Weightlifting Tips

Beginning Weight Lifting Routine for Women

For decades, many women have shied away from lifting weights due to the fear that they would become too large and bulky, but that is simply a myth that needs to be debunked once and for all.

Unless you are taking anabolic steroids and other growth-enhancing drugs, there is just no way that you’re going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger by lifting weights.

So if there is any lingering doubt about the effects that bodybuilding will have on your physique, you can rest assured that the hours you spend in the gym are only going to make you look sexier and more feminine than ever.

So Where Do You Begin?


When you’re first starting out in the gym, everything is unfamiliar, and this is particularly true if you have no athletic background. But don’t worry, you’re going to ease into weightlifting and enjoy every minute of it with this simple weight lifting routine for beginners.

Before you get started, there are three basic tips you should keep in mind that will help you stay on track as you move toward your fitness goals. These rules are for those new to weightlifting and do not necessarily apply to intermediate and advanced athletes.

Don’t Push Heavy Weights Until You’ve Mastered Good Form

When you’re first starting out, your muscles and nervous system are not used to the unique movements and stresses that occur while lifting weights.

That’s why lifting a pair of dumbbells overhead for the first time may seem a little awkward at first; your elbows will wobble a bit and the weights will drift forward and back as you lift them, rather than in a nice, clean arc. And this is okay. It’s totally normal. It takes a while for you to get into a groove and for the movements to begin to feel more natural.

The first couple weeks of this program will take this learning curve into account and have you use machines to minimize the chance of injury due to poor form. So for now, stick with lighter weights while you learn the correct form and proper pathways that the weights must travel during the lift.

Once the movements become smooth, balanced and natural, then it will be time to add more weight and push harder.

Start With Exercises That Work Many Muscles At Once

Your training program will be built around compound or multi-joint exercises – those that require many muscles working in harmony to move the weight. These include chest presses, shoulder presses, leg presses and pulldowns.

In your first several weeks, you won’t need to use a lot of isolation exercises like concentration curls or side laterals. Those will come later. Stick with the basics as you build a foundation of strength.

Don’t Do Strength Training Two Days In A Row

Your body isn’t used to lifting weights, so you’re going to feel very sore when you first begin, especially if you are pushing heavier weights and taking your sets to exhaustion. Your muscles and joints will need time to adjust to this new stimulus, so take a day off after each day of weightlifting.

You don’t have to stay in bed all day, though. You can still do some cardio classes or go for a run. Just make sure you don’t lift weights day after day without a break, as that is a sure path to overtraining and burnout.

Weeks 1-2: Start With Strength Machines


Strength machines are a great place to start, since they limit your range of movement and guide your muscles and limbs through the exercise from start to finish. This allows you to start working your muscles with less chance of injury due to improper form or excessive weights.

Perform 2 sets of 20 reps of these exercises three days per week for the first couple weeks:

  1. Leg press machine
  2. Standing calf raise machine
  3. Cable or machine pulldowns
  4. Seated cable row or Hammer row
  5. Chest press machine
  6. Shoulder press machine
  7. Machine crunch or hanging leg raise

Weeks 3-4: Add In Basic Barbell Exercises


Now that you’re finding your way around the gym a little better and getting used to training with weights, it’s time to add in some free weights. These will require additional muscles to support and balance the weights as you move them up and down.

Don’t be intimidated! After a couple of weeks, these will be some of your favorite exercises, and you’re going to love the feeling of power that comes as you find yourself gaining strength.

Perform 2 sets of 20 reps of the following exercises three days per week:

  1. Leg press machine
  2. Barbell squats
  3. Standing calf raise machine
  4. Cable or machine pulldowns
  5. Seated cable row or Hammer row
  6. Bent-over barbell rows with overhand grip
  7. Chest press machine
  8. Barbell bench presses
  9. Shoulder press machine
  10. Military presses (back supported by a vertical bench)
  11. Machine crunch or hanging leg raise

Weeks 5-6: Add In Dumbbell Exercises To Fill Out Your Routine


By this time, your body is beginning to adapt, so try to use more weight on each exercise than you did last week. You won’t need to spend endless hours in the gym performing tons of exercise. Stick with the basics below and focus on gaining strength.

Now you will drop some of the machine exercises above and add in some dumbbell work. Here is what your complete program will look like.

Again, perform 2 sets of 20 reps of all of these exercises:

  1. Leg press machine
  2. Barbell squats
  3. Standing calf raise machine
  4. Cable or machine pulldowns
  5. Bent-over barbell rows with overhand grip
  6. Dumbbell curls
  7. Barbell bench presses
  8. Incline dumbbell flyes
  9. Military presses (back supported by a vertical bench)
  10. Seated dumbbell triceps extensions
  11. Rear dumbbell laterals
  12. Machine crunch or hanging leg raise

Diet & Cardio

Your results also depend on what you do while away from the weights. Be sure to cut down on processed junk food and to eat more whole foods like grilled fish, oatmeal, brown rice and green veggies.

You can perform cardio on your off days rather than before or after weight training. Focus less on high-volume marathon workouts and more on short, intense cardio sessions for better results.

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