10 Best Free Weight Exercises For Women - Workout

female for weights program

Here's all you need to know about weight training, nutrition, cardio, and supplements so you can walk into the gym and rock it! Fitness can be intimidating. Even small, mom-and-pop gyms are usually full of weird-looking machines, equipment you don't know how to use, and unapproachable sexy people lugging around milk cartons full of pink water.

Most of us new to the world of weights will walk into a gym feeling immediately overwhelmed. There's so much going on it's difficult to even know where to begin! That's when the non-scary elliptical calls your name. Your friendly neighborhood cardio machines have never failed you, so you jump on one and start swooshing. And that's where you stay, silently watching other people go about their awesome-looking workouts.

When you finally muster the courage to try some resistance training, you'll likely head over to the machines. You'll choose an open one, read the directions, and then try to copy whatever the model is doing in the pictures. I swear those directions don't make any sense. Good God, I hope no one is watching me!

After your bout with the machines, you think about making your way to the dumbbell rack, but it's overrun with huge, muscle-bound guys doing their best to out-bro each other. Besides, what the hell would you even do once you had dumbbells in your hands? After you leave the gym, you head home and start arguing with yourself about your next meal: I just worked out, why should I ruin it by eating?

Maybe I'll just have some pasta And thus you struggle on with your fitness routine, never quite making the progress you hope to make and always wondering what "the secret" could be. If any of this sounds familiar, you're in dire need of a fitness overhaul!

Thankfully, you've come to the right place. The "Female Training Bible" offers everything you need to walk into the gym with confidence so you can start building your happiest, strongest, best self. Many women worry that weight training will somehow transform them into Hulk-ettes, so they spend hours doing cardio in order to maintain their "feminine" figure.

The truth is, women just don't have the hormonal support to gain muscle mass like men. The hormone testosterone is responsible for large increases in muscle mass. Women's testosterone levels are a fraction of men's. That means you can bench press without concerning yourself about how much chest hair you might grow. There are women, typically professional bodybuilders, who look masculine.

It takes many, many years of dedication and a particular lifestyle to achieve this sort of muscularity. Unless you have goals of becoming the next star in female bodybuilding, you don't ever need to worry about looking too masculine. You're right about one thing, though: training with weights will increase your lean muscle mass. That's a good thing!

The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn. The more calories you burn, the leaner you'll get. Increased muscle mass will also add shape to your arms, take inches from your tummy, and even add some roundness to your booty! When women's magazines talk about "tone," they're really talking about strong muscles. Another problem women run into is that they just don't know what they should be lifting or why.

We hear and read things like "split," " leg day ," and "programming," but have no context for those ideas or how they apply to us. All those fancy words refer to one thing: the routine you'll use to achieve your fitness goals.

To get the best results from lifting, it's important to lift with purpose and direction. You can't wander from machine to machine without first establishing which exercises and which amount of sets and reps will best help you achieve your goals. If you're not sure how to reach your goals most efficiently, try one of our awesome trainers.

It's like having a personal trainer, except you don't have to pay for one. We've done all the prep for you—all you have to do is follow along! This program is meant to improve your strength, muscle size, and conditioning simultaneously. Each four-week block will build upon the strength and skill you learn from the previous four weeks. Each of your workouts should include a warm-up that will activate your muscles, prepare your central nervous system for the workout, and increase your blood flow to your muscles.

It's also a great idea to do foam rolling before each workout. For leg workouts, roll the quads, hamstrings, IT band, piriformis, and calves. For upper-body workouts , roll the shoulder, chest, triceps, and biceps. This movement is done for 20 reps.

You don't have to do all 20 reps in one set. Choose a set and rep scheme which will allow you to perform all 20 reps without feeling fatigued. Each workout will include a prime, compound movement. You will perform these compound movements for 5 sets of 5 reps. Be sure to challenge yourself with weight.

Prime movements should be heavier than assistance movements. Rest minutes between sets. These exercises will help add shape to your musculature. Perform them for reps. There's no need to go ultra heavy while you perform these movements. Rest on all assistance movements should be as short as possible, but not so short that you must reduce the weight.

Your cardio will come in a couple different forms. On each day you train with weights, you'll do 20 minutes of high-intensity intervals. Choose an interval scheme that's challenging, but not impossible. Thirty seconds of all-out work, followed by 1 minute of recovery is usually a good place to start.

