Your 30s is the time to focus on full-body strength: “You’ll want to build up as much muscle everywhere as you can before perimenopause hits,” says Jenna Kong Kam Wa, owner and personal trainer at Parallel Fitness in the Greater Toronto Area. It can be particularly beneficial to focus on strengthening major muscle groups like your legs and back.
Too much time at your desk or sprawled out with Netflix leads to weak back muscles and lower back pain, which can worsen with age. Working your back now improves spine health, posture and flexibility, and other muscle groups like your arms, shoulders and biceps will get a workout, Kong Kam Wa explains.
The great thing about strengthening your legs now is that you’ll burn more calories (they’re a huge muscle group that uses more energy) and improve overall stability, which helps build upper-body strength and endurance in years to come.
Squat with wide dumbbell row
In a squat position, pull dumbbells towards the outside of your shoulders with elbows wide. Allow elbows to lower half way, then repeat the lift. For one set, perform rowing motion 12-15 times. Complete three to five sets.
Single-leg dead lift with reverse fly
Extend your left leg behind and lower your upper body, pivoting from your hips to form a T, with dumbbells hanging below your shoulders. Raise dumbbells straight to the sides, palms facing downward, and squeeze your upper back. Return to start and repeat 10 to 12 times, then switch legs.
Dumbbell row lunge
Lunge, stepping back with your left foot. Straighten the left leg and shift your weight forward so your chest is over your thigh. Pull the dumbbell in your left hand toward your left hip, and lift elbow up above your body. Repeat 10 to 12 times, then switch sides.