Meet Wellness Collective, our new, immersive curriculum with Athleta that hooks you up with actionable advice from the smartest experts and brand founders in wellness right now. Get the goods at our monthly event series in New York City, plus our online one-month wellness plans. Here, Nicole Uribarri, national fitness business director at Exhale, shares her top four strength-boosting moves.
When you're trying to conquer the gym without much of a roadmap, it can feel like a hamster wheel where you're sweating on repeat and wondering when your totally empowered confidence—and undercover muscles—will suddenly show up.
Nicole Uribarri, national fitness business director at Exhale, gets it, which is why she's sharing her advice on mastering a personal repertoire of strength-boosting moves that you’ll continue to use all year (i.e. no more wandering around the gym feeling at a loss for what to do).
All you have to do is remember her two cardinal rules: consistency and patience. "It will take about three weeks before you start to see and feel the benefits of your hard work," Uribarri says. "So, develop a routine that’s enjoyable, start slowly, and hold yourself accountable." Ready to get started?
Keep reading for details on her top four strength-boosting moves, so you can start crushing your health goals now.
Your first move? The single-leg bicep curl. "These are bicep curls you do while standing on one leg," Uribarri says. "You can add shoulder presses and tricep lifts for more complexity." Use weights that feel just on the edge of challenging (rather than killer, which will only lead to burn out), monitor how your muscles are feeling after the first set, and modify from there.
When you're just getting started with strength-boosting moves, Uribarri recommends limiting your lifting sessions to twice a week. That way, you won't overdo it within the first couple days, but instead you'll build upon the strength as you go while sprinkling in some cardio and recovery along the way.
Feeling the upper body burn? Perfect timing—because it's time to shift to your legs and butt with a walking lunge. "Perform box lunges with alternating legs, moving you forward with each step," Uribarri says.
Make sure you're moving slowly and paying attention to your form to confidently light those legs on fire. "Form is important," Uribarri says. "You can’t train for [your goals] if you’re injured. So connect with an expert to guide you on how to perform workout moves correctly and safely. Many trainers offer a single session to assess your form, and provide guidance on how to effectively and efficiently perform moves."
It's time to focus on your core with sliding pike-ups. If you've ever done one of these, you know that afterward you feel like the strongest person on earth—but during, just the sweatiest.
"From a plank pose, pull your feet toward your hands while keeping your legs straight," Uribarri explains. "Place your feet on sliders or a towel to reduce friction." Combine this move with a standard plank hold, pushups, and wall-sits for a quick circuit that'll really light up your core.
The final exercise hits on basically every muscle group in your body with a move Uribarri calls the wo(man) maker. "These exercises combine planks, one-arm rows, hops, bicep curls, squats, and shoulder presses," Uribarri says. "Search for 'man maker' videos to see how they're done—and ignore anyone who says they're just for men." (Amen to that.)
After you've knocked out your strength-boosting sesh, don't forget to carve out time to chill and actively recover like the (super strong) boss you are.
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