5 Must-Do Strength Training Exercises for Women

Strength training offers several health and fitness benefits. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)
Strength training offers several health and fitness benefits. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)

Strength training, also called weight training, is important for everyone, especially women. Most women assume that they would get bulky if they lifted weights, but this is simply not true. Various studies also suggest that strength training can potentially benefit your health and overall fitness in plenty of ways, such as:

  • Burn calories and reduce body fat
  • Develop lean muscle mass without getting bulky
  • Enhance bone density
  • Increase metabolism
  • Boost flexibility and increase range of motion
  • Reduce the risks of heart disease and chronic conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, back pain, etc.
  • Increase energy level
  • Improve balance and posture

Most importantly, strength training is versatile and can be done almost anywhere. Alhough it is a common exercise option in gyms, it can easily be modified and done in the comfort of your home.

If you want to incorporate weight training into your fitness routine, consider the following exercises.

5 Strength Training Exercises for Women

Women should do strength training routines to improve strength and endurance. In premenopausal women, strength training prevents brittleness of bones that leads to a heightened risk of fractures. The following 5 exercises can be performed by women of any age and looking to inclue strength training for optimal fitness.

1. Squat to Overhead Raise

If you are a beginner and have never included weights in your workout routine, start by simply lifting your arms overhead without using any weight. Once you are confident and can perform the exercise in the correct form, add light dumbbells and enhance the weight as you gain strength. Squat to overhead raise is a great strength training exercise that targets your legs, glutes, shoulders, back, triceps, and the powerhouse of your body—the core muscles.

How should you perform this exercise?

  • Position your feet wider than your hips and stand straight with your arms on your sides. Hold lightweight dumbbells in each hand.
  • Lower your hips into a squat position and then press up to stand back with your arms raised overhead.
  • Return to the initial position.
  • Complete 8 to 10 reps.

2. Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is an excellent full-body exercise that targets all the major muscle groups in your lower body, including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves. It also engages the spinal erectors of your back, core, forearms, and shoulders as you have to engage all these muscles to keep your torso straight and chest up throughout the exercise. This exercise can be done using either a dumbbell or kettlebell.

How should you perform this exercise?

  • Stand tall and position your feet at hip distance. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your chest and keep your elbows pointing downward.
  • Now bend your knees and push your hips back as you lower into a squat position.
  • Push yourself up to the start and repeat the exercise.

3. Planks

Planks are an amazing strength training exercise option for improving your overall stability and core strength. This exercise majorly targets your chest, shoulders, and the muscles in your back.

How should you perform this exercise?

  • Take a position on all your fours and rest your body on your toes and forearms only. Keep your body in a straight line with your hips clenched and your abs tight.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can and then slowly release your body to the floor.

Once you have gained strength, try lifting one leg at a time to make the exercise more challenging.


4. Deadlift

Deadlift is one of the best strength training exercises that you can do to build strong butts and legs. Additionally, this exercise can also help you build a strong core and enhance your stability and overall strength.

How should you perform this exercise?

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and position your feet at hip distance. Make sure to keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Hold the dumbbells in front of your thigh and keep your palms facing your body.
  • Now keeping a slight bend in your knees, press your hips back and hinge at your waist to lower the weights towards the floor.
  • Squeeze your glutes and slowly return to the start.
  • Repeat.

5. Push-Ups

Push-ups are one of the best beginner-level strength training exercises you can do to get strong pectorals (chest muscles), triceps, abdominals, and shoulders.

How should you perform this exercise?

  • Start the exercise in a plank position with both your palms under your shoulders.
  • Keeping your core engaged and back flat, lower your body towards the floor by bending your elbows. Lower your body until your chest almost touches the ground.
  • Push your body up to the start and repeat.

You can also do push-ups by applying weight on your knees rather than your toes.


Finish your strength training routine by cooling down for about 10 minutes and allowing your heart rate to go back into a resting state. Perform a few gentle stretches or simply walk on the spot to relax your body.


Strength training exercises can be done twice or thrice a week. Resting days are important to allow the muscles to adjust to the changes. Begin the strength training exercise with a proper warm-up. You should hold your posture accurately to avoid misalignment and pain.

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Edited by Ramaa Kishore