Femme Strength Training Workout Plan

According to many sources, including Women’sHealth magazine on their debate about whether cardio or strength training was better, strength won in many more categories, including those that affect how you look. If you want to be healthier, have a slim, toned body, strength-training is the route to go.

I know many women think “Ew, strength training? Isn’t that for bodybuilders or for men?”. Simply put: strength training will not make you bulky, or turn you into the She-Hulk. That’s a myth that has been dispelled by Demi Moore, Jessica Biel, and Hillary Swank.

workout

But of course, we can’t all have celebrity trainers to look after us while we work out. The only motivation you have is yourself (and maybe a friend!) If you are just starting out in strength training and have no idea where to begin, we are here to help.

Here is the basic plan you will be following for the first few months:

Cardio (optional): 10-20 minutes.

Lat Pull-Downs: 4 Sets, 10 reps
Barbell Squats: 4 Sets, 10 reps
Deadlifts: 4 sets, 10 reps
Cable Rows: 3 sets, 10 reps
Lunges with dumbbells: 3 sets, 10 reps
Bench press: 3 sets, 10 reps
Incline bench press/dumbbell bench: 3 sets, 10 reps

Reasoning:

These exercises are called compound exercises, which work out multiple muscles rather than isolate muscle. They help with the most muscle gain and fat loss. They are the most effective form for whole body workouts, which a beginner should do, as it promotes the most gains (and cuts).

I have put cardio as an optional part as a warm up or cool down exercise. Don’t get us wrong, cardio is good, but just not for your main form of exercise. It’s good to burn those extra few calories you might have accidentally eaten. Strength training will be the core you will be focusing on.

Also, if you think this is way too much for one day, you can break it up in half. (Upper body / lower body)

It is recommended you work out at least 3 days a week, but 4-5 are optimal.

Let’s go into detail about each exercise.

Lat Pull-Downs

Lat-Pulldown
Via www.womenshealthmag.com

4 Sets of 10 reps

Using the lat pull down machine, reach your hands up and hold it so that your arms are slightly wider than shoulder width. Using your shoulder muscles (lats), begin pulling it down. Using your biceps (arms), pull it to your chest, pause, and let it go back up.

Tips:

  • Remember to always keep your back straight
  • Keep your body firm (no swaying)
  • Do the first motion with your shoulders and back, not your arms

Muscles worked: upper back, shoulders

Barbell Squats

Via www.womenshealthmag.com
Via www.womenshealthmag.com

4 Sets of 10 reps

Using the squat rack, place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Place your hands over the bar with the back of your neck underneath. Using your legs, push it off. Push your hips back and bend your knees, while keeping your back arched. Go down as far as you can and go back up.

Tips:

  • Keep your lower back arched! (not rounding)
  • Make sure your legs are far enough apart. It’s better to go wider than narrower
  • Push your knees out

Muscles worked: calves, core, quads

Deadlifts

via
via www.fitbie.com

 

4 Sets of 10 reps

Bend down with your back arched and place your feet shoulder width apart underneath the bar. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, or over and under if it’s too heavy, and pull it up. Pause, and then drop it back down.

Tips:

  • the main motion is the pulling up, so make sure to keep your back straight!
  • the downward motion is not as important, but remember not to hurt yourself by letting your back curve in
  • try to keep your ankles close to the bar but not touching
  • make sure you’re mostly using your lower back

Muscles worked: Core, Glutes, Grip, Hamstrings, Hips, Quadriceps, Upper Back

Cable Rows

Seated_Low_Cable_Row1

3 Sets of 10 reps

Grab the cable bar with both hands. Keep your back straight. Prop your legs firmly on the ground (or the feet stand) and pull the cable towards your abs. Pause, then let it go back to the starting position.

Tips:

  • remember you are working your back, so pull with your back and not your arms
  • keep your back straight or arched at all times
  • inhale before you pull it, and exhale after you pause

Muscles worked: Shoulders, upper back

Lunges with Dumbbells

 

via womenshealthandfitness.com.au
via womenshealthandfitness.com.au

3 Sets of 10 reps (each leg)

Start off with your feet together and your posture straight. Grab the dumbbells by your sides and slowly, take one step forward. Step forward enough that when you bend one knee, your other knee is almost touching the floor.

Tips:

  • keep your torso upright
  • if you can, drop your back knee to the floor

Muscles worked: Calves, Core, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps

Bench Press

bench
via www.fitbie.com

3 Sets of 10 reps 

Place yourself underneath the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Push it (forward in some cases) up and then bring it down to your chest. Pause, then push it back up.

Tips:

  • Make sure to keep your elbows 45 degrees from your torso, and not 90 degrees outward.
  • If you don’t feel your chest working, make your grip slightly wider
  • Remember to inhale before you pull it down, and exhale after you push it up.

Muscles worked: chest

Incline Bench Press

via www.fitbie.com/
via www.fitbie.com/

3 Sets of 10 reps 

Do the same thing with bench press, except make your bench 30-45 degrees higher.

Tips:

  • Make sure your lower back is flat against the bench
  • keep your wrists straight
  • tuck your arms at 45 degrees instead of 90 degrees

Muscles worked: Upper chest, shoulders, biceps

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