The Strength Training Workout for *Every* Woman

The best way to channel your inner ~strong, independent woman~? Do what makes you feel strong AF. This total-body, girl-power workout-courtesy of Barry’s Bootcamp and Nike Master Trainer Rebecca Kennedy-will have your workout endorphins high and your confidence even higher. (Next up: this list of 20 weird things that make you feel strong.)

Grab some dumbbells (the heavier the better), turn up your fave Beyoncé workout playlist, and get going-the world isn’t going to run itself.

How it works: Do each move for the amount of time or sets and reps prescribed. At the end, you’ll cycle through a burnout round for 5 minutes with no rest.

You’ll need: A set of medium- and heavy-weight dumbbells and a timer

1a. Bridge

A. Lie faceup with feet planted flat on the floor.

B. Press heels into the floor and lift butt off the ground, coming into a bridge position, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders.

C. Lower hips down to tap ground, then squeeze glutes to lift back up to bridge.

Repeat for 45 seconds.

1b. Front-Side-Back Lunge Combo

A. Stand with feet together and arms by sides.

B. Step forward with the right foot into a forward lunge, lowering until front thigh is parallel to the ground. Press off the right foot to return to starting position.

C. Take a big step out to the side to lower into a lateral lunge. Press off the right foot to return to starting position.

D. Step back with the right foot into a reverse lunge, lowering until front thigh is parallel to the ground. Press off the right foot to return to starting position. That’s 1 rep.

Repeat for 45 seconds. Repeat moves 1a and 1b again.

2a. Kneeling Renegade Row

A. Start in a high plank position with hands holding medium-weight dumbbells. Lower down to knees to start.

B. Row the right dumbbell up next to ribs, keeping hips square.

C. Lower right dumbbell to return to starting position, then repeat on the other side. That’s 1 rep.

Do 12 reps.

2b. Commando Push-Up

A. Start in a high plank position.

B. Lower down onto the right elbow, then the left elbow, now in a low plank.

C. Press right palm into the floor, then the left hand into the floor to return to high plank.

D. Do a push-up. That’s 1 rep.

Do 12 reps, alternating which arm leads.

2c. Half Kneel Reverse Fly

A. Kneel on the right leg with the left leg in front, foot flat on the floor. Hold a medium-weight dumbbell in the right hand by side and hinge slightly forward with a flat back so torso is at a 45-degree angle. Extend left arm out to the side for balance.

B. Raise right arm out to the side up to shoulder height, palm facing down with elbow slightly bent. Slowly return to starting position.

Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets of exercises 2a through 2c. Rest for 60 seconds.

3a. Isometric Split Squat

A. Stand in a split squat position: left leg in front with foot flat on the floor, balancing on the ball of the right foot, holding a set of heavy dumbbells by sides.

B. Lower until both knees are bent at 90-degree angles and front thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 10 seconds. That’s 1 rep.

Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

3b. Split Squat

A. Stand in a split squat position: left leg in front with foot flat on the floor, balancing on the ball of the right foot, holding heavy dumbbells by sides.

B. Lower until both knees are bent at 90-degree angles and front thigh is parallel to the ground.

C. Press into both feet to return to starting position.

Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

3c. Single-Leg Knee Drive to Jump

A. Stand with feet together and arms by sides. Take a big step back with the right foot, bending the left leg into a deep lunge and driving right arm forward to start.

B. Shift weight forward onto left foot and hop off the floor, driving right knee up into a high knee and switching arms so left arm is forward.

C. Land softly on the left foot and immediately step back to starting position.

Do 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets of exercises 3a through 3c. Rest for 60 seconds.

4. Deadlift Row with Reverse Lunge

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart with knees softly bent, holding dumbbells by sides.

B. Hinge forward at the hips until torso is almost parallel to the floor. Row dumbbells up next to ribs, elbows pointing toward the ceiling, then lower down in front of shins.

C. With a flat back, lift torso and press hips forward to return to starting position.

D. Step back with the right leg into a reverse lunge, lowering until front thigh is parallel to the ground. Press off the back foot to stand, returning to starting position. Repeat, doing a reverse lunge on the other side. That’s 1 rep.

Do 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.

BURNOUT ROUND: Set a timer for 5 minutes. Work through the following three exercises as many times as possible until the time is up.

5a. Squat Push Press

A. Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, heavy dumbbells racked over shoulders.

B. Sit hips back then bend knees to lower into a squat, keeping core tight and back flat.

C. In one explosive movement, push into feet to stand, using the momentum to press dumbbells overhead.

D. Slowly lower dumbbells back to shoulders to return to starting position.

Do 5 reps.

5b. Reverse Lunge Biceps Curl

A. Stand with feet together and medium-weight dumbbells in hands by sides, palms facing in.

B. Step back with the right leg into a reverse lunge, lowering until front thigh is parallel to the ground, while curling dumbbells up to shoulders, palms facing shoulders.

C. Press off the back foot to return to starting position, slowly lowering dumbbells to sides. Repeat on the other side. That’s 1 rep.

Do 5 reps.

5c. Inchworm Push-Up

A. Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Hinge forward at the hips to place palms on the floor.

B. Walk hands forward to a high plank. Do 1 push-up.

C. Walk hands back toward feet, then stand to return to starting position.

Repeat, adding one push-up each time up to 5 push-ups. Ex: for the second rep, do 2 push-ups, then 3 push-ups, etc.

