Men, it seems, are not the only ones who enjoy lifting weights. Nowadays, you’re just as likely to see women in the gym, squatting, benching, and deadlifting. The ‘Girls that lift’ movement is now very much established, and we think that’s awesome.
Years ago, if you walked into a gym, more often than not, the sight you would be greeted with would be a weight room full of men, and a cardio room full of women. Women were generally advised to stay away from weights as it was wrongly believed that lifting weights would turn them into hulking she-beasts.
As research was conducted, and as common sense began to prevail, people found that lifting weights as a woman would not cause you to add 50 pounds of muscle to your frame overnight. In fact, it was found that resistance training provided a shapelier, curvier, leaner, more defined physique than one which could be attained through cardio alone.
That’s why today, we are going to be looking at a 5 day workout routine for women to get strong and toned.
If you’re a woman who is looking to get bigger, stronger, and more toned, the following routine is perfect.
Table of Contents
- Warming Up
- 5 Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned
- Diet and Nutrition
- More Resources for Women Getting in Shape
- More Recommended Health & Fitness Experts on Lifehack
Before you commit to any form of workout routine, it is absolutely vital that you take the time to properly warm up before training.
Warming up before training is important because it helps improve your flexibility and mobility, and helps reduce the risk of injury. By stretching the muscles before training, you help to increase muscle fiber elasticity. This is important because it means that the muscle fibers are far less-likely to rip and tear.
A good warm up will also increase your core body temperature and will potentially improve your athletic performance. Warming up boosts circulation, which in turn means more blood flows around the body. This ensures that more oxygen and nutrients can be carried around the body and be fed to the awaiting muscle cells. The more energy they have, the harder the muscles can work when you’re training.
Simply doing a few reps with just the bar, or a very light set of dumbbells, does not constitute as an effective warmup.
Sample Warm Up Routine
Let’s look at how you can warm up properly to get the most from your training.
A sample warmup routine could consist of the following exercises and movements:
- 1 minute of knee lifts
- 1 minute of heel digs
- 2 sets of 10 shoulder rolls per arm
- 10 knee bends
- 20 head rotations
- 10 hip rotations
5 Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned
Now let’s take a look at the ultimate 5-day workout routine for women to get strong and toned. If followed correctly, you should start seeing and feeling noticeable improvements on a weekly basis.
The idea here is to build lean muscle while keeping calorie expenditure high to melt away stubborn body fat in the process
Monday – Chest and Arms
- Flat bench barbell press – 4 sets of 8 reps
- Push ups – 4 sets of 10 reps
- Cable crossovers – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Incline dumbbell flyes – 4 sets of 12 reps
- Barbell biceps curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Alternate arm hammer curls – 4 sets of 12 reps per arm
- Triceps rope overhead extensions – 3 sets of 20 reps
- Triceps dips – 3 sets of 15 reps
- 10 minutes on the elliptical machine
Tuesday – Shoulders and Back
- Standing barbell military press – 4 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell lateral raises – 4 sets of 15 reps
- EZ bar upright rows – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 4 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell shrugs – 4 sets of 10 reps
- Close-grip lat pulldowns – 4 sets of 12 reps
- Dumbbell bent over rows – 4 sets of 12 reps per arm
- T-Bar rows – 4 sets of 10 reps
- 10 minutes on the stationary bike
Wednesday – Cardio Circuit
- 10 burpees
- 10 push ups
- 15 crunches
- 20 squat thrusts
- 3 sets of 10 hanging leg raises
- 3 x 1-minute rounds of plank
- 20 minutes low intensity cardio on the treadmill
Thursday – Strength day
- Incline dumbbell press – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Flat bench barbell press – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Deadlifts – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Barbell clean and press – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Barbell bent-over rows – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Barbell snatch – 5 sets of 5 reps
- 10 minutes on the stationary bike
Friday – Legs
- Barbell squats – 4 sets of 8 reps
- Leg press machine – 3 sets of 12 reps
- Leg extensions – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Hamstring curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Walking lunges – 4 sets of 10 reps per leg
- Seated or standing calf raises – 4 sets of 20 reps per leg
- 10 minutes on the elliptical machine
Diet and Nutrition
It doesn’t matter how hard you are training in the gym, if you aren’t eating the right foods at the right time, all of your efforts will have been in vain. You can’t out-train a bad diet, which is why we’re going to share a few diet and nutritional secrets with you before leaving.
Remember, we’re looking at the ultimate 5-day workout routine for women to get strong and toned, and if you’re not eating right, you will become neither strong, nor toned.
Here are some tried and tested methods proven to give great results.
1. Drink enough water
When it comes to exercise and health in general, adequate hydration is crucial.
Water makes up close to 80% of our bodies, and we need it to perform even the most basic of physiological processes. Without adequate amounts of water in our bodies, we run the risk of dehydrating, which can affect athletic performance, and our health in general.
When we exercise, we perspire and can lose important electrolytes via our sweat. This is why it’s important to stay well hydrated during exercise, to help replenish the fluids, minerals, and electrolytes we lost through training.
Aim for 2.5 litres of mineral water per day. Failing that, filtered water is still very good for you.
2. Get plenty of healthy protein
Protein is vital for muscle growth and repair. If you want to become strong and/or toned, you need to make sure you are taking enough protein in each day.
Aim for around 0.6 – 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and be sure to spread it out evenly throughout the day. Look for lean and healthy sources like fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy, and grass-fed red meat.
3. Invest in a good quality whey protein
Providing you can consume whey, whey protein is a supplement you will need to invest in if you wish to build muscle and burn fat.
Whey protein shakes are perfect because one shake provides around 30 or more grams of protein per serving. They’re easy to make, convenient, they taste great, and they’re full of other nutrients that the muscles thrive upon.
4. Don’t forget your veggies
As well as protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, you will also need to make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables.
Vegetables are full of digestive-friendly dietary fiber, they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they help to give your meals extra texture and flavour.
Don’t rely on vitamin supplements alone when it comes to nutrient intakes, instead, make sure you eat plenty of fresh vegetables each day.
More Resources for Women Getting in Shape
- 10 Most Common Mistakes Women Make in the Gym
- Get in Shape Today with the 15 Top Fitness Apps
- 4 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Workout Motivation
More Recommended Health & Fitness Experts on Lifehack
- Adam Evans — BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in health and fitness
- Candace Rhodes — A fitness coach to help women achieve amazing toned bodies
- Richard Adefioye — A writer with an unquenchable passion for healthy living and productivity
Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com