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Last Updated on October 30, 2018

The Ultimate 5-Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned

The Ultimate 5-Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned

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.

Warming Up

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.

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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. 1 minute of knee lifts
  2. 1 minute of heel digs
  3. 2 sets of 10 shoulder rolls per arm
  4. 10 knee bends
  5. 20 head rotations
  6. 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

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    1. Flat bench barbell press – 4 sets of 8 reps
    2. Push ups – 4 sets of 10 reps
    3. Cable crossovers – 3 sets of 15 reps
    4. Incline dumbbell flyes – 4 sets of 12 reps
    5. Barbell biceps curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
    6. Alternate arm hammer curls – 4 sets of 12 reps per arm
    7. Triceps rope overhead extensions – 3 sets of 20 reps
    8. Triceps dips – 3 sets of 15 reps
    9. 10 minutes on the elliptical machine

    Tuesday – Shoulders and Back

      1. Standing barbell military press – 4 sets of 10 reps
      2. Dumbbell lateral raises – 4 sets of 15 reps
      3. EZ bar upright rows – 3 sets of 15 reps
      4. Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 4 sets of 10 reps
      5. Dumbbell shrugs – 4 sets of 10 reps
      6. Close-grip lat pulldowns – 4 sets of 12 reps
      7. Dumbbell bent over rows – 4 sets of 12 reps per arm
      8. T-Bar rows – 4 sets of 10 reps
      9. 10 minutes on the stationary bike

      Wednesday – Cardio Circuit

        1. 10 burpees
        2. 10 push ups
        3. 15 crunches
        4. 20 squat thrusts
        5. 3 sets of 10 hanging leg raises
        6. 3 x 1-minute rounds of plank
        7. 20 minutes low intensity cardio on the treadmill

        Thursday – Strength day

          1. Incline dumbbell press – 5 sets of 5 reps
          2. Flat bench barbell press – 5 sets of 5 reps
          3. Deadlifts – 5 sets of 5 reps
          4. Barbell clean and press – 5 sets of 5 reps
          5. Barbell bent-over rows – 5 sets of 5 reps
          6. Barbell snatch – 5 sets of 5 reps
          7. 10 minutes on the stationary bike

          Friday – Legs

            1. Barbell squats – 4 sets of 8 reps
            2. Leg press machine – 3 sets of 12 reps
            3. Leg extensions – 3 sets of 15 reps
            4. Hamstring curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
            5. Walking lunges – 4 sets of 10 reps per leg
            6. Seated or standing calf raises – 4 sets of 20 reps per leg
            7. 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.

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            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.

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            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

            • 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

            More by this author

            Reda Elmardi

            Fitness and bodybuilding blogger

            The Ultimate 5-Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned The Ultimate Workout Routine for Men (Tailored for Different Fitness Level)

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            Last Updated on March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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