One day per week, you'll do minutes of low-intensity cardio. On these days, you can jump on your favorite cardio machine for some extra fat-burning. Apply This Program in BodySpace. For the first couple weeks, we'll use relatively lighter loads. We'll progress to using heavier loads as we move forward, but for now, don't push yourself beyond where you feel safe.

Once you feel comfortable doing the movements and understand how they should feel, then you can start adding a more weight. Take full advantage of our exercise database by clicking on each exercise below for detailed instructions! For the next four weeks, we alter the primary movement, progressing to a more advanced version.

We also add some new accessory lifts and replace others. Your goal should be to increase the weight on your primary movement each week, even if it's just a tiny bit. If you need a spotter to finish your reps, grab one. It's imperative that you progress. Once again, we alter the primary and accessory exercises. And, once again, your goal should be to increase weight on your primary movements each week.

If you feel strong, you can also increase the weight for accessory exercises. These last four weeks are when your intensity matters most, so train hard! If you're a DIY kind of girl, you might want to build your own program. If that's the case, here's what every weightlifting regimen needs:. Compound lifts are lifts that take more than one muscle group to perform. If you want to add some strength-building aspects to your program, be sure to include one or two of these compound lifts in every workout you do.

Along with helping you build lean muscle, these movements are important for increasing your athleticism, strength, mobility , and cardiovascular fitness. Because you use more than one muscle group to do these lifts, you need more energy calories to perform them. Squats, for example, will give you more bang for your workout buck than leg press because you have to use more of your muscles and, therefore more energy, to do them.

Accessory or isolation lifts are used as partners to compound lifts. Depending on the volume of your compound lift, you can add accessory lifts per day. Bodybuilding programs are often built on isolation movements. Isolation movements are single-joint exercises.

These are used to increase the shape and size of a body part—if you want to improve your aesthetics, isolation lifts are perfect. For example, if you'd like to isolate your biceps, then you'd do biceps curls. To isolate your calves, you'd do exercises like calf raises which exclusively target your calf muscles. For more exercises and how to perform them properly, check out our Exercise Database!

The bodybuilder standby for sets and reps is usually sets of reps. That's usually the right rep range for muscle growth hypertrophy. If you're a beginner, make sure your first rep looks just like your last rep. If you fail on the 8th rep, use lighter weight. If you're unfamiliar with many of the movements, stick with lighter weight until you have a great foundation and feel comfortable challenging yourself; this will help you avoid injury.

Shape is great for your muscles, but strength is also important. To work on your strength, do heavier compound movements in the rep range. The less time you rest between sets, the more difficult and intense your workout will be. Short rest periods seconds will tax your muscles and your cardiovascular system.

Longer rest periods minutes will give you more time to recover before you hit your next set. Progression is the secret ingredient for every successful training program. It's the reason your body changes over time. You can't do the exact same movements using the exact same weight for weeks and weeks and weeks and expect new results.

You have to constantly push yourself. Once you develop a solid base, increase the weights, increase the reps, or decrease the rest periods. Your cardio regimen should depend entirely on your goals, likes, and dislikes. Here are some options:. HIIT cardio is the most effective for fat-burning, and it's actually really easy to do.

Choose a cardio machine, a piece of equipment like a Kettlebell, or just use your bodyweight. The point is to do intervals of movement as intensely as you can. At first, go for something like 30 seconds of work followed by one minute of rest.

Do these intervals for 20 minutes. As you get better, you can increase the work time and decrease the rest time. If you loathe cardio and don't want to go anywhere near a treadmill, you can still burn fat effectively. Decrease your rest periods during weight training. If you generally rest 90 seconds between sets, start resting just 60 seconds.

The minimal rest will keep your heart rate up and help your body use more energy. This is probably the most popular form of cardio for most women. Who hasn't spent 30 minutes on the elliptical? However, LISS may not be the most effective way to burn fat.

LISS is often utilized by bodybuilders or other competitors on extremely low-carb diets who just don't have the energy to do 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio. If you want and like to run, then you'll definitely want some long-duration rides or runs in your program. If you're training for a marathon, half marathon, or even a 5k, do your long runs on days that you're not lifting.

That way, you'll have maximum energy to put into your training. Most people dread the word "diet" because it dredges up images of celery stick buffets and long lists of no-no foods. While it's hard to shake this negative association, it's important to learn that "diet" isn't a bad word. Before the media beat its true definition to a bloody pulp, a diet was simply any and all foods consumed by a person.

