Female Warriors have existed throughout history, from Nefertiti to The Amazon women to Joan of Arc. Currently, two movies portray the archetype of female warriors in The Woman King, based on true events of an all-female force that protected the Kingdom of Dahoney in the 1800s; and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a Marvel Studios superhero film where female warriors protect the Kingdom of Wakanda from intervening world powers. So how do today’s women discover their female warrior within to have the strength and confidence to defend themselves?
“Female warriors need the physical strength to be empowered, but also the mental confidence to defend themselves and their core feminine values,” says Kathryn Leary, Founder and CEO of OneFirelight, a newly introduced wellness app that features strength building, athletic conditioning, Martial Arts, boxing, and HIIT streaming classes, as well as classes to get in touch with one’s softer side with Yoga, Pilates, Crystal Meditation and Dance. According to Yui Hosoda, OneFirelight Martial Arts Instructor, “It all starts with the individual. Anyone, no matter age, or body type, can develop strength through exercise and training, which will develop the confidence needed to defend oneself and avert dangerous situations. Martial Arts allows you to build core strength since all of the movements come from the center. That strength is needed for self-defense and protection.” Because you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice, here are Yui’s top picks for developing a “female warrior” workout routine for exercising the core muscles and building strength:
1. Wood Choppers with medicine ball (Recommended at least 4 lb.
This exercise stabilizes and activates your core. It keeps your trunk activated in a rotational movement pattern, as well as multiple abdominal, back muscles, arms, and legs for stability. Begin with the feet shoulder- width apart and parallel to each other. Holding the medicine ball with both hands and arms extended, start at the bottom of one side of the hips. Lift and rotate the ball up above the outside of the opposite side of your head, then cutting diagonal across down back to where you started. (Make sure to pivot your feet to the side your body is turning to avoid straining your back, and minimize the movement of your trunk, relying on the pivot and your arms). Up and down is one rep. Recommended 8-15 reps depending on your level and weight of the ball.
2. Leg Raises on the Mat.
This is a variation of the abdominal crunch and also an isolation exercise for the core muscles. It focuses on the lower abdominal muscles as it is under constant tension during the range of motion. Additionally, it is a great strengthening exercise for your hip flexors. By lying flat on your back on the floor with legs straight and hands under your lower back for support, raise both the legs up to a 45-degree angle. And then slowly bring them down back to the floor position. Repeat for 8-15 reps.
3. Medicine Ball Twist Ups (Recommended at least 6 lb. weight).
This full body exercise targets all different muscles including core, legs, shoulders, and arms. In a squat stance with knees bent 90 degrees, start by holding the medicine ball with both your hands and arms bent at elbow in front of your stomach. Bring the ball across to the left while you also turn your torso and arms to that side. Then bring the ball straight across through the other side to your right. Once you twist fully, bring the ball up over the shoulders, extending your arms and pivoting your left feet. Then bring the ball back down and across to the left side. Repeat on both sides 8-15 reps.
4. Superman (woman) on Floor.
This is a great exercise that strengthens both your core and back at the same time. This exercise also works the stabilization muscles in your body including transverse abdominal, erector spinal, gluteals, deltoids and hamstrings, which not only helps with the execution for movements used in Martial Arts, but also helps with daily living activities. Lie on your stomach on the floor with your arms stretched out and legs stretched out behind. Keeping your head relaxed and spine neutral, raise your arms and legs a few inches off the ground, while contracting your core muscles to stabilize your spine. Gently lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat. Recommended 8-15 reps.
Another factor in strength building is making sure one’s inner self is healthy by doing what you enjoy doing. Whether it’s taking a walk, reading your favorite book, surrounding yourself in nature, cooking.
“I do my weekly hikes because nature always brings me back to my core. It reminds me of all the positives in life, and always makes me appreciate life. I also do my stretches at the end of the day. This is my daily meditation where I wind down, stretch out my body to prepare for another day with a positive mindset,” concludes Yui.
OneFirelight brings a mind, body, spirit modality to the fitness space by combining the restorative effects of yoga practice, strength building of cardio/kickboxing, healing of sound meditation, and joyfulness of dance, OneFirelight results in calming the mind, strengthening the body, and uplifting the spirit. The unique and one-of-a-kind platform offerings are carefully curated to promote expressions of love, peace and unity. Try OneFirelight with a 3-day free guest pass at www.onefirelight.com.