Using a weight training program for women to get into shape, or into better shape is a common goal. I find more often than not, women know what they want; the problem comes in finding the right program or routine that will give you what you want.
This article is made for women who want to target problem areas. These can generally center on the shoulders, chest and occasionally the upper arms, then can begin to surface again around the lower abdominals, glutes and hamstrings or rear legs.
Don’t feel alone, this is normal. I get asked questions regularly on what types of weight training exercises will target these areas the best: So… let’s find out!
Your athletic ability, age, genetics and present physical condition all play a part in your ability to first: set a goal and second to reach that goal and have enjoyed the time of getting there...
The right weight training program for women should be looked at honestly and realistically from one person; and that is You! all I ask is: try to be responsible with the exercises (if your a beginner); cut the exercise sets and the intensity of them listed further down in half.
Go at it slow: until your body becomes conditioned to the exercises. A good weight training program should consist of the best exercises to suit and prioritize those areas you have the most interest in working on.
You may also want to consider one more thing; a good healthy diet plan, which is responsible for 60 to 70% of keeping your energy stores up, and stored fatty tissue down.
Also a good but short cardio program added as a supplement to your
weight training also does two things.
First: it does burn calories, but too much cardio also releases a hormone called 'cortisol', which also burns muscle, this is something you don’t want!
develops the heart, lungs and vessel capacity to be able to process and
deliver more oxygen, which helps immensely with recovery times between training sets.
A good training program should also consist of compound strength training movements, e.g. Multi-joint exercises such as: squats, bench press, deadlifts, rowing, etc.
Isolation and toning movements should also be considered as you target and strengthen other areas, these exercises often add the final polish and shape to the individual muscle groups your exercising.
This is a tough question to answer honestly; as there are different variables involved, such as: your natural athletic ability, genetics along with, whats the goal?
What are your realistic expectations towards your fitness level, that you really want to achieve?
This is not meant to scare you with the questions that I’ve mentioned, just be realistic, have a goal and direction and take it a day at a time.
I have designed a weekly workout program for you, with photos of the exercises and their explanations. The exercises are divided into upper and lower body, which are designed to be performed on their own days.
I have provided some of the very best weight training exercises I know of, to target and work these areas. Adding a-bit of sweat with intensity while maintaining good lifting form and being progressive is something I cannot supply, that I will leave to you!
First: if you do not have some athletic ability already, it might be a good idea to see your family or health care physician before you embark on weight training - Just as a precaution, (this of course is your choice).
Second: be sure to add in a warm up before you engage in the actual weight training exercises, especially: for exercises involving the shoulders or lower back.
Third: if you want to be serious about taking your body and athletic ability to the next level. You may want consider a small aerobic routine, preferably one that is dynamic. I’m not a big fan of performing aerobic exercises past the 15 - 20 minute mark. But...
Keeping a strong cardio component is important for weight training recovery and metabolism.
Fourth: having or adding a strong core component of exercises to your weight training, will put the final Polish on all of your hard work that you will see throughout the new physique you build.
Core meaning: abdominal's/lower back/sides etc. and include movements such as: twists, sit-ups, crunches, rope pulls, are all great for the body's core.
So let’s start with Monday, legs and Glutes:
Always start with a good warm-up, this can be cardio or ab-work, 10 to 12 minutes
Once you have become conditioned to these exercises and each persons efforts will differ, plan for the next step: try stepping out of your comfort zone a little further with the resistance and your rest times, weight training and receiving what you want from it is about increasing intensity.
Note: try not to perform all of the exercises shown here for every workout. instead choose different exercises from the daily menus, as time passes. Always be sure to mix the exercises up. This accomplishes two things.
First: this keeps exercise boredom down by adding new flavors to the training menu helps by keeping interest levels stimulated.
Second: muscles adapt very quickly to exercise strategies and routines, change helps alleviate this by stimulating the muscles with different exercises and training angles.
Wide to medium stance Barbell Squat:
DB Walking Lunges:
Angled Leg Press:
Glute Bridges with the Barbell:
Barbell Stiff Leg-Deadlifts:
Tuesday: focusing on, upper body, arms, chest, shoulders
A good warm-up low intensity cardio/Cal aesthetic’s 8 to 10 minutes
Wide Grip (Lat) pulldown's:
Standing or Seated Alternating DB Curls:
Seated DB Shoulder Press:
Machine Cable Rows:
Flat Bench Barbell Press:
Wednesday: 10 to 15 minutes of cardio. This day is to let the muscles rest.
Thursday: legs, Glutes and calves.
Be sure to warm-up - 8 to 10 minutes of low impact cardio.
let's start with the barbell squat again, but with a narrower stance this time, keep the feet 6 to 8 inches apart.
Narrow Stance BB Squat:
DB Bulgarian Split Squats:
Standing Leg Curls:
Standing Calf Raises:
Friday: upper body, shoulders, chest, arms
Again, be sure to warm-up: core-abdominal work, moderate intensity cardio 10 to 12 minutes.
Smith Machine Incline Press:
Medium Width Grip BB Curls:
BB Clean And Press:
Standing DB Shoulder Laterals:
Incline DB Flyes:
Saturday: day off and enjoy your rest.
Sunday: is technically a day off from weight training also, you may want to consider 10 - 15 minutes of morning cardio work, from moderate to intense; keeps the metabolism or (RMR ) stimulated. cardio in the morning will give you the rest of your Sunday free.
Summarizing weight training for women:
Try to meet each workout vigorously, include some fun and enthusiasm each training day, change your workouts regularly by changing the exercises and their intensity level.
This may sound trivial... but, the smallest changes can mean the biggest things with consistency, buy a new T-shirt or runners, change your hairstyle, or the music you listen to; after all change is what motivates us. Use the weight training program provided, to achieve that new goal and body you want to build.
Enjoy the routine; as I have seen this work-well for other women. You are more than welcome to change the exercises you feel may work better for you, or give you stronger lifting leverage to suit your body’s natural lifting ability. And feel free to adjust the sets and reps to your lifting level.
Some of these exercises are tough if you’re not used to them; so go at your own pace, try to make your exercises and routine fun and challenging!