Get Strong At Home: Strength Training Plan For Women

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Get strong using these guidelines for long term results. Plus, a FREE 4-week home strength training plan designed for women.

It’s no secret that you can get fit at home with the right attitude and fitness routine. But when it comes to getting stronger, many believe that you need a gym with access to a lot of weights or special equipment to make that happen.

As an experienced trainer and a busy mom that works out at home, let me assure you that that is just a misconception.

Is it possible to do strength training at home?

An effective strength training routine relies on the programming of the workout, rather than the environment or equipment used. As long as the muscular system is loaded with enough stress during contractions in a workout, strength adaptations may occur.

The body doesn’t know the difference between the weight of a rock, a resistance band, or its own weight. All it knows is the amount of work that needs to be done to move that load.

Your muscles don’t respond differently to the source of the weight you are trying to move. Your muscles do respond to the load (volume and intensity) that it’s given within a given workout.

As long as you strength train intentionally and challenge your muscles in the workouts, you can improve your strength at home.

How can a woman start strength training at home?

When getting started with a home strength training plan, women must establish a goal, use functional exercises, get space saving equipment, and incorporate at least 2 strength workouts per week.

This will help you to optimize your strength workout routine for lasting results and progression.

1. Establish a strength goal

Your strength goal will outline the structure of your workout, such as volume (reps and sets), intensity (weight), rest time, and exercise selection.

In order to program and structure your home workout plan, you must first decide what your strength goals are.

Some examples are to improve muscle tone (build muscle), complete a push-up (build strength), or be able to carry your toddler through the parking lot (build endurance).

Each of these are an example of the three methods of resistance training, hypertrophy, strength, and muscular endurance. Although each method of resistance training improves strength, they each result in a different muscular response.

  • Muscular endurance training improves the duration of work a muscle can endure before fatigue. 
  • Hypertrophy training increases the muscle size. 
  • Muscular strength training increases the force capability of the muscle within each movement (think “1-rep max”). 

How do you structure a home workout plan? Apply the following load perscription to your workout for the given method of resistance training that supports your goal.

Resistance training methodRepsSetsIntensity (weight)Rest between sets
Muscular Endurance15+2-4Light30 seconds
Hypertrophy8-123-4Moderate-Heavy60-90 seconds
Muscular Strength1-64-6Heavy2-5 minutes

2. Use functional exercises

Functional exercise is essential to maximize results, reduce risk of injury, support your daily activities, and minimize muscular imbalances.

It consists of compound, multi-joint movements that mimic daily tasks and functions. When we incorporate functional exercises into our regular routine, we improve our performance in a way that supports posture, core strength, alignment, and mobility.

Taking the time to work on proper mechanics, motor control, and movement patterns will lay the foundation to an effective strength training routine.

If you are new to strength training, you have an opportunity to create good exercise habits with funcitonal exercise. I’ll explain more in my post The Successful Way To Exercise For Female Beginners At Home.

Let’s dive into some effective functional exercises that you can incorporate into your workouts.

Strength Training Exercises for Women at Home

The following exercises can be varied with intensity, direction, modification, and equipment.

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Lunge
  • Glute Raise
  • Step Up
  • Fire Hydrant
  • Clam Shell
  • Push up
  • Bent over row
  • Overhead press
  • (Prone-Lying) Back Extension
  • Tricep dip
  • Bicep Curl
  • Chest Press
  • Resverse Fly
  • Upright Row

The squat, deadlift, lunge, push-up, bent over row, and overhead press should be the foundation of your strength training regimen.

These make up the push and pull of our upper and lower body movement. By incorporating these few exercises, you will hit every major muscle group with a balanced approach.

For full video tutorials with modifications and variations of these exercises, check out my posts The Most Important Lower Body Strength Exercises For Women and Tone Your Upper Body With Just 3 Simple Exercises For Strength.

Be sure to learn the proper exercise technique for each to establish a quality strength training routine. It may take time and modification, but don’t skip out on the more challenging exercises, like the push up.

In fact, I have an entire post to explain why the push up is The Best Exercise To Improve Women’s Upper Body Strength Training.

3. Get space saving equipment

To start strength training at home, you only need enough room to safely perform each exercise, a set of dumbbells and/or kettlebells, and a set of resistance bands.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a designated workout room/space, having equipment that can easily be hidden and stored is a must. Easy access will minimize excuses and you won’t have to worry about little ones hurting themselves with it.

A set of dumbbells, a kettlebell, and a few resistance bands can provide all of the variety and much of the challenge you need to see results at home.

I suggest you start with a medium set of dumbbells as you can use just one for lightweight workouts and grab both for heavier strength training days.

You will also want a kettlebell that is heavy enough to challenge the lower body, but not too heavy for the upper body.

And finally at least 2 resistance bands, one light weight (for upper body) and one that’s noticably heavier (for lower body).

Having these few pieces of equipment will minimize the space needed for storage, while giving you the most bang for your buck.

Keep in mind that as you grow stronger, you will eventually need to level up for more challenging weights. But it will take time and still be easy to store as your collection grows.

What can I lift at home instead of weights? Any item that has substantial weight but can be securely held in your hand is an option. Do bicep curls with water bottles, bent over rows with milk jugs, or deadlifts with a laundry basket.

If you are new to strength training or don’t have access to equipment just yet, you can opt for calisthenics (bodyweight exercises). Calisthenics are a great way to improve strength at home because they are convenient and can be done anywhere.