  • By Lauren Mazzo @lauren_mazzo

The best YouTube channels for getting in shape for free

Want to get fit? Try one of the thousands of workout videos on YouTube.

Cassey Ho/Blogilates

Whether you don’t have the money for a personal trainer, or just don’t have time for the gym, you can still get great workouts anywhere you are thanks to YouTube.

YouTube fitness channels are the new workout DVD. The videos are free to watch, easily to pull up any place you have a Wi-Fi connection and offer a huge variety of exercises, from aerobics and pilates to bootcamp and boxing. No matter your fitness goals, you’ll be able to find something on YouTube to help you get there. Here are 10 of the best fitness channels on YouTube.

Read more: Peloton, Daily Burn and more: The best workout video apps | The best treadmills in 2019: Peloton, NordicTrack, Nautilus and more

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The Fitness Marshall

If you’re like me and hate working out, then The Fitness Marshall may be your answer. Fitness guru Caleb Marshall combines hit pop songs — like “Heat” by Kelly Clarkson and “Pony” by Ginuwine — with dance moves that help you break a sweat and have fun doing it.

Unlike other dance workout videos, the Marshall makes the moves easy for the less coordinated (like me!) and peppers in humor to make you laugh while you work. The best part is his backup crew, which includes people of different shapes, sizes and ethnicities.

Read more: 6 workouts for people who hate working out

Popsugar Fitness

No matter where you are on your fitness journey, you’ll find a good cardio workout on the Popsugar Fitness channel. It is divided up into categories so you can find just what you’re looking for — including workouts for beginners, vigorous high-intensity interval training (HIIT) videos and targeted workouts for your abs and butt.

If you don’t have weights, exercise bands or any other equipment, you’re still covered. Just scroll down to the No-Equipment Cardio Workout section.

Read more: Should you stretch before or after your workout?

Blogilates

No list of YouTube fitness channels is complete without Blogilates. This widely popular channel has close to 4.5 million subscribers and focuses on POP Pilates, PIIT28 and Bootcamp Sculpting. If you have no clue what those are, don’t worry. You don’t need to understand it to enjoy these workouts.

Certified fitness instructor Cassey Ho’s friendly demeanor makes laying on a mat and working your core, legs, arms and butt almost enjoyable.

What I like about this channel is it has workout series and challenges that you can follow throughout the week to keep you motivated. The series are based around themes. Check out the Bridal Bootcamp, Apartment Friendly and Celebrity Workouts.

Yoga With Adriene

If you like your trainers down-to-earth and relatable, there’s no better yoga trainer than Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene. Here calming voice and chill disposition will charm you before you even hit the mat. That’s not just my opinion — she’s amassed more than 4 million subscribers.

In addition to her awesome personality, Adriene’s channel includes yoga videos for, well, just about anything. You’ll find yoga sequences for relaxing, helping sciatica pain, burning fat, easing anxiety and depression and curing a hangover. There are even classes for horse riders and couch potatoes.

Read more:The best workout apps for people who hate working out

HASfit

If getting strong and lean is on your to-do list, then you’ll find the HASfit (Heart And Soul fit) channel super useful. It includes strength training workouts — with or without dumbbells — along with low- and high-impact exercise routines.

The massive variety on this channel is hard to beat. They have over 1,000 free workout routines, plus complete 30- to 90-day fitness programs that include meal planning, workouts, tips and more.

FitnessBlender

FitnessBlender is a husband and wife run channel that specializes in exercises for busy people. Daniel and Kelli have put together over 500 workouts, and most of them are designed to be quick. You can find workouts for just the amount of time you have available, from 5 to 45 minutes.

If you’re a dog lover, don’t miss this channel’s puppy workout. You’ll learn how to do puppy squats, puppy deadlifts, puppy curls and more. All you need is a puppy.

NateBowerFitness

Boxing is an a fantastic way to break a sweat while releasing pent-up stress. Nate Bower, a certified boxing instructor and competitive athlete, shows you how to get started with boxing on his fitness channel, NateBowerFitness. Then he shows you how to crank up the intensity in 20-minute videos.

Most YouTube channels only have boxing videos for routines you can do at the gym. What I really like about this channel is that there are home workouts. You just need an open space and maybe a friend with some pads.

Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home

Walking is a low-impact exercise that almost anyone can do. If you’re stuck inside, the Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home channel is a good place to get a walking workout without a treadmill.

I highly recommend trying the channel’s walk party. It’s fun, upbeat and I bet you’ll even smile a couple of times while you burn calories.

Roberta’s Gym

Think of Roberta’s Gym as the Alexa of exercising. This animated trainer doesn’t really have a personality, but her on-screen timers and rep counters help you keep track of what you’re doing better than any humanoid.

This channel also has daily workouts and challenges, like the 30 Day Weight Loss Challenge. New videos are released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to keep things fresh.

Les Mills

Les Mills’ exercise videos not only give you a great workout, they also teach you real dance moves you can take to the club. It’s pretty motivating to know you’re not only getting ripped but you’re also learning an actual skill you can use in the real world.

If you’re not into dancing, don’t worry. The channel includes other types of workouts, including BodyPump, which uses light-to-moderate weights to strengthen muscle, and Barre, which is based on exercises ballerinas use to get into shape.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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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

  • 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: via .com

Muscle training for women

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