Strength training exercises for women: 7 workouts to build muscle

Strength training exercises can significantly impact your fitness journey. However, it’s not just about building muscles. It’s about feeling strong and empowered in your everyday life.

Let’s discuss sculpting strength and how it can bring about positive changes to your overall health and well-being.

So, why is strength training your secret weapon? Well, it’s more than just lifting weights; it’s about boosting your metabolism, enhancing your bone health, and sculpting a body that radiates confidence.

Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience under your belt, we’ve got your back with a list of seven powerful workouts that will help you build muscle and unleash your inner strength.

What is the best strength training program for women?

Let’s jump right into seven strength training exercises that can help you build muscle and boost your confidence. These exercises, when done correctly, will help you sculpt a stronger, fitter you.

1. Squats

Let’s discuss how squats can help you build lower body strength and achieve toned legs and glutes [1]. This exercise isn’t just about looking great; it’s about feeling strong and capable in your daily life. Here’s how to do squats effectively:

  • Put your feet hip-width apart and slightly point them out as you stand.
  • Keep your chest high while contracting your abs.
  • Put your hips back and bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair that doesn’t exist.
  • Lower your body down, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Push through your heels to stand back up.

Squats target your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, helping you build a solid foundation for overall strength and fitness. So, get squatting and feel the burn!

2. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are not just about lifting a barbell; they’re about building a rock-solid foundation of strength and stability. Here’s how to perform them effectively:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a barbell in front of you.
  • Bend at your hips and knees to grasp the barbell with both hands, palms facing you.
  • Maintain a straight back, chest up, and engage your core.
  • Lift the barbell by extending your hips and knees while keeping it close to your body.
  • Lower the barbell to the ground under control.

Deadlifts work wonders for your lower back, hamstrings, and overall core strength, making daily activities easier and keeping your posture in check. Incorporate them into your routine and stand tall and strong!

deadlifts

3. Push-ups

Push-ups are a fantastic way to boost upper body strength, while sculpting your arms and shoulders. Push-ups are more than just a basic exercise; they’re a powerhouse move that can transform your upper body. Here’s how to do them effectively:

  • Start off with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart in a plank stance.
  • Bend your elbows while keeping them close to your sides to lower your body.
  • Maintain a straight line from head to heels.
  • Push your body back up to the starting position.

Push-ups target your chest, shoulders, and triceps, helping you achieve that toned and strong upper body [2]. They’re versatile and can be adapted to your fitness level, so don’t skip them in your routine. Get pushing, and feel the strength!

4. Rows

Let’s discuss an exercise called rows, which can help you improve your back muscles and posture. Rows aren’t just about looking great; they’re about maintaining a strong and healthy back. Here’s how to do them effectively:

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Leaning your torso forward, slightly bend your knees, and hinge at the hips.
  • Engage your core and maintain a straight back.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together while bending your elbows to pull the weights towards your hips.
  • Lower the dumbbells with control.

Rows target your upper back, helping you maintain good posture and reducing the risk of back pain. Incorporate them into your routine for a strong and confident posture. Stand tall and proud!

5. Lunges

Let’s concentrate on lunges, a vigorous workout that boosts leg strength and stability. Lunges aren’t just about sculpting your legs; they’re about boosting your overall lower body power. Here’s how to perform them effectively:

  • Start with your feet together.
  • Take a step forward with one leg, bending both knees to form a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep your chest up and your core engaged.
  • Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

Lunges target your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also improving balance and coordination. They’re a versatile addition to your routine, adaptable to various fitness levels.

Incorporate lunges regularly, and you’ll stride confidently towards stronger, well-balanced legs. Step forward and feel the strength!

6. Planks

Planks are a superstar exercise for strengthening your core, improving your stability and posture [3]. Let’s dive in and learn more about this amazing workout.

Doing planks are more than just holding a position; they’re about building a rock-solid core. Here’s how to perform them effectively:

  • Start by positioning yourself in a push-up stance with your hands placed directly under your shoulders.
  • Maintain a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core.
  • Hold this position, keeping your body steady for as long as you can.

Planks target your core muscles, including your abs and lower back, promoting better stability and balance. They’re a versatile exercise that you can incorporate into any routine.

By planking regularly, you’ll develop a strong core that supports your overall strength and fitness. Stay steady and feel the power!

7. Kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings are a great exercise for generating full-body power. Let’s dive into this dynamic workout and explore the benefits.

This workout is not just about building strength; they’re about unlocking your body’s potential for explosive energy. Here’s how to perform them effectively:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, gripping a kettlebell with both hands.
  • Bend at your hips and knees, swinging the kettlebell back between your legs.
  • Thrust your hips forward, propelling the kettlebell up to chest level.
  • Let it swing back down between your legs and repeat the motion.

Kettlebell swings engage your legs, core, and upper body, making them an efficient, time-saving exercise. They enhance cardiovascular fitness while sculpting muscle.

Incorporate swings into your routine, and you’ll unleash a powerful, full-body force that can take your fitness to the next level. Swing to success!

What nutrition do you need when building muscle?

Let’s dive into some valuable nutrition tips that can power your muscle-building journey. What you eat plays a crucial role in sculpting a strong and healthy body.

These tips are not just about fueling your workouts; they’re about nourishing your muscles for growth and recovery.

Prioritize protein

Protein is the building block of muscle, and it should be at the forefront of your nutrition plan. Incorporate lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish, tofu, and legumes into your meals. Here’s how to make protein work for you:

  • Aim for a protein source in every meal to support muscle repair and growth.
  • Calculate your daily protein needs based on your activity level and body weight.
  • Consider post-workout protein snacks to kickstart recovery.

Carbs for energy

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy, especially during intense workouts. Choose complex carbs like whole grains, brown rice, oats, and sweet potatoes. Here’s how to optimize your carb intake:

carbs for energy

Healthy fats for hormonal balance

Healthy fats are crucial for hormone production, including hormones like testosterone that play a role in muscle growth. Incorporate sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil [4]. Here’s how to integrate healthy fats:

  • Use olive oil for cooking and drizzling over salads.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds for a quick dose of healthy fats.
  • Remember, balance is key—don’t shy away from fats entirely.

Don’t skip meals

Consistency matters when it comes to nutrition. Skipping meals can lead to muscle loss, so it’s important to eat regularly throughout the day with balanced meals and snacks. Here’s how to stay on track:

  • Plan your meals ahead of time to ensure you have nourishing options readily available.
  • Avoid long gaps between meals to keep your metabolism active.
  • Include a mix of protein, carbs, and fats in every meal for balanced nutrition.

Hydration matters

Proper hydration is often underestimated in its importance for muscle function. Water supports nutrient transport, digestion, and overall performance [5]. Here’s how to stay adequately hydrated:

  • Drink water throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty.
  • Hydrate before, during, and after workouts to replace lost fluids.
  • Consider adding electrolyte-rich drinks for intense training sessions.

Incorporate these nutrition tips into your daily routine, and you’ll be on your way to optimizing your muscle-building efforts.

Remember, it’s not just about what you eat but also how you fuel your body for growth and recovery. Tailor your nutrition to your individual goals and needs, and stay consistent in your efforts.

Conclusion

In wrapping up our discussion on muscle-building nutrition, remember that achieving your fitness goals isn’t just about what happens in the gym; it’s about what happens in your kitchen too.

Proper nutrition is the fuel that powers your workouts, enhances muscle growth, and promotes overall well-being. 

As you move forward on your fitness and muscle-building journey, remember that small, sustainable changes in your nutrition habits can lead to significant results over time. Stay committed, stay focused, and most importantly, enjoy the process.

FAQs

What’s the recommended amount of protein for muscle building?

The ideal protein intake varies, but a general guideline is around 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for sedentary individuals, while athletes and those engaged in regular strength training may need 1.2 to 2.2 grams per kilogram.

Can I build muscle without lifting heavy weights?

Yes, you can build muscle using lighter weights or resistance bands, especially if you focus on high-repetition sets and progressive overload, gradually increasing the resistance over time.

How often should I eat for muscle gain?

Aim for 3-6 balanced meals or snacks throughout the day, spaced roughly 3-4 hours apart, to provide your body with a consistent source of nutrients and support muscle recovery and growth.

[1] https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/health-benefits-of-squats
[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/muscles-worked-push-ups
[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/plank-exercise-benefits
[4] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/
[5] https://www.everydayhealth.com/water-health/water-body-health.aspx

Photograph: drazenphoto/Envato
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