How to Start Weight Training for Women


When women think of losing weight and toning up their bodies, many think of joining a gym and start attending exercise classes. Some of your friends may start to train as runners hoping to complete a 5K race in a few months.

But how many do you know who've started lifting weights? Training with weights is one of the best things a woman can do to help her tone up her muscles and lose weight.

Contrary to popular belief, you will not bulk-up if you begin lifting weights. In fact, it cannot happen because women's bodies lack the amount of testosterone it would take to cause their muscles to gain excessively in size.

You can, however, gain some definition to your muscles. They will become stronger without growing in size.

You absolutely will not start to look like The Hulk! All things considered, weight training can be very beneficial to a woman's health in multiple ways.

As you begin or increase your weight lifting, you will be burning more calories. Lifting increases your metabolism for several hours, even up to 24 hours after your work out.

The harder you work out, the more calories will be burned up and the more the stored up fat will begin to break down.

Weight training will decrease the possibility of your experiencing osteoporosis because working with weights will make your bones denser. It will reduce the chances of your experiencing broken or fractured bones.

The strength of your connective tissues and joints will be increased as you lift weights, thus decreasing the possibility of injuries during your day to day routines. Wearing the best workout gloves will prevent callouses and provide wrist support.

Eventually, you will find that your back, shoulders and your core have grown stronger, bringing with them improved posture, allowing you to stand straight and tall.

 Having a strong back will reduce the most lower back pain you may have been experiencing or keep it from ever forming in the first place.

If you're ready to start building muscle, increasing your metabolism and losing weight, it's time to find a weight training program that will suit your needs.

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Choose a Form of Weight Training

There are different kinds of strength training that will produce a variety of results in your body. Some kinds of weight training will increase your level of endurance. Other methods of strength training will cause you to become stronger.

There are some types of weight lifting that will not result in much of any substantial gain. Let me share a little bit of information about differing methods. It will help you decide which type of weight training you would prefer and which one will be the best for you.

Power Lifting

The main goal in powerlifting is to gain or increase your strength to an extreme level. For a powerlifter, appearance is not what matters to them. Their concern is in being able to lift incredibly heavyweights.

Only a few repetitions will need to be performed, and as you train, you will slightly increase the weight you're lifting or the number of reps you will repeat. That is how you gain strength and muscle in powerlifting. To find the best kind of weight training equipment for you, check my guide on the best strength training equipment

Isometric Exercise

This particular type of weight training works by isolating a muscle or muscle group. You will hold the muscle in one position, not contracting it at all for a specific number of seconds.

Planking is a good example of an isometric exercise. This is a simple yet effective way to build your muscles and your endurance.

Circuit Training

In this method, you will perform several exercises one right after the other and complete several repetitions of each exercise. For example, you might do 20 squats, 20 weighted sit-ups, 20 calf raises, and so on, with no break in between.

Circuit training will burn fat and cause you to increase your endurance levels


The reason people body build is to make their muscles big – very big. They will usually train only one muscle group a day. Eating a large amount of protein is particularly important for them to help in building and repairing muscle tissue.

They will lift a large amount of weight on alternating days. The muscles will grow bigger though not necessarily stronger. For the bodybuilder, the goal is to make their muscles as large as possible.

High-Volume Training

As with bodybuilding, you will work on improving only one muscle group once a week to strengthen the endurance of that muscle group. The muscles will increase in size as you repeat one exercise and lift the same amount of weight for a certain number of sets. You will slightly increase that weight every week making those muscles increasingly stronger.

Sample Beginner Weightlifting Routine for Women

Strength training for women is a great way to lose weight, firm up any flabby muscles you may have developed over the years and increase your endurance to carry out all of the physical tasks you have on a daily basis.

It will also increase your metabolism and help you build strong bones which will keep them a lot safer from the possibility of fracturing or breaking. The chances of developing osteoporosis will decrease, and your overall health will improve as you continue to progress in your weight training program.

You will need to have these simple items at hand:

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    An exercise mat
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    A bottle of water
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    3-pound dumbbells
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    5-pound dumbbells
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    8-pound dumbbells

