Joanna popped me an email earlier this week to ask if I could come up with an indoor workout for Transgender women, who maybe aren’t able to, or maybe lack the confidence to exercise in the gym, with the peer pressure that can come with it. Well, what girl could say no to an offer like that ? So after a bit of research about their needs, I managed to come up with this simple routine which allows you to sculpt and shape your body fat to give you a more feminine image.
What you’ll need
- Stability Ball
- 3 pairs of small dumbell weights – I’d suggest a 2.5, 4 and 6 kg sets if you’re a beginner and maybe a 4, 6 and 8 kg if you’re a little more experienced. We don’t want to build up muscle mass, we just need something to give us a good core, for our posture and curvy bits in all the right places eh ?
- Some ordinary common household furniture. (more of that later……..)
(1) Elevated Squats
Elevated squats (sometimes called Bulgarian squats) are a great exercise to do in a home workout and have some really positive benefits.
- Enhances hip flexibility.
- Its a good fat burner.
- You can increase weight without making the back compress.
- Builds and develops your abs and core.
- Improves posture
How to do it
Referring to Picture (A) Extend your left leg back, placing toes on top of a normal height chair while standing a few feet in front of it with the right leg (you don’t want to use a sofa here because its too soft to push against). Dip down into a lunge, keeping the right knee in line with your heel, until the thigh is parallel to the floor. Referring to Picture (B) Hold this position and then slowly push up with the left leg to return to an upright position. Repeat five times. As you get more used to it, you can add difficulty to the exercise by adding more repetitions (reps) and by holding a dumbbell weight in each hand when you are dipping.
(2) Standing shoulder press
Although you can also do this exercise sitting down (which allows you to press more weight) my personal belief is that its better for transgender women to do it standing up. My reasons for this are that, you don’t want to increase your muscle mass or bicep measurements, (So there’s no need to add weight) you want to reduce fat and sculpt your body shape.
Also doing the exercise standing upright allows you to improve your core stability, which will help with your posture, which is particularly important when waling in heels ! (Am I right girls ?)
How to do it
Referring to Picture (A) While standing with your legs ahip width apart take a 2.5kg dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. then bend your knees and dip into as deep a squat as you can/ The key here is to keep your knees in line with your heels and toes. Referring to picture (B) on the way back to standing, press the arm holding the dumbbell straight up into the air over head. Repeat 5 times. Unlike last time, where you could add more weight to the exercise, I wouldn’t personally add more, certainly don’t lift more than the 4kg one, just do more reps !
(3) One leg (Romanian) dead lifts
This is a great exercise for improving your balance and strengthening your hamstrings and gluteals (the posterior chain of muscles) If you get have difficulty balancing, place a hand against a wall to steady you for the first two times you try this exercise and get your confidence. Once you have got your confidence, you can then try lifting small weights. (Remember,, we are not trying to build up muscle mass, just tone and sculpt our figures and help the HRT balance our fat correctly.
How to do it
Referring to Picture (A) To start with . stand with your legs a hip width apart with either the 2.5kg or 4kg dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Bend forward from the waist while allowing the hands to flow freely towards the floor. Meanwhile, lift one leg off the floor until it is in line with your torso, eventually coming parallel to the floor, as shown in Picture (B). Move back to regular standing position. Continue with the same leg and then switch legs. Repeat 5 times for each leg and build up the repetitions as you get more comfortable.
(4) Stability ball press
This is our first exercise that will use the ball and if you’re not comfortable with your balance and core strength, it’s a tricky one !!!
To start with I recommend that you try this without weights, just to make sure you get your balance sorted an used to how the ball moves. The last thing you want is to be wobbling about with weights coming crashing towards you !!
How to do it
Referring to Picture (A), start by sitting against the ball with your knees slightly raised. Then holding your back against the ball push up with your legs and allow your back to roll across the ball, so that you are in the position indicated in (A) Then, if you can, hold a 3.5 kg or 4kg dumbbell in each hand and starting with them at your shoulder level, as shown in Picture (B) press straight up towards the ceiling and bring back to starting position. Repeat 5 times.
(5) One Arm Rows
One arm rows are a great exercise for improving stability and reducing arm fat. Remember, these exercises aren’t about how much weight you can lift, rather, its about toning your body, improving your core and shaping what you already have.
One arm (or one leg) exercises are great for working on a particular muscle set and this one in particular is great for improving your stability muscles , which reduce the chance of injury and improve posture.
How to do it
Referring to picture (A) start as if you are preparing to do a press-up. Place your dominant hand (the one you wrote with) on the ground and using your other hand, grip a 2.5kg dumbbell. Pull the dumbbell up to your side and release back down. Repeat five times !
(6) Sit-ups (or pop up abs)
I’m going to finish up this routine with a variation on an oldie but a goodie, the common sit-up !!! Some people refer to this variation as a “Pop up ab” but I’m more of a traditionalist at heart. The variation is, that instead of just holding your legs flat as you raise your torso, I want you to raise your knees too !!!
Whatever you call it though, this is a great, underestimated exercise that really works both ends of your abs making them great for shedding middle age spread, that a lot of girls can suffer with.
How to do them
Nice and simple this one – just lay on the floor as Picture (A) and then slowly raise your torso and knees to your middle as shown in Picture (B) Ideally you want to get your heels as close to your bum as you can. Repeat this five times !!
And there you go, a nice simple routine for you to do in the comfort of your own home. I’ll follow up a little later with a couple of other routines I would like you to do based on yoga and Tai Chi a little later, as well as some details of essential kit for you to keep at home and some explanation of some of the technical terms that we’ll be using in our chats later.
If you’re looking for some guidance as to how many reps and sets you should do I would personally suggest
- Novice 1 set of five reps
- Beginner 2 sets of five reps
- Intermediate 3 sets of five reps
- Advanced 4 sets of five reps
In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think from this simple routine. Is it what you are looking for ? How are you doing ?