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A Super Women’s Workout to Try Right Now
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
May 08, 2017

A Super Women’s Workout to Try Right Now

During National Women’s Lung Health Week, we celebrate the opportunity for ladies to appreciate their lung strength and power – especially after quitting smoking. After 1-9 months smokefree, shortness of breath will decrease and exercises that once seemed strenuous may feel attainable.

So we asked Leanne Shear, co-founder of Uplift—a women’s gym in New York City—to craft a workout especially for women. She designed a strength-based workout that you can do at home, outside, in a friend’s living room… you get the idea. Make it your own and have some fun.

“Women are often intimidated or otherwise wary about strength training,” Shear explains. “[They] often focus on simple cardio, like slogging it out on the elliptical machine for an hour, and while cardio can be very good for you, ideally it should be done in addition to strength training. There are health benefits of both strength training and cardio when done on a regular basis. Both cardio and strength training exercises can help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Strength training can also help increase bone mineral density. Attaining a greater bone mineral density throughout life may help prevent osteoporosis. Plus, exercise can help you feel good!”

So ladies, whether you’ve ever done strength training or not, now could be the time to devote yourself to showing off your strong and healthy side. Check out Leanne’s workout, below. Remember, it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning a new workout routine. Please note: This workout is a bit of a challenge—but you can modify it for your own comfort level. Start slow—try the modifications—and work your way up to more repetitions or harder versions of the workout.

Strength & Cardio Workout

Complete the exercises below up to three times for a heart-pumping workout. “Cardio” is aerobic exercise that will get your heart rate up, while strength-based exercise helps boost muscle. Put on some fun music and get fit!

Each workout set includes one minute of cardio and one type of strength exercise. Ideas for what to do for the cardio sections can be found below.

1 Minute of Cardio

Pushups (10x)

Be sure to keep your head, back and legs in a straight line. Want an extra challenge? Do 10 pushups with one leg in the air and 10 with the other leg in the air. Too hard? Place your knees on the ground and just do as many pushups as you feel comfortable.

1 Minute of Cardio

Lunges (5 sets—front, side, back—per leg)

Standing on one leg, lunge forward with the opposite leg, then squat to the side, then lunge backward.

1 Minute of Cardio

Hip Dip Planks (15x)

Move into a plank position on your forearms, keeping your legs, back and head in an even line. Drop alternating hips down to the floor and back up.

1 Minute of Cardio

Arm Circles (1 to 2 minutes)

With arms straight out to each side, do small, fast arm circles, 30 seconds to 1 minute forward, then 30 seconds to 1 minute backward.

1 Minute of Cardio

Jump Squats (10x)

Jump up and land in a squat, feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles. Send your hips back and bend your knees. Jump up and repeat. Too hard? Forget the jump and just do the squats.

1 Minute of Cardio

Knee Touch (10x each side)

In plank position on your hands with straight arms, bring your left knee in to touch your left elbow. Send your leg back, then bring your right knee to the outside of your right elbow, then send your leg back to a straight position. Repeat on the right side and bring your right knee to your right elbow, then send it back to a straight position. Too hard? Stay in a plank for 60 seconds. You can do it!

Cardio Options to do before or after each exercise above:

  • Jump rope.
  • March in place.
  • Run in place. Alternate regular run, high knees or butt kicks if you’d like to shake it up.
  • Walk up and down the stairs.
  • Bench step-ups. Step up and down onto a box, bench or stable chair.
  • Side bench step-ups. Stand on a bench with one leg hanging off; step that leg down, then bring the other leg down; step back up and down and so on. You should be parallel with the bench.
  • Jumping jacks.
  • Mountain climbers. From the plank position, lift your knees up and down, like you’re running parallel to the floor.
  • Plank jacks. From the plank position on your hands, jump your legs out into a “V”, then in, out, then in, and so on.


See additional quit smoking resources from our partner American Lung Association.