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Beginner’s Workout Program For Women

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

beginner's workout program for women

Ready to start down a path of fitness, but not sure where to start? You need a beginner's workout program for women!

Whether you're new to working out or just starting back after a long break, it can be intimidating trying to put together your own workout routine.

Plus, it can be tough figuring out what the best beginner's workout program for women should include as far as improving your physique and fitness levels

One of the hardest parts of any fitness journey is getting started.

The key is to have a plan that will get you results starting from day one.

As a busy mom, it’s not easy to figure out the best beginner's workout program for women while also juggling a hectic family life.

Luckily, you can build strength and lose weight without spending hours exercising.

One of the best ways to achieve this is through metabolic resistance training and full body exercises that combine strength and aerobic training.

Ready to start your beginner's workout program for women?

Exercise is important, but don't forget nutrition! Here are the key nutrients that all women need.

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Why Should Women Strength Train?

As women age, lean body mass decreases, something known as sarcopenia.

Studies have shown that this appears to be more from muscle disuse rather than just aging alone, and can begin as early as age 30!

However, regular exercise can help you maintain muscle mass.

Having more lean muscle mass will increase your metabolism, meaning that your body will be more efficient at burning calories throughout the day.

Studies have also shown that increased lean body mass burns more calories at rest than fat mass.

This leads to increased weight loss and improved health.

In addition, strength training has been associated with a decreased risk of other chronic diseases like osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes.

Having stronger muscles means not only will you look great and be healthier overall, but you will also be able to do everyday activities more easily.

You will be able to complete tasks that require lifting, reaching, pushing, or pulling much more easily when you have a higher level of fitness and strength.

And as a busy mom, this is definitely a plus!

Discover all of the benefits of weight lifting for women!

Incorporating Full Body Workouts

Women should also focus on full-body workouts so that you can work on each major muscle group in a single workout session instead of isolating muscle groups one day a week.

For example, instead of spending one workout day focused on your back or legs, you can also exercise your upper body, core, and lower body at the same time with full-body workouts.

And research has shown that increasing the frequency of training each muscle group can lead to bigger strength gains as compared to isolating body parts and only targeting them once a week.

This full-body workout can be done at home with no equipment!

Tips for the Beginner

There is so much information out there about workouts and strength training exercises, it can be hard to know where to start.

But the fact is, it doesn’t have to be complicated!

The key is really knowing how often to work out and the top exercises to give you the best results.

The first step is knowing how often to train a week.

A review of the scientific evidence has found that to optimize muscle growth, resistance training should occur at least twice a week, and possibly three times weekly.

For women just beginning a new strength training program, you should start with two days and work yourself up from there to ensure you are getting adequate rest between sessions.

The best beginner's workout program for women involves moves that are safe and easy to perform, but extremely efficient at targeting all of your muscle groups.

This way you will get the most out of every workout without overtraining and risking injury.

Beginners also need to focus on proper form from the start so that you can move on to more advanced moves as your fitness progresses.

Your workout routine should target the major muscles in your back, arms, shoulders, legs, and core.

This could be spread out during the week, or combined in full-body exercises and workouts.

The Ultimate Beginner's Workout Program for Women

Monday: Full Body Strength Workout for Women

These exercises use a combination of machines, free weights, and bodyweight exercises to really challenge your muscles.

Dumbbell Squats

Squats are the ultimate lower body exercise.

This movement targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves to build strong legs.

Starting with dumbbells instead of using a barbell will help you master the movement while minimizing your risk of injury.

  • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lower into a squat, making sure your knees don’t track past your toes.
  • Go down as far as comfortable, until your thighs are about parallel to the floor.
  • Perform three sets of 10-12 reps.

Push-Ups

Don’t let the simplicity of this movement fool you.

Push-ups are killer upper body exercises for beginners and seasoned gym-goers alike that work your chest, arms, shoulders, and core.

  • Position your hands under your shoulders with your feet straight behind you.
  • Lower your chest towards the ground, pause, and then extend your arms to push back up.
  • Perform three sets of 10-12 reps.

You can do push-ups anywhere, and you can modify this exercise easily based on your current fitness level.

If you find the move too challenging, try starting on your knees and working your way up.

Bicep Curls

If you have dumbbells available, bicep curls are a great way to shape your arms.

But even if you don’t have weights you can do bicep curls!

You can use a couple of soup cans or any object that you can grasp and curl.

Or, you can do these with resistance bands!

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a tube resistance band under your feet so that you can grab the handles at both ends.
  • Grab the handles with an underhand grip, then curl the band to about chin height with your arms bent into a curl and elbows pointing to the floor.
  • Bring the band back down to the starting position slowly and controlled.

Tricep Dips on Floor

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet in front of you.
  • Place your palms on the floor behind you.
  • Your hands should be underneath your shoulders, with your fingers facing toward your body.
  • Extend your arms to lift your butt, then bend your elbows to lower yourself back down without bringing your butt completely to the ground.
  • That's one rep.

How Much Weight To Use

For the beginner, start with a weight that you can complete the desired number of reps, with the last two reps being very challenging.

If you start a set and realize that the weight is too heavy, stop and use a lighter weight.

On the other hand, if you finish your reps and found the last two to be very easy, pick a heavier weight on your next set.

Be sure to record the amount of weight you use and the number of reps and sets for each session. This will allow you to track your progress.

