Warm up your muscles & make sure to stretch.
  • Leg Extensions (4 sets x 10 reps)
    • With this machine, begin in a sitting position and raise/straighten your legs.
    • Start with a low weight! When you’ve got the hang of it, you can try Single Leg Extensions.
  • Leg Press (4 x 10)
    • This is a fairly easy machine to navigate. The lever allows you to move closer or further depending on the length of your legs.
  • Goblet Squats (4 x 10)
    • Goblet squats differ from normal squats because the dumbbell/kettlebell is held at the chest.
    • They tend to feel easier on the back than normal squats and emphasize quads.
    • Make sure to keep your knees straight & toes forward.
    • For a challenge, try Elevated Goblet Squats, where you elevate your heels by placing two flat weights on the ground.
  • Split Squats (4 x10) *Requires a bench*
    • These are a favorite because they work on EVERYTHING: balance, bad knees, stability, quads, and glutes.
    • I would recommend beginning without weights, then holding a dumbbell in each hand after you become more comfortable.
  • Backs Squats with Squat Rack (More Challenging)
    • If you’ve never used a squat rack before, start with just the bar and no added weights to avoid injury.
    • Some tips:
      • Make sure the bar is at a suitable height for you and not too high.
      • Keep your knees straight – do NOT let them turn in.
      • The lower you can go, the better.
      • Keep your eyes forward.

Day Two: Triceps and shoulders

  • Warm up & stretch.
  • Cable Rope Tricep Pulldown (4 x 10)
    • Attach the rope to the highest part of the cable.
    • Hold at the bottom and pull rope down from a 90-degree angle to straight.
  • Tricep Pulldown AND Pushdown (4 x 10 each)
    • Switch to a short, straight bar.
    • Keep elbows close to body.
  • Shoulder Front Raises (4 x 10)
    • Stand holding a dumbbell (start with 10 lbs) with two hands in front of your body.
    • Raise dumbbell until shoulders are straight.
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (4 x 10)
    • You can stand or sit on a bench.
    • Lift weights outward and up to emphasize shoulders.
  • Bent Arm Lateral Raises (4 x 10)
    • More challenging than Front Raises; you may need to use less weight.
    • Hold one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Tricep Dips on Bench (4 x however many you can)
    • For beginners, bending your legs will make it easier.
  • Triceps Kickback (More Challenging)
    • Lean forward, keep back parallel to the ground.
    • Raise arms back to the ceiling.

Day Three: Glutes

  • Warm up & stretch. If you have a resistance band, Fire Hydrants and Donkey Kicks aren’t a bad idea for some activation.
  • In/Out Hip Abductor (4-5 x 10)
    • These machines are easy to use and very adjustable.
  • Hip Thrusts (4 x 8-10)
    • Leaning with your shoulders against the bench, lay barbell across hips and lift upward.
    • It may be helpful to try this one with a friend spotting.

*For an easier variation, try Glute Bridges with a yoga mat!*

  • Sumo Squats (4 x 10)
    • Similar to a regular squat, except you widen your stance and point toes outward. (Yes, it looks a little funny. But it absolutely works by shifting the focus to your glutes).
    • Begin without any weights, hold a dumbbell in between legs when you feel comfortable.
  • Romanian Deadlifts with Dumbbell (4 x 8-10)
    • Some people swear by regular deadlifting. For me, RDL’s eliminate back pain.
    • Hinge at the waist and SLOWLY lower weight toward ground.
    • Keep back straight.
  • Back Squats with Squat Rack (More Challenging)

Day four: Back and Biceps

  • Warm up & stretch.
  • Bicep Dumbbell Curls (4 x 10 each arm)
    • These are pretty self-explanatory but very important.
    • For a challenge, or if you get bored, try:
      • Barbell Curls
      • Hammer Curls
      • Single-Arm Isometric Curls
      • Rotating Bicep Curls
  • Bent-Over Standing Rows (4 x 10)
    • Use a barbell, pull weight toward you.
    • Keep back straight and upper body perpendicular to floor.
  • Single Arm Rows on Bench (4 x 10 each side)
    • Similar to the previous exercise, except using dumbbells and a bench.
    • Lean forward, target one side at a time.
  • Seated Row Machine (4 x 10)
    • Adjust seat so that it is comfortable.
    • Grip and pull toward you.
  • Lat Pull Downs (4 x 10 each variation)
    • This is an exercise with a lot of room for variation. Holding the bar with a wide grip vs. a close grip affects different areas of the back.
    • Using the same cable, you can also swap the bar for the seated row attachment.
Chloe Hummel

U Conn '24

Chloe is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She is an English major concentrating in Creative Writing and a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor.
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