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My Quick and Effective 10-Minute, 6-Movement Workout

As I'm now in my 'middle years', maintaining my physical fitness has become more crucial than ever. This period in my life has brought hormonal shifts that can affect my muscle mass, bone density, and metabolic rate. Resistance training offers a powerful remedy to these changes, helping me to preserve muscle strength, boost metabolism, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, I believe that by incorporating regular strength exercises it can improve balance (especially as I continue to age) and reduce the risk of injuries, making daily activities easier and safer.

Why Resistance Training is Essential

Resistance training for me is not just about building muscle—it's about creating a foundation for a healthier, more vibrant life. Here are some of the specific benefits that middle-aged women (like me!) can gain from this type of exercise:

  • Enhanced Muscle Mass and Strength: After the age of 30, women can lose up to 5% of their muscle mass per decade. Resistance training helps counteract this loss, increasing muscular strength and endurance.

  • Improved Bone Density: Lifting weights can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a significant concern for women as they age.

  • Boosted Metabolic Rate: Muscle burns more calories than fat. By increasing muscle mass, resistance training can help increase your metabolic rate, aiding in weight management.

  • Better Joint Health: Strong muscles support and protect joints, which can help reduce pain and stiffness associated with conditions like arthritis.

The 6-Movement Workout Routine

For those looking to integrate resistance training into a busy schedule, here’s my simple yet effective workout routine that only takes me 10 minutes and can be done anywhere with just a pair of dumbbells. This workout focuses on using the right weight to maximize benefits while maintaining proper form.

Equipment Needed:

  • A set of dumbbells (I'm currently using 30lbs for movements # 1-4, 20lbs for # 5-6)


1. Squats

  • Full-body Activation: Squats are a powerful compound exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, as well as engaging the core for stability. This exercise improves lower body strength and flexibility, enhancing functionality for everyday tasks.

  • Core and Back Strengthening: Maintaining form during squats also strengthens the lower back and core muscles, which are crucial for posture and preventing back pain.

2. Chest Press

  • Upper Body Strength: The chest press primarily works the pectoral muscles, as well as the triceps and deltoids. Strengthening these muscles is important for improving upper body strength and assisting with daily activities that involve pushing and lifting.

  • Bone Health: Weight-bearing exercises like the chest press can help strengthen bones in the upper body, reducing the risk of fractures.

3. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

  • Posterior Chain Enhancement: RDLs focus on the posterior chain, which includes the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Strengthening these muscles is key for improving posture, balance, and power.

  • Injury Prevention: By enhancing core stability and lower back strength, RDLs can help prevent injuries that are common as we age, particularly around the lower spine and hips.

4. Unilateral Rows

  • Balanced Muscle Development: Unilateral rows help develop each side of the body independently, promoting muscular balance and symmetry, which is crucial for overall body mechanics.

  • Core Engagement: Performing rows unilaterally increases core engagement as the body works to stabilize during the exercise, strengthening the abdominals and lower back.

5. Shoulder Press

  • Shoulder and Arm Strengthening: This exercise targets the deltoids in the shoulders and the triceps. Strong shoulders are essential for a variety of daily movements, from lifting objects overhead to performing tasks that require arm elevation.

  • Improved Mobility: Regular training of the shoulders can also improve joint mobility and reduce the risk of shoulder injuries.

6. Pullover

  • Upper Body Coordination: Pullovers work the lats, chest, and triceps, enhancing upper body muscle coordination and strength.

  • Thoracic Extension: This movement helps improve flexibility in the upper spine (thoracic extension), which is beneficial for posture and respiratory functions.

Comprehensive Benefits

I chose this specific set of movements for myself to ensure that the workout was balanced, addressing both upper and lower body strength while ensuring core stability and promoting overall muscle harmony. The routine offers a full-body workout that maximizes the efficiency of my training session, fitting a broad range of essential exercises into a short period, making it ideal for busy schedules. Each exercise complements the others to provide a holistic approach to fitness that enhances everyday functionality and overall health.

Execution (proper form is everything!):

  • Repetitions: Aim for 12 reps per movement as a maximum; the 13th rep shouldn't be possible without sacrificing perfect form. Increase weights as needed.

  • Tempo: Use a metronome to set a steady rhythm. For each movement, perform an eccentric (releasing) phase for 3 seconds and a concentric (contracting) phase for 2 seconds.

  • Breathing: Inhale during the eccentric phase and exhale during the concentric phase.

Implementing the Routine

I move around a lot as I do house and pet-sitting, so in each new home, I choose a comfortable space where I can move freely. I typically opt for the living room, I have used my bedroom and as the weather gets warmer, I will opt to head outside into the yard, if the home offers that option.

I perform each movement in sequence without rushing, and I focus on maintaining perfect form and correct breath throughout. The total time for the circuit takes approximately 8-10 minutes making it a perfect workout for those busy days when you can't fit in a longer session. I find doing this super simple routine at least twice a week has significantly improved my strength and improved my overall health.


As a middle-aged woman, resistance training is not just beneficial—it's a critical part of maintaining my overall health and vitality. This 10-minute, 6-movement workout is an excellent way for busy women to incorporate strength training into their routine without needing a lot of time or equipment. By staying committed to regular exercise, you can significantly improve your quality of life and enjoy your middle years with strength, confidence, and health.

Work out with me!

Sometimes it's beneficial to have a workout buddy....I recorded myself doing this workout and have the metronome playing in the background. If you'd like to workout with me, simply reach out and I'll send you the link to the 10 minute video! Simply press play and let's kick these 6-movements in the ass!

With strength and love,

Leesa xo


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