4 Week Beginner’s Strength Training Workout for a Woman

Are you fed up with feeling crummy and finally ready to get into shape? If you are new to fitness you might not know that one of the most important parts of getting into shape is strength training. That being said, we know that strength training, when you are just beginning can be overwhelming. That is why a beginner’s strength training workout for a woman is important in order to get started the right way. Did I mention this workout plan can be done at home with limited space or in a gym? I’ve got your back on this…promise!

Whenever I have a conversation about lifting weights and strength training, I see many people confused and hear the inevitable “I have no clue where to start.” Many people have thought of weight lifting as something that just men do, but let me tell you, strength training is for women too!  

ladies working out

I have learned a lot about strength training and fitness in general and have covered some of those “fitness secrets” in a post I wrote a while back.

Contrary to popular belief, cardio is not the only way to lose weight. A combined effort of cardio and strength training is needed for both better health and weight loss.

Weight training is great for weight loss because building muscle increases metabolism, prevents injury and helps create a leaner looking body.

The Benefits of Strength Training for Women 

Strength training for women has significant benefits to health and weight loss. Here are just some of the benefits that you will find from adding strength training to your routine: 

  • Increased strength (beneficial for everyday activities such as yard work, carrying groceries, etc.)
  • Strength training increases muscle tone
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Stronger joints 
  • Longer calorie and fat burning benefits
  • Strength training supports bone density throughout the body

How Quickly Will I Build Strength as a Beginner? 

In fitness, there are no true quick fixes, but if you have only been focusing on cardio workouts, strength training for women is a great way to see fast results. It may only take you a matter of weeks to begin noticing your muscles becoming more toned and your overall strength improving, just by adding weights to your fitness routine. 

Once you have been working out for a while, it may seem like your improvements have slowed down. You’ll want to continue challenging your muscles as you get stronger, not only by increasing your weights, but doing different exercises as well. You’ll want to bookmark my 30 Day Fat Burning Workout to transition to after you complete this one.  

lady doing arm workout

Beginner’s Strength Training Equipment – What Tools Will I Need? 

You do not need an entire gym at your disposal in order to include a beginner’s strength training workout for a woman into your routine. Strength training for women requires very minimal equipment.

As a matter of fact, week one of this program relies solely on body weight, so no tools are necessary to begin with. That’s right. Even if you have no equipment on hand, you can still start today! Order supplies now to be ready for week 2.

Once you have finished week one, you will need:

(Links are Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase any of the items, I will receive a few pennies for it, but it won’t affect the price you pay. Thank you for helping me keep this site in operation.)

How Beginners Can Build Strength Without using Weights (Check out Week 1!) 

When you use the correct principles, you will see that you can find success with a beginner’s strength training workout program using just body weight. Sure, it isn’t as simple as grabbing a heavier dumbbell, but you can find success in building muscle and losing fat using just your body weight. 

Exercises such as push ups, squats, planks and lunges use your own body weight to help you build strength. These activities use the resistance of your body weight during these movements to build muscle. Plus, it’s easy to do these exercises at home without added equipment.

Strength Training Exercises for Beginners 

Strength training for women needs to include a variety of exercises, but when we are talking about beginner’s strength training exercises, we can start with just the basics. Some of the best strength training exercises that don’t use weights include the following:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Push Ups
  • Tricep Push Ups
  • Planks
  • High Plank
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Burpees 
  • Crunches

The BEST 4 Week Beginner’s Workout

The following is the best beginner’s strength training workout for a woman. While doing this program you will find that you are building muscle with each exercise and you will start to see changes in your body as each week of the routine goes by. This strength building program for women is low impact, but high results and full of benefits that will do wonders for your body. You could begin to see results in as little as 4 weeks. 

In the following section, we will break out your workout by days of the week, focusing on a particular body part on each day. We will give you several exercises to incorporate into each day. 

The workouts don’t include a warm-up, but it’s vital you do some light jogging, jumping jacks, arm swings, etc to warm up your muscles for a few minutes before starting.

To make it easier for you, we have a printable PDF of this program for you to reference it easily when you are ready for the day’s exercise.

woman doing forward lunge leg workout

Week 1 – Using your bodyweight for strength training 

This beginner’s workout will help you build strength using just your body weight, no equipment required! As we have previously mentioned, using your bodyweight is an ideal way to strengthen your muscles and joints with very low impact to your body. 

You can and will likely add weights later, but body weight training is the ideal way for beginners to get started on a workout program. 

Week 1 | Day 1 | Monday Arm Day 

  • Push Ups – Lying face down on the floor, place your hands palm down on the floor. Raise your body by extending your arms, then lowering yourself back down. Be sure to keep your body straight throughout the exercise.  
  • Tricep Push Ups – To do a tricep push up, get into a push up position, except with your hands underneath your chest area palms down with your thumbs and fingers in the shape of a triangle. Raise and lower your body in this position, while keeping your core tight. Do 10+ reps, 3 times.

