I was inspired to start a fitness bucket list after reading an article on strength benchmarks for women. These are basic fitness goals which are a sign of a fit, strong and balanced body, and which we should be able to achieve with some consistent effort. Spending 45 minutes on a stationary bicycle or treadmill, or hitting the gym hard with no real focus or objective, other than squeezing back into a pair of favoured jeans, can be boring and uninspiring. Plus, when we have vague aesthetic-based goals like this, we have a tendency to be less consistent in our training. In fact, there’s research to prove that focusing on quantifiable and performance-oriented goals in various exercises is the fastest way to actually meet your general aesthetic goals.
This all led me to thinking about a fitness bucket list. In this post, I started a modest fitness bucket list for you with four basic exercises every woman should master in her fitness lifetime. Each of these targets a different aspect of strength. I’ve also added a couple more ideas to help you expand on your list. Creating your fitness bucket list is highly personal and depends on your level of fitness, personal goals and sense of adventure. Have fun with creating your list and grab a buddy for some of your more ambitious challenges. Don’t be afraid to think big!
SOME BASIC STRENGTH GOALS FOR YOUR FITNESS BUCKET LIST
Do 20-25 proper push-ups (in a minute)
Being able to perform 20-25 push-ups is a reasonable and reachable goal for most women. Push-ups are great for overall upper body and core strength and specifically target the chest muscles which can help with sagging breasts! They are convenient too because they don’t need any equipment and can be varied to train different muscle groups. For example, a closer grip targets triceps.
How to: Check out this guide on how to do a proper push-up from one of our favourite fitness sites, PopSugar.
Get started: If you’re just starting out trying to master a proper push-up, begin with modified push-ups resting on your knees. Keep your back straight, core engaged and hips and butt down. Do not “pike” i.e. lift the butt. Your chest should touch the floor without allowing your midsection dropping onto the floor. Gradually increase the number of reps as you build strength until you can lift yourself up on your toes in a traditional push-up.
Hold a perfect forearm plank for 3 minutes
Learning how to perform a plank with proper form is the first step to crossing this off the list. You’ll need to build the strength and endurance to hold a plank for three minutes or longer. This exercise is awesome for core conditioning, posture, and balance. In addition, it works the glutes and hamstrings which you need to engage to hold your body up without undue pressure on your lower back.
How to: Start by focusing on the form of the perfect plank. Elbows under the shoulders and bum squeezed and almost tucked with core engaged. Do not hike up your hips or allowing them to sag. Maintain a perfectly straight line from your ears through the shoulders and hips all the way down to the heels.
Get started: If you’re a beginner to the forearm plank, work up to it by holding a plank on the elbows and knees for 10 to 15 seconds. Rest and repeat for two to three sets. Add time gradually until you are able to hold a plank on the knees for 30 seconds, then lift the knees and hold the plank on the elbows and feet for 20 seconds. Repeat for two to three sets and continue to add time until you reach that three-minute goal.
Hold a 5-minute wall sit
It may not look like you’re doing much, but you will feel the burn in your thighs pretty quickly. The wall sit builds and measures your isometric leg strength and endurance or the ability of your legs to hold a contraction over time. This is a great move to prevent runner’s knee. Plus, this exercise works the quad in a lengthened position to prevent the thigh from bulking up.
How to: Stand with your back against the wall and slide your feet out in front of you. Slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor, your calves at a 90° angle as pictured. Engage your core and place the palms of your hands flat against the wall next to you. Do not place your hands on your knees.
Get started: Here’s a 30-day wall sit challenge that will work you up to achieving that 5-minute goal.
Perform 3-5 unassisted pull-ups
Finally, but probably the most challenging thing on your essential fitness bucket list, is to be able to perform a full unassisted pull-up. For most guys this may not be that much of a challenge, but for women, this is a great feat to accomplish.
A pull-up involves hanging from a stationary bar, palms facing away from you, and then pulling yourself up until your chin reaches the bar. They are an excellent exercise to work the entire upper body, especially the upper-back and biceps, as well as your core to some degree. Women tend be weaker in the upper-back and shoulders which can contribute to neck aches and pains. Adding pull-ups to your workout once or twice a week can help correct this imbalance.
How to: Not sure what to do? Check out PopSugar’s pull-up guide here.
Get started with assisted pull-ups: Stand on a box or have a partner help push you to the proper pull-up position, with hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing away from you with chin over the bar. Slowly lower your body and try to fight gravity for five seconds. Repeat. As you become stronger, try to pull yourself up on your own to complete the pull-up. (Find more tips on how to build-up to a full pull-up here.)
MORE FITNESS BUCKET LIST INSPIRATION
Here are a couple more ideas to help you flesh out your fitness bucket list.
– Master an unassisted yoga headstand
– Do your first 10km race, half marathon or marathon
– Complete a century (100km) bicycle race
– Enter an open water swimming race
– If you’ve already done the running, cycling and swimming events, why not complete a triathlon
– Bench press 75% of your body weight
– Leg press 2 times your body weight
– Clear a 50cm box jump (that’s the big one you usually see at the gym)
– Embark on a 30-day plank challenge like this one from PopSugar
Once you’ve met a challenge, don’t be afraid to upgrade your fitness bucket list.
– If you’ve completed a 5km or 10km run, try an obstacle race
– Ticked the marathon box? Try an ultra-marathon or multi-day event
– Killed that century cycle race? Do a double century
– Loved the triathlon? Take it off road for a more technical challenge
– If yoga is your thing, try master even trickier poses like the crow pose
SHOP THE POST
Putting together a fitness bucket list will encourage a renewed interest in your fitness and with it, the need for some new fitness gear! We’ve styled looks for 2 fitness gear trends for this season, monochrome and blush.
1. Maaji Eight Track Reverse Front Zip Sweater, Onyx Black. R2329. We love that this is reversible with a zigzag print on one side and a floral print on the other, so you get 2 jackets in one! This also doubles up as the perfect athleisure bomber jacket. BUY
2. Maaji Charmed Tropic Medium Impact Sports Bra Multi, R1179. I adore the intricate back straps and print of this stunning bra top. BUY
3. Maaji Dazeful Flower Long Tights White Blue, R1574. BUY
4. Nike Presto Fly Black/White-White-Black, R1399. BUY
1. Puma Performance Spark Tank Pearl, R579. BUY
2. Reebok Performance Hero Power Bra Multi, R979. BUY
3. Movepretty Shanghai Hug Me Tights Grey, R850. BUY
4. Movepretty Tote Bag Silver, R180. BUY
5. Nike Dualtone Racer Elemental Rose/Light Carbon, R1399. BUY
Do you have any inspired fitness bucket list items? Please share your ideas with us in the comments section below or just let us know how your pull-ups are coming along!