Female’s Beginner’s Guide to Weight Training

beginner's guide to female weight training

By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S
You may have looked at the weights side of the gym, but there are a lot of intimidating people over there and you don’t want to look like an idiot, right?
Well, we are going to help you with that. And even more, most of those intimidating people really don’t know what they are doing either.  So, it’s all good.
First of all, you probably need to be convinced if you need weights anyways.
Weights won’t get you bulky.
The first fear of weights for women is a fear of getting bulky.  I can tell you the science says otherwise.
Our male clients can maybe see 20 lbs of muscle gain per year with good nutrition and training.  Women have about 40% of the muscle nuclei that men have, so your genetic potential for muscle growth is almost half that.
Additionally, you have about 30% of the androgens (muscle building hormones) that men have.  Again, you getting “bulky” from weight training will not happen.
Cardio is not your fat loss friend.
Cardio cannot build you toned arms, chiseled legs, and a great booty.  Only weights can build the tone and definition in those areas.
Hormonally, running and excessive cardio produces mass amounts of cortisol.  When this hormone is chronically elevated in your system, you succumb to fat gain, not fat loss.  Cortisol helps combat inflammation in the body, which also accumulates fat to support the process.
So, kick the cardio.
You may be convinced now about lifting weights to build your dream body, but you have not the slightest idea of how to put a workout program together.
Let’s say some general rules first:

  • When lifting weights, stick to free weights much more often than machines.  They will allow your specific body mechanics to operate like they should naturally, and you will burn more calories in the process.
  • Always choose a weight that you can lift for all the reps in a given set, with maybe 1 rep left in the tank if you had to.  This needs to be the intensity of your training, or you will not see the results you want.  Kick those pink 3 lbs dumbbells and pick up the heavy stuff.
  • Track the actual weights you lift in each workout.  This will motivate you with your own strength improvements and help you know what weights to lift from week to week.
  • The rest intervals are KEY!  Stick to those religiously.
  • If you aren’t out of breath in the compound movements like the squat, deadlift, and bench press, maybe reassess if you have enough weight.

Here is a sample 3 of workouts and the exercise videos for each exercise below so you can see the technique you need to use for each exercise.
I would complete these on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Enjoy the weights and the results.
Day 1
Back Squats, 8 Repetitions


Rest: 75 seconds
Complete 4 sets
Split Squat, 8 Repetitions each side

Rest: 75 seconds
Complete 4 sets
Prone Leg Curl, 8 Repetitions

Go right into Leg Extension
Leg Extension, 8 Repetitions

Rest: 30 seconds
Complete 5 sets
Day 2
Bench Press, 8 Repetitions

Rest: 75 seconds
Complete 4 sets
Incline Dumbbell Press, 8 Repetitions

Go right into Knee Push-ups
Knee Push Up, 8 Repetitions

Rest: 90 seconds
Complete 4 sets
Rope Press Down, 12 Repetitions

Dumbbell Lateral Raise, 12 Repetitions

Rest: 60 seconds
Complete 4 sets
Day 3
Deadlift, 8 Repetitions

Rest: 120 seconds
Complete 4 sets
Lat Pull Down, 8 Repetitions

Go right into Rope Face Pull
Rope Face Pull, 12 Repetitions

Rest: 60 seconds
Complete 4 sets
Dumbbell Hammer Curl, 8 Repetitions

Go right into Preacher curl
Preacher Curl, 8 Repetitions

Rest :60
4 sets
If you want more, or more specificity, or help with other areas of your fitness like nutrition, you may want to check out our next online Strong and Sporty 28 Day Challenge.

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