Week 1 | Day 2 | Tuesday Leg Day 

  • Squat – To do a squat, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes turned out slightly. Staring forward, bend at the knees and drop your butt to your lower body, while keeping your heels flat on the floor. At the bottom of the exercise, hold your position momentarily and push back up. Do 10+ reps.
  • Lunges – To do a lunge, stand upright with your core tightened. With one leg, step forward and lower your body until the knee on your back leg almost touches the floor, making sure to not extend your front knee over your toes. Step back, stand upright, repeat with the alternate leg. Do 10+ reps.

Week 1 | Day 3 | Wednesday Cardio Day 

There are many different cardio exercises that you can choose to do here. You can always choose to walk, jog or run. Alternatively, you can do the following cardio exercises that are also great for muscle building.

  • Jumping Jacks – To do a jumping jack begin by standing tall with your arms at your sides and your legs straight. Jump up, spreading your legs to hip-width apart, while bringing your hands above your head. Jump again while reversing the position of your arms and legs. Do 10+ reps 3 times.  
  • Burpees – A burpee is best described as a push up followed by a jump squat. You start in squat position, drop down to do a push up then fish off with a jump back into squat position.

Week 1 | Day 4 | Thursday Core Day 

A strong core is the basis for a strong body. These core exercises require no additional equipment and can help you to get into great shape. 

  • Planks – To do a plank, hold yourself up on the floor face down with your body weight resting on your forearms and toes. Making sure your core stays tight and your body is straight. Hold this pose as long as you can.  
  • Crunches- To do a crunch lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor and hip width apart. Cross your arms over your chest, tighten your abs and inhale. While exhaling lift your upper body toward your knees, inhale and return to the lying down position. Do 10+ reps, 3 times. 

Week 1 | Day 5 | Friday Total Body 

We have now worked on all body parts, so on total body day we can mix it up and throw exercises from each day into your routine. Here is an idea of what a total body workout day could look like. 

  • Jumping Jacks – To do a jumping jack begin by standing tall with your arms at your sides and your legs straight. Jump up, spreading your legs to hip-width apart, while bringing your hands above your head. Jump again while reversing the position of your arms and legs. Do 10+ reps 3 times.  
  • High Planks – To do a high plank, get into plank position except this time hold yourself up with the palms of your hands instead of your forearms. 
  • Lunges – To do a lunge, stand upright with your core tightened. With one leg, step forward and lower your body until the knee on your back leg almost touches the floor, making sure to not extend your front knee over your toes. Step back, stand upright, repeat with the alternate leg. Do 10+ reps.
  • Push Ups – Lying face down on the floor, place your hands palm down on the floor. Raise your body by extending your arms, then lowering yourself back down. Be sure to keep your body straight throughout the exercise

Week 1 | Day 6 | Saturday Stretch & Recovery Day 

Saturday is a great day for working on flexibility. Why not try some yoga stretching? Recovery is an important part of our fitness journey and stretching is an important tool in the recovery process. Make sure you do full body stretches that activate most of the muscles in your body since you have been using them this week! 

Week 1 | Day 7 | Sunday Rest & Meditate Day 

I know it is hard to get into a rest mindset when you are all about exercising, but rest is imperative to fitness success. Take the final day of the week to rest your body. Making sure to hydrate. Rest day is also a great opportunity to add meditation into your fitness routine. It’s also a good time to add in some health journaling and goal setting as well. 

Week 2 & 3 – Introducing Weight Training 

After week one of your beginner’s strength training workout for a woman, you are probably ready to start adding some weight resistance into your workout routine. 

For weeks two and three we will be doing the same workouts with the same amount of weight. This is a good way to get your body acclimated to weight training and start building muscle the right way.

We talked about it earlier, but let’s revisit why strength training for women is so beneficial. When we are lifting weights, we are creating an environment which is placing demand on our system. This demand causes our bodies to adapt by becoming stronger and more efficient. These improvements are followed by joint strength improvement, increased cardio health and so much more

Week 2 | Day 1 | Monday Arm Day 

It’s arm day! Grab some dumbbells or a kettlebell and get a great arm workout in. These workouts will differ a bit from the body weight arm exercise, but you can be sure that you are building muscle.  

  • Curls
  • Tricep Kickbacks
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises
  • Overhead Tricep Extensions
woman using weights for arm beginner's strength training

Week 2 | Day 2 | Tuesday Leg Day 

For leg day, you can do the same workouts that we did during our body weight training, with the addition of some weights in your hands. You can hold a dumbbell in front of you or you can hold dumbbells along your sides for a great workout. 

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Side Lunges
  • Dumbbell Step ups

Week 2 | Day 3 | Wednesday Cardio Day 

For cardio day we will do the same cardio exercises that we did on the body weight days. Just getting your heart rate up and staying active for at least 30 minutes will go far in helping you to reach your fitness goals. 

