When it comes to shedding fat and losing inches, nothing beats a good strength-training workout. Many women shy away from lifting heavy weights for fear of “bulking up”. But researchers have found that unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition, plus a host of other benefits, as well. If you’re looking for some of the best strength exercises for women to guarantee more confidence this summer, read on.
For maximum results, follow this routine of the best strength exercises for women 3-4 times per week, allowing for a rest day in between. Repeat the routine 3 times with a 30-60 second rest break after each set and watch your body transform.
For all of the following exercises, choose weights that you can complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps, but not more. When you’re able to complete 12 reps with ease, up your weight size.
Here are the best strength exercises for women:
- The Squat to Overhead Press
It’s time to be a badass girl with a good ass, so drop it like a squat!
To firm up your butt and abs while working your quadriceps, hamstrings and shoulders – there’s nothing better than a good set of squats.
Place your feet at shoulder-width apart, bend your elbows and carry weights in each hand at shoulder height with your palms facing forwards.
Lower your body into a squat position and then push through your heels to stand up again while pressing your weights above your head. Return slowly to your start position and repeat. How deep should you squat? That depends a lot on your levels of hip and lower-back stability and mobility. But your glutes will definitely benefit from going down to a point where your knees are bent at least 90 degrees, or what is usually called “parallel.”
- The Single Leg Dumbbell Row
Work your back and shoulders hard while toning up your abs, quadriceps, hamstrings and butt – all you need is a chair and weights!
Hold one weight in your left hand. Move your body forwards so your back flattens and becomes parallel to the floor. Use the back of a chair to rest your right hand on and form a T-shape by extending your left arm towards the floor and lifting your right leg straight up behind you.
With your right leg in the air, slowly bend your left elbow, pulling the weight upwards until your elbow is at the same level, hold the weight up for a few seconds and then lower.
- The Step-Up Bicep Curl
Again, all you need is a chair and some hand weights to work your butt, legs, abs and biceps. This exercise is a mix of strength training and cardio work, so you’re bound to work up a sweat!
Place your left foot firmly on a strong chair with the other one on the floor and hold your weights in your hands. Place your bodyweight onto your left foot and lift your right leg up to stand on the chair completely. As you do this exercise curl your weights upwards towards your shoulders, palms up, to add more definition to the bicep and shoulder area. Step back down to the floor with both feet and lower the arms.
Repeat the exercise on the other side.
- The Dolphin Plank
Have you heard the saying “good things come to those who plank”?
The plank is an awesome way of toning up; it especially works wonders on your abs, back and shoulders. The dolphin plank takes it to the next level, and this is one of the favorite strength exercises for women as it gets results, and gets them fast!
Start in an elbow plank. Make sure you keep your back and hips parallel to the floor.
To complete the dolphin plank, breathe in while lifting your hips upwards to form an inverted V-shape, pause for 5 seconds and then lower your body back into the elbow plank position.
- The Curtsy Lunge
Channel your inner ballerina and combine it with your inner warrior to rock this amazing strength exercise for women.
Work your hips, butt, abs, quadriceps and hamstrings to add more definition to your lower body.
Stand on the floor with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed out, and place your hands on your hips. Take a big step with your left food diagonally backwards and cross it behind your right leg in the beginning of a curtsy position and bend your knees.
Return to your starting position and switch sides, doing a curtsy lunge on the other leg.
Push-ups are the ultimate exercise! Is there a muscle group they don’t work? Push-ups are a compound exercise and work the arms, shoulders, chest, back, abs and even your legs.
Set your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. You can be on your toes or on your knees, but the rule remains the same – your body needs to be in a straight line so no booties sticking up in the air. Steadily lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle or smaller. Hold for a second and then push your body back up in a straight line to starting position.
These exercises will help you tone up in all those places you want to tone up. The benefits of strength exercises for women are many. Cut your body fat while burning calories more efficiently – do it right and you’ll soon see that strength exercises are even more effective than hardcore cardio sessions at the gym. If you’re looking to lose fat and tone up, strength training is worth it. Not only will you drop the pounds and dress sizes, but you’ll also be able to work on preserving and enhancing your muscle and bone mass.
Even if you think your cardio sessions are working, you’ll still be able to up the ante with adding these strength exercises into your everyday routine – every single workout plan needs this! Who doesn’t want to perform better, feel stronger, lose weight and improve balance? It’s time to pull out your weights and find out how strong you really are!