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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

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            Last Updated on November 20, 2018

            10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

            10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

            A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

            Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

            1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

            Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

            If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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            2. You put the cart before the horse.

            “Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

            3. You don’t believe in yourself.

            A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

            4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

            The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

            5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

            If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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            6. You don’t enjoy the process.

            Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

            The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

            7. You’re trying too hard.

            Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

            8. You don’t track your progress.

            Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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            9. You have no social support.

            It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

            10. You know your what but not your why.

            The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

            Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

            Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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            Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

            Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

            Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

            • The more specific you can make your goal,
            • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
            • The more encouraged you’ll be,
            • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

            I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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