Be sure that you are getting enough, but not too much, rest between sets.

For women that are new to working out, you may want to give yourself a little bit more rest between sets.

Start with one and a half to two minutes.

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: Beginners HIIT Workout For Women

Workout plans for women should also incorporate cardio or aerobic workouts.

These sessions will improve your cardiovascular fitness.

In addition, you will burn calories and drop pounds by adding in some high-intensity cardio to your workouts.

This HIIT workout below should be done as a circuit. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, then take 30 seconds of rest.

After this short rest period, jump right into the next exercise.

You need to minimize the rest periods in order to see big fitness gains in a short period of time.

Start with a five minute light warm-up. This could include some jumping jacks, jogging in place, or stair runs.

Then do the main circuit.

Jump Squats

  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Make sure you drive through your heels and don’t allow your knees to track over your toes.
  • You can clasp your hands in front of you or hold them out parallel to the ground.
  • As you come up, jump up about six inches off the ground, then land softly with your knees slightly bent.

High Knees

  • Stand upright and place your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands near your waist with your palms down.
  • Drive your right knee up to meet your right hand, then bring the same leg back to the ground and immediately bring the left knee up to meet your left hand.
  • Continue to alternate knees with a hopping motion, staying on the balls of your feet.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Bring your right knee forward under your chest, then return the leg back.
  • Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward.
  • Keep switching legs and begin to pick up the pace until it feels a little like running in place in a plank position.

Flutter Kicks

  • Lie on your back and extend your legs up to a 45-degree angle.
  • Keep your arms straight and in line with the floor, palms facing down.
  • Lift your upper body off the ground.
  • While keeping your legs straight, begin alternating each leg up and down in a flutter motion.
  • Try to maintain this motion for the entire 30 seconds.

Burpees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down and place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • Kick your legs straight out behind you into a high plank with your hands underneath your shoulders.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor, then straighten them to do a push-up.
  • At the top of the push up jump your feet toward your hands into a squat. Jump straight up into the air, reaching your arms overhead.
  • Repeat.

Once you complete the entire circuit, rest for a full minute and a half, then repeat two more times.

At the start of your weight loss journey, you can start by just going through this circuit twice.

As your fitness level improves, try to add a third round.

Cool down for five minutes to get your heart rate back down after completing this awesome high-intensity workout.

Altogether, with the warm-up and cool down, you will have completed an amazing cardiovascular and resistance workout in under 35 minutes.

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Thursday: Stretching/Balance Workout (Active Recovery)

Stretching and balance workouts help to maintain flexibility and range of motion in your joints and decrease the risk of injury.

This is extremely important for women just starting a workout program.

In addition, balance exercises will help strengthen your core which in turn will improve your strength and cardio workouts.

Stretching and balance exercises, like yoga, can also help decrease stress and improve sleep.

Both of these are an essential part of any workout plan.

Proper sleep and recovery are necessary to keep your body healthy and immune system functioning at its highest level

Neck and Shoulder Rolls

  • Stand and gently tilt your chin towards your chest and feel a gentle release in the back of your neck.
  • Then slowly roll your head to the left and hold for 20 seconds.
  • Then roll your head to the right to stretch and hold for another 20 seconds.

Hamstring and Calf Stretch

  • Stand about one foot from a wall and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height.
  • Take a step back with one leg while pushing into the wall.
  • Keep your back straight and press your heels into the floor.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Step forward and repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat the exercise three times on each side.

Triangle Pose

  • Stand upright and extend your right hand forward.
  • Lower your right hand down onto your shin or ankle.
  • You can even place your hand on the floor if you are more flexible.
  • Reach your left fingertips toward the ceiling.
  • Turn your head to look up to your left hand.
  • Stay for five breaths, then repeat the pose with your left leg forward.

Tree Pose

  • Stand tall and shift your weight to your left foot.
  • Bring your right foot to your inner left thigh.
  • Press the sole of your right foot firmly into your left leg.
  • Bring your hands together in front of you.
  • Focus your gaze on one point.
  • Try to hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other side.

Chair Pose

  • Stand with your feet separated hip-distance apart and parallel to one another.
  • Bring your arms overhead with your palms facing one another.
  • Keep your ears in line with your arms and relax your shoulders.
  • Exhale and bend your knees as if you are sitting in a chair.
  • Bring your thighs as close to parallel with the floor as comfortable.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, taking about five deep breaths.

Child’s Pose

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Bring your body to the ground with your stomach between your thighs and your forehead to the floor.
  • Stretch your arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor.
  • Stay in this position as long as you like, but for at least five full breaths.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Full Body Workout

Incorporating at least two, and possibly three days of resistance training is perfect in a beginners program.

You can repeat the workout from Monday here, or incorporate other strength training exercises that target your major muscle groups.

Sunday: Rest

The Fit Mother Project

Starting a new workout routine as a beginner can be a daunting task, especially as a busy mom with so much already on your plate.

Luckily, the Fit Mother Project can make this so much easier for you to take on.

The Fit Mother Project was developed specifically for busy moms like yourself to help you achieve your fitness goals.

From structured workouts and nutrition plans to continued community support, the Fit Mother Project provides numerous resources.

With so many amazing fitness resources available, there is no excuse to not take control of your health and fitness.

So get started today with a great beginner's workout program for women and get in the best shape of your life!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on a beginner's workout program for women.

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