Fitness can be both exciting and intimidating at the same time. As you step into the New Year feeling motivated to try new things or perhaps shake up old routines, this beginner’s guide to strength training for women will help to build your confidence and move you closer to your fitness goals.
Whether you are completely new to lifting weights or need further help with your routine to reach your goals, this guide will help to simplify what to do, how to get started and why it will benefit your weekly exercise programme. Before you start to question “what do I do with the weights?” and “how do I get trim and lose fat?” be prepared with the basic guidelines set out below. Plus, we will continue this series over several articles. Here’s some of what you need to know about strength training for women to get started.
- Focus on compound movements first – You will be using all the major muscles which will help with your fitness goals. Always put these at the beginning of a workout. For example, squats, bench press, shoulder press, pull ups and deadlifts.
- Add in accessory movements if time allows – If you have time, add in other movements such as bicep curls, triceps extension, lateral raise, hamstring curls and leg extensions. These exercises will help to focus on smaller muscles which can aid in shaping the muscles more.
- Focus on form and technique before weight – Always ALWAYS focus on technique before weight to avoid injury and improper use of the muscles.
- Be consistent – Schedule your workout sessions in the diary every week so that you consistently get to the gym. Have the routine written down in a book and take it with you to make notes of the sets and reps completed.
- Be confident – Decide right now that you are going to feel awesome and be totally confident as you step into the gym and lift those weights. Forget what others are doing and focus on yourself to enjoy the workout.
- Have a plan – There is an example template below to help with a structure. Whatever routine you choose make sure you follow it to reap the rewards with your goals.
- Eat right for your muscles – The workout programme is definitely important, but nutrition is just as important. Make food a priority in order to progress with your health and fitness. In order to see a change in shape with muscles and fat loss, you must eat plenty of nutritious food.
Beginner Training Days
- Three training days per week. If you don’t do any other workouts in the week then focus on total body workouts, however if you workout on other days then you can do either total body or body split workouts (like upper body workout days and lower body workout days).
- In addition add in stretching, yoga, walking, light running or your other favourite physical hobbies into the week on the other days.
- Legs, butt, back, abs, hips (barbell [BB] squat, front squat, goblet squat, sumo squat)
- Legs, butt, back, abs, hips (BB or dumbell [DB] deadlift, romanian deadlift)
- Shoulders (BB or DB strict shoulder press, BB or DB push press)
- Back (pull ups, chin ups, lat pull down, bent over row, seated row)
- Chest (BB or DB bench press, push ups)
- Biceps (bicep curls, hammer curls, cable bicep curls, alternating bicep curls)
- Triceps (triceps extension, triceps dips, bench dips, cable triceps pushdown)
- Shoulders (lateral raise, front raise, Arnold press)
- Hamstrings (hamstring curl, lunges)
- Quadriceps (leg extension, leg press, lunges)
- Glutes (glute bridge, lunges, step ups)
Beginner Training Template Sample
This is an example for 3 days of strength training per week. Remember you can add in other activities on other days such as yoga, running, walking and any other activity for fun.
- Standing dumbbell shoulder press 4 x 8
- Goblet squat 4 x 8
- Standing DB push press 4 x 8
- DB glute bridge 3 x 10
- DB lateral raise 3 x 10
- Walking lunges 4 x 10 each side
- Chin ups (use a band for assistance if required) 4 x 8
- DB bench press 4 x 8
- Lat pull down 4 x 8
- Push ups 3 x 10
- DB bent over row 4 x 8
- DB sumo squat 4 x 8
- DB Romanian deadlift 4 x 8
- Reverse lunges 4 x 10 each side
- Back extensions 3 x 10
- DB Step ups 4 x 10 each side
- Plank x max hold
Benefits for a Beginner
- Fat loss
- Muscle shape
- Stronger for daily life
- Reduce risk of injury and back pain
- Reduce risk of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes
- Improve athletic performance
- Improve sleep
- Boost energy
- Boost confidence
- Boost mood
- Stress relief
Still unsure about lifting weights? Take a look at how to learn to love weight training.
Are you ready to get lifting ladies?