Try any of these 9 Women’s Calisthenics At Home Workouts For Beautiful Legs and see for yourself!

You can also modify and adjust tempo of calisthenic exercises to increase the intenisty since we cannot do so with weights. This could be done by elevating your feet for a “heavier” push-up or pausing for a few seconds at the bottom of your squat to increase time under tension.

4. Incorporate 2 or more strength workouts per week

How many days a week should a woman strength train? A woman should strength train the full body at least 2 days per week to see improvement. For more conditioned lifters, 3-6 days is needed to increase strength.

Strength training status# of sessions per week
Beginner (<6 months)2-3
Intermediate (6-12 months)3 (full body training)
4 (split routine*)
Advanced (1+ years)4-6
*Choosing different muscle group focus

The table above can be used to adjust an at home strength training plan for women. Just note that your frequency will vary based on your fitness level.

What is a good strength training schedule for women? Follow the general rule that for sufficient recovery, there should be 1-3 days between workouts that stress the same muscle groups. Following a push/pull or upper/lower rotation will provide a balanced strength training schedule.

An example of a good 7-day workout plan would be:

Push/Pull

  • Monday – Push
  • Tuesday – Cardio
  • Wednesday -Pull
  • Thursday – Cardio
  • Friday – Lower body
  • Saturday – Rest or Cardio

Upper/Lower

  • Monday – Upper Body
  • Tuesday – Cardio
  • Wednesday – Lower Body
  • Thursday – Cardio
  • Friday – Upper & Lower Body
    • Saturday – Rest or Cardio

If you are intimidated by writing your own workouts or just want to keep it simple and follow an effective 7-day workout plan at home written by a trainer, I got you covered!

I made a FREE 7-Day Weekly Workout Plan that you can download and follow at home with a simple pair of dumbbells. With picture demonstration and a daily warm-up and cool-down you can get started with your strength training routine while improving your full body fitness. Get yours here!

How many minutes should women strength train? Aim to strength train at least 20-30 minutes per session. For heavy lifting days that require long rest breaks, plan to spend 45-60 minutes per session.

What is the best strength training program for women?

Women should use a strength program that varies in target muscle groups, intensity, volume, duration, exercises, and equipment while gradually increasing the challenge of their routine over time.

This strategy allows for strength progression and prevents stagnation as the body must continually adapt to the training stress.

Use this strategy by following my FREE 4-Week Strength Workout Routine For Women to build full body strength at-home. Designed for busy moms that want fun and effective workouts in 40 minutes or less.

This 4-week program has guided, full-length workout videos that require minimal equipment and space. Feel yourself get stronger as we gradually increase the training challenge, one new workout at a time.

workout calender download of strength workouts

Click here to learn more and get your free download to get started building muscle right away.

If you are postpartum and looking to improve total body strength after having your baby, try my 4-Week Postpartum Early Recovery Program. Designed with follow-along workout videos for new moms that need help regaining their strength after pregnancy.

Over 4 weeks, we will gradually improve full body fitness with an emphasis on deep core strength and stability in a postnatal safe format. Minimal equipment and space is required, so you can improve your fitness at home or in the gym.

I recorded this program as I personally recovered after my second baby. That way I could progress right there with you during your postpartum period. A vulnerable and intimidating time for new moms. Watch the video for a sneak peak into my program.

FAQ’s

Is strength training good for women’s health? Yes, the benefits of strength training for women is improved joint mobility, posture support, balance, body composition, and bone density.

Can I build muscle at home as a woman? Yes, as long as you gradually increase the training stimulus in your strength workouts over time. This can be done with higher volume, intensity, and/or frequency.

How long does it take for females to build muscle? 8-12 weeks of at least 2-3 strength training sessions per week will lead to muscle growth for women.

What should a woman eat to gain muscle? A diet that consists of lean proteins, complex carbs, and unsaturated fats, such as poultry, beans, salmon, sweet potatos, quinoa, rice, avocado, nuts, and seeds. This will keep the body energized while supporting muscle growth and cell function.

Does lifting weights burn belly fat? Increasing your muscle mass with resistance training will boost metabolism for higher calorie expenditure (and increased fat burn) while also increasing strength capabilities. Keep in mind you cannot directly spot reduce or choose where your body will lose fat from.

If you are looking to get toned, head over to my post here for tips on building strength without getting bulky.

Should I do cardio or weights first? To optimize performance for the best strength results, strength training should be done before cardio while muscles are fresh.

Start your at home strength training plan for women

If you still feel intimidated and/or are not sure where to start, check out my Strength Playlist on youtube. It’s filled with a wide variety of strength training workouts that you can do at home!

Whichever strength training routine you follow, be sure that it includes a thorough warm-up, cool-down, and mobility training. These are essential to every strength workout for improved performance and to minimize overuse or injury.

Head over to my post How To Improve Strength Training With Mobility Workouts for tips, workouts, and guidance. There I give an in depth breakdown of the relationship of mobility and strength and how they work together to improve functional movement.

Now that you have all of the tools, use these guidelines to improve your strength and build muscle without leaving your house. With these tips and a little space you can get real results without a gym. Remember, set a goal, choose the right exercises, grab a little equipment (or don’t!), and train at least twice a week. It’s that simple.

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About the Author

Coach Zoe

Fitness trainer and mom of 3! I love working out, hanging out with my family, and motivating others.

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