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Workout Routines For Beginners

Holly Smith

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

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

workout routines

If you are new to working out, putting together your own workout routines is no easy task. So we're here to show you the best beginner workouts for women!

We all know about the tremendous benefits of exercise and strength training for women.

But, it can be intimidating just getting started, let alone trying to figure out how to put together your own workout routines!

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

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

Luckily, the Fit Mother Project is just the place to find that plan!

Over 11,400 women in 20 countries are getting results with the Fit Mother Project. Here's how they did it!

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Why Should Women Exercise and 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 older adults maintain muscle mass.

Having increased lean muscle mass is important for many reasons.

For one, this will increase your basal metabolic rate, meaning that your body will be more efficient at burning calories throughout the day.

This means you can burn fat through strength training and cardio workouts.

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.

Exercise in women is also crucial to maintain bone health and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.

In addition, resistance training has been associated with improved outcomes in other chronic diseases, such as 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.

This full-body workout is easy on the body and helps to strengthen bones and muscles!


Strength Training Myths

There is a common misconception among women that weight training will make you “bulky.”

This leads to a lot of women spending hours doing cardio workouts, while completely neglecting weight training.

However, since women have lower testosterone than men, lifting weights is not going to give women the same bulky muscles like men.

What it will do is boost your metabolism and give you a toned, strong, healthy physique.

Weight training is also important if you are trying to lose weight.

With weight loss, your body will tend to not only lose fat, but also muscle.

Strength training will help preserve muscle mass even as you are losing weight.

In addition, this increased lean muscle mass will keep your metabolism high to further aid in weight loss.

Try incorporating these free weight exercises for women into your workouts!


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 knowing how often to work out and which exercises will give you the best results.

A review of the scientific evidence has found that to optimize muscle growth, strength 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 be sure you are getting enough rest between workouts.

This video highlights the 3 most common workout mistakes that beginners make.


The Best Workout Routines For Beginners

The best workout routines for beginners are moves that are safe and easy to perform, but extremely efficient at targeting major muscle groups.

This will allow you to get the most out of every workout session without risking injury.

The big thing you want to focus on is how to perform the exercises properly so that you can move on to more advanced moves as your fitness progresses.

Your strength training 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.

Warm-Up Dynamic Stretches

All workout routines should include a warm-up and a cool-down.

This is especially important for women who are just beginning a new program.

A proper warm-up and cool-down will help decrease your risk of injury.

Dynamic stretching has been shown to improve muscle coordination and provides better muscle power during a workout, while static stretching could actually decrease muscle power.

Arm Circles

  • Stand tall with your arms outstretched to your sides and parallel to the floor.
  • Make small circles with your arms going forward for 10 reps, then backward for 10 reps.
  • Then make larger circles forward for 10 reps, and backward for 10 reps.

Arm Cross-Overs

  • Stand with your arms outstretched to the sides and parallel to the floor.
  • Move your arms across the center of your chest and let them criss-cross each other.
  • Steadily move them back out and repeat, but this time cross them with the opposite arm on top.
  • Continue this for 10-20 reps.

Leg Kicks With Arm Reach

  • Kick your left leg out straight in front of you while reaching for your toes with the right hand.
  • Then kick your right leg out and reach your toes with your left hand.
  • Repeat for 10 reps on each side

Does stretching burn calories and help you lose weight? Watch this video to learn the truth about stretching and weight loss.


Main Set


Push-ups are the perfect upper body exercises for beginners.

This simple yet effective move will 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.

Dumbbell Squats

Squats are the ultimate lower body exercise.

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

You can start with just your body weight, or light dumbbells if you feel like a challenge.

  • 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 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Shoulder Press

Shoulder presses will help round out your arms and really enhance your upper body strength.

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells and sit on a bench with back support.
  • Bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height with your palms facing forward.
  • Push the dumbbells up until they touch at the top.
  • After a brief pause, slowly bring the dumbbells back down.
  • Aim for three sets of 10-12 reps.

Elbow Plank

The elbow plank really focuses on the abdominal muscles and core muscles in the pelvis and trunk.

  • Lie face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
  • Push off the floor, raising up off your knees onto your toes and resting mainly on your elbows.
  • Contract your abs to keep your body straight.
  • Try to keep your back flat and your butt in line and not sticking up or sagging down.
  • Hold as long as you can, aiming for 10-20 seconds in the beginning.
  • Gradually work your way up to a full minute over a course of several weeks.

Watch this video to discover all of the benefits of weight lifting for women!



Always remember to include a cool-down after every weight training workout.

This will stretch out the muscles and reduce your risk of post-workout muscle soreness and soft tissue injuries.

You should include stretches that target the upper body, lower body, and core.

Glute Stretch

  • Sit on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor.
  • Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh.
  • Pull both legs inwards toward your stomach for a deep stretch of your glutes.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch sides and repeat.

Chest Opener

  • Push your arms up behind you while pulling your shoulder blades together and your back straight until you feel the stretch in your chest.
  • Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

Core/Abdominal Stretch

  • Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor.
  • While keeping your hips on the floor, push your upper body up from the ground.
  • Hold for 30 seconds before releasing.

Low Back Stretch

  • Start lying on your back with your knees bent and pulled up toward your chest.
  • Hold for 30 seconds before releasing.

Learn how to build your own workout routines for weight loss and toning — at home!


How Much Weight To Use

When you are just starting to workout, you want to slowly ease into a routine.

It can be daunting at first to not only try to learn the proper form of each exercise, but also to know what amount of weight and the number of reps to perform.

Begin with a weight that allows you to 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.

In the beginning, there will be a lot of trial and error in regards to the workouts and the amount of weight you can lift.

Just be sure to track your progress so you know what weights to use each time so that you can continue to challenge yourself.

Rest Between Sets

Again, as a beginner, you really want to be sure that you are getting enough rest between sets.

For women that are new to working out, you may want to give yourself a little bit more time between sets so that your muscles are ready for the next set, and also to decrease the risk for injury.

A good rule of thumb is to start with one and a half to two minutes of rest between sets.

Try this full-body dumbbell workout for women! All you need is a set of dumbbells and some floor space!


More Beginner Workout Routines For Women

Starting new workout routines can be intimidating, especially as a busy mom with so much already on your plate.

But with a solid plan, you can take on anything!

The key is to start slowly and listen to your body as you progress through your workouts.

The Fit Mother Project offers an abundance of additional exercise routines, workout plans, and fitness resources for all levels of fitness.

This includes women who are just beginning on their fitness journey

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

So get started today with this great beginner workout routine for women!

Ready to reclaim your healthy body once and for all? Click here!


Let us show you how you can start losing weight this week! We'll email you our free meal plan & workout + email coaching.



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!

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:

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Learn More About FM30X

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 workout routines for beginners.

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