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumprope
  • Stair climbing (if you have stairs close by)
  • Repeat until you have been active for 30 minutes

Week 2 | Day 4 | Thursday Core Day 

Core day should consist of the same types of workouts that we did in the body weight week. Some of these exercises can be done without weights and some can be enhanced using dumbbells or kettlebells

  • Planks
  • Crunches
  • High Planks
  • Wood Chops (holding a kettlebell or single dumbbell in both hands, tighten your core and move your body as though you were chopping wood)

Week 2 | Day 5 | Friday Total Body 

Total body workout day includes a little bit of everything. These exercises include cardio exercises, core exercises and ones that are fitting for arm and leg day. For the best total body workout day, do 10 reps of each exercise 3 times. 

  • Jumping Jacks
  • High Planks
  • Lunges w/dumbbells
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls
  • Squats with dumbbells or kettlebell
  • Crunches

Week 2 | Day 6 | Saturday Stretch & Recovery Day 

After a week of intense workouts, it is important to give your body the recovery that it needs. In order for your body to fully recover, you need to be sure to do the proper stretches. These stretches help to prevent muscle injury and also help to ease the soreness that comes with working out. Your stretch out session should be slow paced and low intensity. 

  • Joint rotations
  • Arm Swings
  • Shoulder Circles
  • Side Bends
  • Quad Stretches
  • Hamstring Stretches

Week 2 | Day 7 | Sunday Rest & Meditate Day 

Today is the day to rest. Fill up your favorite water bottle, find your most comfortable spot to relax in and just be calm. You have worked very hard taking care of yourself this week. It is time to reward yourself with a day to feel good and relaxed. 

We mentioned it earlier, but this is a great day to throw some meditation into your self care day! 

Week 4 – Strength Training Intensity 

Now that we are several weeks into your beginner’s strength training program, I think you are ready to up your intensity levels.  To increase our intensity levels we can either increase the amount of weight we lift or increase our repetitions. 

For this increase in strength training intensity, I suggest doing the same workouts as we did the last two weeks, but let’s add an additional 2 reps to each set. 2 additional reps may not seem like much, but it really adds up! 

Week 4 | Day 1 | Monday Arm Day 

Kettlebells or dumbbells can be used interchangeably for many of these arms exercises. Just be sure to take each exercise slow and steady. You want to maintain the correct form for maximum benefit and to prevent injury. 

Also be sure to breathe slowly throughout your workout. 

  • Curls
  • Tricep Kickbacks
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises
  • Overhead Tricep Extensions

Do 12 reps of each exercise and repeat 3 times. 

Week 4 | Day 2 | Tuesday Leg Day 

Again, like with arm day, kettlebells can be interchanged with dumbbells, so feel free to use what you have available. 

  • Squats
  • Lunges 
  • Side Lunges
  • Step Ups

Again, do 12 reps of each exercise, 3 times. You can do them 3 in a row or you can do a circuit. 

Week 4 | Day 3 | Wednesday Cardio Day 

To step up our intensity on cardio day, do 2 extra reps of each exercise and maybe cut down on the rest time between exercises. You can add in extra cardio exercises too if you would like. Just as long as you keep moving and giving it your all. 

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumprope

Week 4 | Day 4 | Thursday Core Day 

Core day is a very important day in your week of workouts! Having good core strength is imperative to having a strong healthy body. Add a dumbbell or kettlebell to the exercises that are marked with an asterisk below and you will find yourself with a strong core in no time! Do 12 reps of each exercise 3 times.

  • Planks
  • Crunches
  • High Planks
  • Wood Chops* 

Week 4 | Day 5 | Friday Total Body 

It’s a total body workout day! Adding just 2 extra reps to each of these exercises will feel much harder, but it will be worth it when you see how quickly your body will respond. 

  • Jumping Jacks
  • High Planks
  • Lunges w/dumbbells
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls
  • Squats with dumbbells or kettlebell
  • Crunches

Week 4 | Day 6 | Saturday Stretch & Recovery Day 

Don’t forget to stretch! Stretching is an integral part of your fitness as it is imperative to your recovery process. This is especially true during the weeks where we step up the intensity because your muscles will be sore from the added strain. 

  • Joint rotations
  • Arm Swings
  • Shoulder Circles
  • Side Bends
  • Quad Stretches
  • Hamstring Stretches

Or, if you are a yoga fan, you can take your Saturday to do a nice refreshing yoga session.

Week 4 | Day 7 | Sunday Rest & Meditate Day 

Today is the day you have worked hard for all week long! This is your day to rest. Make sure you take the opportunity to hydrate well. Grab your journal, find a comfortable spot and just relax. Or, find your favorite meditation place and sounds and take the time for yourself and meditate on this day of rest. You have earned it!

Congratulations on finishing the Beginner’s Strength Training Workout! I hope you’ll comment or email me at stephanie@fitfoundme.com to share your victories with me.

about stephanie

About Stephanie

Just an everyday stay at home mom who one day decided I didn’t want to become the stereotypical overweight, middle-aged, out of breath, mom anymore. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time and I became the athlete I never knew existed. Read more...

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Thank you for the ideas and instruction. The more I “start”, the better I get. Lol!

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