The Ultimate Workout Plan for Women: Gaining Strength and Leanness

The Workout Plan for Women to Get Strong and Lean

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio

As women increasingly take on the weight room, the focus has shifted to not just aesthetics but also strength and functionality. Lifting heavier weights not only helps in toning muscles but also in strengthening joints, enhancing sports performance, and much more. It’s essential to give attention to other muscle groups while working on achieving well-toned arms and glutes since women tend to have inherently weaker chests and shoulders.

Erika Shannon, a certified personal trainer and lead trainer for Daily Burn’s Power Cardio Program, points out that women are anatomically different from men, which makes them predisposed to having weaker chests and shoulders. It’s also crucial for women to concentrate on strengthening their core and pelvic floor, especially after pregnancy when they may have diastasis recti. Moreover, considering women generally have smaller, thinner bones than men, weightlifting is highly recommended to promote bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Below is a strength workout plan specifically tailored for women.

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The Workout Plan for Women to Get Strong

Are you ready to gain strength from head to toe? This compound dumbbell workout plan by Shannon’s Power Cardio not only targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously but also provides cardio benefits. According to Shannon, the use of compound movements ensures maximum efficiency in a minimal amount of time. So, why only work arms when you can engage legs, core, and cardiovascular system all at once? Grab a pair of dumbbells and perform eight reps of each exercise for two to three rounds. Remember not to shy away from lifting heavy weights, as more significant weights yield better results.

Workout Plan for Women: Hip Hinge to Reverse Fly

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1. Hip Hinge to Reverse Fly

Targets: Back and shoulders
This combination of good morning and reverse fly engages the thoracic spine, enabling you to retract your shoulder blades and open up the chest. According to Shannon, the reverse fly is excellent for opening up the upper back, which is crucial as women tend to hunch their shoulders forward while carrying out daily activities.

How to: Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your hips, and stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart (a). Engage your core, pull your shoulders back, and bend forward at the waist until your torso is parallel to the ground (b). Utilizing your back and shoulder muscles, lift your arms up to form a “T” with slightly bent elbows. Squeeze the shoulder blades together to maximize muscle engagement (c). Lower your arms and return to the starting position (e).

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Workout Plan for Women: Hammer Curl to Overhead Press

2. Hammer Curl to Overhead Press

Targets: Biceps and shoulders
This compound movement is a real-life functional pattern. As women are frequently picking things up and reaching high and low, this exercise is an excellent test of squatting ability. It is equally essential to engage the core. Shannon emphasizes on the importance of contracting the abs for balance, given the everyday activities like putting away groceries or playing with kids.

How to: Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in, and stand with feet slightly wider than hip distance (a). Activate your glutes, squat down with the weights between your ankles, then curl your arms to lift the weights up to shoulder height (b). Press the dumbbells overhead and then return them down by your sides (c).

RELATED: Get Sculpted Shoulders With These 5 Exercises

Workout Plan for Women: Rear Lunge Row

3. Rear Lunge to Row

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, and lats
No women’s workout plan is complete without lunges. They are excellent for improving balance, coordination, and strengthening the lower body. Shannon mentions that holding a lunge, even when supporting yourself on one elbow, provides great glute work. By keeping the back knee bent and distributing the weight equally, it’s possible to feel the impact distinctly.

How to: Stand with feet hip-distance apart and hold a dumbbell with your right hand, palms facing forward (a). Take a big step back with your right foot into a lunge (b). As you lower your body to the floor, pull the dumbbell up to your chest, forming a 90-degree angle (c). Stand back up and repeat on the left side.

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By incorporating these exercises into your workout routine, you can effectively target weak areas often neglected by women. As a result, you can achieve overall strength, enhanced bone health, and a leaner physique. Remember, consistency and proper form are key to reaping the benefits of these exercises.

Workout Plan for Women: Plank Row to Triceps Kickback

4. Plank Row to Triceps Kickback

Targets: Core, lats and triceps
One of the most effective dumbbell workouts for women, the plank row to triceps kickback targets muscle groups that are commonly weak. The key to maintaining form with this exercise is to have a wide stance and use your core and back to stabilize. If you have diastasis recti, perform the rows and kickbacks on all fours to engage your core and back while only holding weights in one hand.

How to: Start in a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and a dumbbell in each hand (a). While maintaining a plank, pull the right dumbbell up to your chest, bending your elbow to 90 degrees. Then, engage your triceps to fully extend your arm behind you (b). Keep hips square and core engaged throughout. Repeat on the left side.

Workout Plan for Women: Glute Bridge to Chest Fly

5. Glute Bridge to Chest Fly

Targets: Chest and glutes
This exercise aims to make everyday activities like pushing and pulling heavy things easier by strengthening the chest and glutes. When bringing your arms back from opening them up, try to maintain freedom in the chest. The glute bridge also strengthens the pelvic floor, making it a crucial addition to any strength workout plan for women.

How to: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, and raise them up directly over your chest (a). Lift your butt off the floor to perform a basic glute bridge (b). While holding this position, lower your hands out to the sides with a slight bend in your elbows (c). Bring your hands back in and lower your butt to the ground (c).

For more cardio-strength workout plans for women, sign up for the Daily Burn Power Cardio Program and get your first 30 days FREE! 

Read More
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