Let's Begin

  • 1
    As with any exercise program, begin with warming up your muscles. Try to make sure you're stretching all the muscle groups to get them ready for your weight training routine. Plan for between 8-10 minutes of warming up. You can follow a formal series of stretches and old-style calisthenics, or go for jumping jacks and running in place.
  • 2
    The first exercise will be squats. Your feet should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Make sure you keep your head, chest, and shoulders upright and that you're looking forward as you start to bend your knees. Push your butt as far back as you can and lower your body, bending at the knees. Do 10-12 reps.
  • 3
    Next, you will take two dumbbells, one in each hand for the dumbbell bench press. Lying down on a flat bench, set the dumbbells on your thighs, with palms facing toward each other as you grasp them. Raise each dumbbell straight up, moving at a slow and steady pace. Inhale as you lower the weights down and exhale as you raise them up each time. Do 10 reps.
  • 4
    Standing upright, you will hold a dumbbell in each hand to perform a tricep extension. You will have your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your hands and raise each dumbbell until they are over your head and your arms are extended fully. Lower your arms and repeat. Do 8 to 12 reps.
  • 5
    Next in your program are the push-ups. Place your hands under your shoulders with your legs extended out behind you. The balls of your feet will be on the ground. Squeeze your butt and your stomach muscles and bend your elbows, lowering your body toward the ground letting your chest touch the ground. Push yourself back up and return to your first position. Do 2 sets of 10 sit-ups.
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    For the one arm dumbbell row, hold a dumbbell in one hand with your feet shoulder-width apart. The front leg will be bent and the back leg straight, leaning slightly forward. The dumbbell should be held in hand on the same side as the leg that is straight. Suck in your stomach and lower the dumbbell until your elbow is straight. Keeping your back straight, bend your elbow as you raise the dumbbell up keeping it close to your torso. Repeat this 10 times, then switch the position of your legs and do 10 reps with the other hand.
  • 7
    The final exercise of your strength training session will be a plank. For this exercise, begin by lying flat on your exercise mat with your face down and your hands in front of your shoulders. For a low-plank, raise up on your forearms – arms bent at the elbows – while making a fist with each hand. Curl your toes as you raise up and hold this prone position for at least 15 seconds, but remain in the plank position as long as you are able. Keep your stomach muscles tight while you plank.
  • 8
    And finally, even though you've completed your strength training, you still have one more vital exercise routine to perform. Please do not end your work out without taking a few more minutes to cool down. This is just as important as the warm-up, in the beginning, to help in preventing injury and for increasing your flexibility. Your muscles need to be stretched out and relaxed after you've completed the day's training. You'll be very happy that you did it.

A Few Useful Tips

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

Since I'm primarily talking to those who are absolute beginners at weight training or those who've been away from it for a very long time, the best way to go about this will be to learn a series of basic exercises. Learn the mechanics of each one, and you will become very comfortable executing them as you go through your training routine 2 or 3 times every week.


Set Your Goals

Before you start this program, you really ought to decide what you plan to get out of this training routine and how you intend to accomplish it. Write down your short-term goals as well as your long-term goals. Know what you want to achieve and be specific about where you intend to end up.

How much weight do you want to lose and how much weight do you want to be able to lift? Be realistic and keep track of your progress.

Begin as a Light-Weight

You're just getting started with a lifelong strength building program. Start with the lighter weights as you find out what you're capable of lifting. Begin with 5 or 10-pound dumbbells or other weights. Experiment with these to see how they feel.

Can you do 10 reps with the weight you've chosen? If it is a challenge but you know you could make it to 11 or 12 reps, that's a good place to start. If that weight was pretty easy to work with and you could have continued to do 20 reps, then you need to move up to a heavier weight.

Get Some Professional Help

If you're not sure how to do a particular exercise ask one of your friends to help you out so you will learn the correct way to perform each exercise. Get off to the right start so you will make the most of your weight training. Doing an exercise in the wrong way might, at best, give you a strong stomach muscle that sticks out.

But you could also cause yourself a lot of pain and do damage to your joints, muscle or tissue. When you have questions about the right way to lift or do any particular exercise, never be afraid to ask for help.

What is Your Body Telling You?

If you're wondering about your form or if a different way of doing an exercise could be better, think about how your muscles are feeling. If the exercise is meant to tone your upper back, but your arms are hurting from doing a dumbbell row, then you're doing something wrong. Stop what you're doing immediately, so you don't put any further strain on your arms.

Work step-by-step through the exercise but without the weights. See if you can figure out how to correct the way work with the barbell without hurting your arms.

Keep Moving Forward

As you are working on each exercise, you should always think about when it might be time to push yourself forward. When 10 reps with the 8-pound dumbbell have become comfortable, push yourself a little harder with 15 reps.

Stay with that until your muscles become used to that. At that point, you may want to move up to a heavier dumbbell doing fewer reps as your muscles adjust to the new weight.

Give Your Body a Rest

Remember to give yourself a break. Although you may hear people telling you to “push through the pain” that doesn't mean you should be reckless with your health. The pain is there for a few good reasons. One of those is to remind you to give the strength training a short rest to allow your muscles to heal and repair themselves.

You will gain more from your training if you balance the workouts with times of rest. In fact, after you've done a total body training program, you should give yourself a complete day to let your muscles recuperate.


I hope this has given you some ideas of how you can begin your weight training program at home. The routine mentioned here is only one idea of what you can do, and just one stage. You will need to make a few choices about what kind of program you want to follow and figure out how much weight you can lift in the beginning.

Think about your goals and write them down on paper. Maybe you can find a friend to work out with you. Hold each other accountable.

Don't let the other one give up and don't you quit either. Strength training is good for weight loss, but remember how it will work toward strengthening your bones and preventing bone diseases later in life. It really is an excellent exercise program for life.

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