Your diet, or the food you eat, is a crucial aspect to supporting your fitness goals. The nutrition section of most weight training guides will try to shove a boilerplate nutrition plan in your face, but that's not how we roll. We want to instill the idea that—metabolically and physiologically—your body is unique.

What works for someone else may not work for you. Understanding how your own body works and discovering your dietary needs are important concepts to remember as you form your own nutritional strategy. Calories are essentially food energy that your body uses to power its daily functions like breathing, regulating your heartbeat, digestion, and so on.

The number of calories a food provides depends on its makeup. Every food is made of a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Collectively, these are called "macronutrients. Everybody requires a minimum number of calories to, well, live.

This minimum number is called the basal metabolic rate BMR and can be influenced by the amount of lean muscle mass a person has. The overall number of calories your body uses on a daily basis is the sum of your BMR and additional calories you use walking, standing, sleeping, exercising, driving, and even laughing.

Altogether they comprise the total energy expenditure TEE , or your daily caloric needs. Generally, men have a higher TEE than women because they have more muscle mass. The three macronutrients are: protein, carbs, and fat.

Together they make up all the calories, or food energy, in the food you eat. They're important to distinguish because each has a different role in the body. Protein is a key component to building lean muscle and transforming your body. No, eating more protein won't suddenly make your muscles huge. Building lean muscle though, is essential to that "toned" look everybody's going for.

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the body's building blocks for a number of functions, including making muscle protein. Lifting weights causes stress and damage within muscle fibers, which then need to be repaired. This see-saw of muscle breakdown catabolism during exercise and repair anabolism during rest help you become stronger and fitter overtime.

The general guideline for an active individual's intake of protein is about one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh pounds, you would aim to eat approximately grams of protein. Since it's difficult to consume that much protein in two or three meals, people tend to spread it out over multiple meals and ensure that some form of protein accompanies every meal.

Poor fat: so misunderstood and neglected. Do: 3 sets of reps. If you only make it to 11, use a lighter weight. If you smash 15, use a heavier weight. Slowly bend your elbows and lower dumbbells until they are in line with your shoulders.

Use a 20kg barbell and 5kg weights on each side. Roll the barbell onto the front of your hips. With knees bent, shoulders on the bench, drive hips off the floor until your back is parallel. Grip with hands a little wider than your feet. Keep your bottom low, chest up and back flat. Keep bar close to your body and return to the floor; maintain a flat back. Once you have completed reps, switch legs.

Bend arms at the elbow, keeping shoulders still until the dumbbells almost reach them. Keeping your shoulders still, slowly bend from the elbows, lowering the dumbbells down until they are next to your ears. Slowly lean back until your back is parallel to the floor. Like this article?

Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. Training a muscle or body part to adapt and create a specific shape using dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and Olympic bars. As long as you have an exercise mat's space there's no reason why you can't build muscle in the comfort of your own home.

Invest in a set of free weights and you're good to go. If your desire is to tone and torch then yes, it's good news. Strength training to lose weight is a certified thing. Do remember though, you need to be consistent and changes in body composition happen slowly and are not always linear.

Have a plan, stick to it and trust the process. Learning about food maths AKA counting macros can help too. To maximise your gains you need to engage your brain too. Your body likes the past of least resistance so once it's use to a plan it's time to adapt it. Ignore what other women are lifting and choose a weight that is right for you. To pick the right weight for your workout ask yourself these questions.

A beginner weight training program for women should include exercises that are relatively easy to learn and focused on working every major. Learn exactly why your weight training workouts suck, and what you I broke the holy code that 99% of the female population adheres to when. Pollyana FMS / Getty. Ready to jumpstart your own body transformation? Try this sample weight lifting plan for women workout from Shannon Dey, M.S., founder.

No need to worry if you're a newbie to the gym. We have the ultimate beginner gym workout for women. Here's how to get started with cardio. The best weight lifting exercises for women broken down into 10 effective yet ' There's a lack of understanding around how to plan resistance. A beginner weight training program for women should include exercises that are relatively easy to learn and focused on working every major.

This 12 week women's specific training program is perfect for any healthy woman who is looking to transform her body through a good weight lifting program. Before having my son, I went to the gym 5 days per week and I used a simple 12 week style lifting program from In addition to my gym .

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