7 Strength Training Exercises To Boost Your Energy During Your Periods
- Periods usually affect both physical and mental well-being.
- Strength training can boost energy levels during periods.
- Here are 7 strength training exercises to improve physical and mental energy levels during periods.
Almost all women grow accustomed to the physical strain that comes with period days. There are tons of foods you can have and lifestyle changes you can bring about to have a smooth period.
But did you know that your periods take a toll on your mental health too? Most people take care of their physical well-being, however very few make it a point to take care of their mental health.
With your hormones running haywire, you are more likely to feel stressed, angry, or depressed. Even doing simple tasks like making your bed will feel cumbersome. Just having good food and lifestyle habits is not enough. You need a medium to vent these negative feelings.
Hitting the gym can help you better your mental health, and you can use exercise to increase energy levels throughout your cycle.
Here are a few benefits of strength training for your period health:
1. The gym is your therapy
Lifting weights or any other form of strength training that is usually done in the gym is known to help remedy mental health disorders. Research suggests that strength training exercises help reduce anxiety, fatigue and improve the quality of sleep and self-esteem
2. Two birds with one stone
Apart from being beneficial for mental health, strength training exercises also benefit your physical health. Resistance training helps improve your cognition, boosts your energy levels, and builds your muscles. It also helps reduce the risk of other diseases like hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.
3. Escape the pain
If you are reading this article, then you're no stranger to period pains, cramps, and distress. Exercises involved in strength training help lower stress hormones like cortisol and increase the release of endorphins which are the body's natural painkillers.
The synergy between your physical and mental health is crucial for smooth sailing and energetic period days so be careful when you choose exercises to do during periods.
4. Plain ol' Push-ups
One of the easiest and simple exercises to increase your energy levels and improve your muscle strength. Despite being so easy to do, quite a lot of folks end up doing this exercise incorrectly. This could lead to subsequent injuries.
Here's how to do a push-up correctly.
- Start in a high plank position, with your hands shoulder-width apart
- Make sure your wrists are below your shoulders and your legs are stretched out
- Engage your core and glutes
- Take a deep breath and bend your elbows till your chest is a few centimeters above the ground
- Exhale and push through your palms till you reach the starting position
- This counts as one push-up
Some precautions to follow:
- Don't flare the elbows out. This can lead to shoulder injuries
- Don't sag your core muscles
- Make sure to breathe correctly
This exercise strengthens your triceps, shoulders, chest muscles, core, and glutes. Try doing 3 sets of 15 for an increase in your overall strength.
5. Take the weight on your shoulders
Strengthening your shoulder muscles will improve your posture and make you feel confident. These exercises can help you achieve that.
The shoulder or the deltoid muscle can be divided into 3 portions viz. the anterior, posterior, and lateral deltoids. The anterior delt is among the most exercised shoulder in the gym. Exercises like pushups and chest press significantly work out the anterior delt. You need to work out all parts of your shoulder for its complete development
Here are a few exercises that will help:
1. Lateral Raises
This exercise isolates your lateral/medial deltoid. It is important to keep good form lest you risk injury.
Here's how to do a lateral raise.
- Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand
- Hands by the side of your body and keep your feet hip-width apart
- Make sure to roll your shoulders back and keep your head straight
- Breath in and lift the dumbbells sideways till your elbows reach the shoulder line, and your body looks like the alphabet 'T'
- Ensure that there is little to no bend in your elbows
- Exhale and slowly bring your arms back down
Precautions to follow:
- Don't use momentum to swing your arms. This usually happens if you're lifting too heavy
- Make sure your head is straight throughout the exercise
2. Rear Delt Fly
Also known as the reverse fly, this exercise specifically targets the posterior deltoid muscle. Having good form and controlled motion is key to optimum activation of your rear delts.
Here's how you perform rear delt fly correctly:
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart with dumbbells by your side
- Push your hips back and bend such that your chest is parallel to the floor
- Stick out your chest and arch your back
- Exhale and raise your arms to the side while keeping a slight bend in your elbows
- Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades
- Slowly return to the starting position
- Rounding your back
- Swinging the weight
Try doing 3 sets of 15 reps each for both the exercises. Increase the weight after each set. A good set of exercises for getting toned arms!
3. Bring out the big guns
Everyone wants toned arms. Weight lifting exercises have been developed that target specific muscles in the arms.
Here are a few exercises that will help you improve your arm muscle strength:
1. Curl your way to strength
Almost everybody has heard of bicep curls. As the name suggests, it is an exercise that works out your biceps. Although easy to do, the bicep curl is also prone to form mistakes.
Here's how to do one correctly:
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Hold a dumbbell in each of your hands with your palms facing forward
- Engage your core muscles
- Exhale and bend your elbows
- Lift the dumbbells till they reach the shoulders
- Inhale and slowly return to the starting position
- Make sure your shoulders and elbows are still throughout the movement
Your bicep consists of a short head, long head, and brachialis. Different variations in the biceps curl help you target each muscle separately. However, all types of curls involve the activation of all these muscles. Try doing 3 sets of 15 reps each for bigger biceps!
2. Tricep Extensions and forearm curls for strength
Did you know that the volume or size of your arm is defined by your triceps? The triceps extension is a highly effective way to strengthen your triceps and increase their size.
Here's how to do an extension properly:
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Grip a dumbbell firmly with both hands
- Hold the dumbbell behind your head with the upper arm pointing upwards and elbows bent
- Straighten your elbows and raise the dumbbell above your head
- Hold for a second and return to the starting position
- Make sure your upper arms are stable throughout the exercise
Make sure to breathe properly and engage your core muscles during your exercise. Building toned arms are incomplete without working out your forearms. There are a variety of forearm workouts that will help build toned and powerful arms.
Here's a simple forearm curl that you can do from the comfort of your home:
- Hold a dumbbell or any other weight in your hand
- Grip it firmly and curl your wrist up
- You will feel the burn in your forearms
Try including these exercises in your workout routine for bigger and well-toned arms!
3. Mountain climbing for the win
Want to improve strength while improving your stamina and cardiovascular system? Then mountain climbers are the way to go. This exercise is usually a part of high-intensity interval training but you can include this in your routine. It's a great way to get the blood flowing throughout the body while improving muscle strength.
Here's how you do it:
- Start in a high plank position
- Engage your core and glutes
- Exhale and bring your right knee towards your left elbow
- Repeat the same for the other leg
- Do this as fast as you can
This exercise works out your abs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and shoulders. In addition, mountain climbers are a great aerobic exercise and work wonders for your CVS health.
Periods are a time when one needs extra effort to balance physical and mental health. The above exercises are moderate to high intensity, so make it a point to have a good cool-down session after your workout. Some light stretching exercises and brisk walking should do the trick.
Regular exercise and physical activity are important, but knowing when to rest is just as important. During your periods your body is already under stress so make sure you listen to your body. Overdoing these exercises will only do you more harm than good. Hope you have a happy period!
Here's more on exercises for periods
Did you like our Article?
- Liu Q et al. Stress reactivity and emotion in premenstrual syndrome. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment. 2017;13:1597.
- Ramirez A et al. Resistance training improves mental health. IDEA Fitness Journal. 2012;9(1):20-2.
- Campos YA et al. Different shoulder exercises affect the activation of deltoid portions in resistance-trained individuals. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2020 Oct 31;75(1):5-14.