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The Best Gym Workout Plans for Women

Whether you’re a beginner when it comes to working out, you’re just getting back to the gym from a break, or you’re a seasoned fitness pro, it’s always a good time to find new workout plans. They’ll keep you inspired when it comes to meeting your goals and help you feel more confident the moment you step inside the gym. 

We’re sharing our best gym workout plans for women to help you meet your fitness goals this year: 

Cardio Workouts for Women

Believe it or not, cardio can provide a full-body workout and is an excellent way to enhance your endurance and stamina. If you’re a beginner, these workouts are perfect for you. 

HIIT Workouts

HIIT workouts stand for high intensity interval training. They’re excellent for increasing calorie burn in a short amount of time. And they can be done on cardio equipment, bodyweight movements, strength training, or a combination of all of them. 

However, they do count as cardio because the purpose is to complete a set of exercises for a particular amount of time to increase your heart rate. Then, you spend a few seconds bringing your heart rate back down. 

To complete a HIIT workout on cardio equipment, simply pick your favourite machine. After completing a warmup for at least five minutes, you’ll go back and forth between exerting yourself for 20 seconds and resting for 90 seconds. 

This workout may look like: 

  • 0:00-5:00 – walk at a brisk pace to begin getting your heart rate up and your muscles warm. 
  • 5:00-5:20 – Sprint for 20 seconds. The key is to push yourself, while knowing that you’ll need to complete a series of sprints for the next few minutes. 
  • 5:20 – 6:50 – Return to your brisk pace and walk for a recovery of 90 seconds. 
  • Repeat the 20 second sprint followed by the 90 second recovery at least two more times. 

Steady State Cardio

Staying active on rest days can be challenging, but it is crucial to maintain some level of physical activity. This gym workout plan is an excellent option for women who want to stay somewhat active while allowing their muscles to recover. The key to rest days is to avoid overexerting yourself, which can lead to muscle breakdown and injury. 

Consider adding steady state cardio workouts on the weekends or when you would normally take a rest day. It doesn’t have to be a major workout! 

It can be as simple as hopping on the treadmill for a nice, easy walk for 30 minutes, or even just walking the dog. 

Flexibility and Balance Workouts for Women

Adding a flexibility and balance workout to the end of any other workout, whether it’s cardio or strength training, is the perfect way to cool down after your fitness routine.

We highly recommend adding a flexibility and balance workout to the end of your workouts because your muscles are already warm. This will aid in stretching them without the risk of overusing or overextending them. 

Try this flexibility workout routine for women: 

Standing Hamstring Stretch

This is the perfect movement to start with as you’re most likely already standing from your main workout. 

While standing, with your feet hip width apart, gently bend at the waist and reach your fingers to your toes. Keep a slight bend in your knees so you don’t risk overextending them. 

Inhale and hold it for 3 to 5 seconds, on your exhale, try pushing your fingers closer to your toes. Do this stretch for 30 to 45 seconds or longer. 

For a deeper stretch, try wrapping your hands around the backs of your legs.

Lunge with Hip Flexor Stretch

Now that your fingers are close to your toes, go ahead and place your palms on the floor. As you do, step into a lunge position. Keep the foot in front flat on the ground. With your leg that is extending behind you, gently kneel on that knee. 

Lean forward, and push your forward hip gently toward the floor. You should feel the stretch there – that’s your hip flexor. 

For a deeper stretch, try squeezing your butt. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds or more. Then switch legs. 

Seated Neck Release

Once you’ve stretched both legs and hip flexors, take a seat on the floor. Now, you can focus on one part of your body that is often forgotten. As you’re lifting heavier weights or running on the treadmill, it’s natural for your shoulders to raise, putting tension on your neck. 

Now is when you can release that tension. While sitting on the floor, roll your shoulders back and relax them down. Keep your back straight and your chest lifted. 

Drop your head to one shoulder. Reach up and gently press your head down with your hand. Hold that position for 30+ seconds. Then switch sides. 

Strength Training Workouts for Women

A great workout routine for any woman, whether they’re advanced, beginner, or just getting back to the gym, includes working out different muscle groups throughout the upper and lower body.

Gym Full Body Workout for Women

In addition to tailoring gym sessions to different muscle groups, you can also have a dedicated gym session for full body workouts. Try this workout plan:

Exercise #1 – Barbell Squat

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. This will more than likely feel the most comfortable and help with your balance. 
  2. Situate the barbell, which should be on the rack, across your back and shoulders. 
  3. Hold the bar with your palms facing forward. 
  4. Move into your squat position, as if you were sitting in a chair. Brace your core to keep your abdominal muscles engaged. 
  5. On the way back up, squeeze your glutes. 
  6. Repeat this movement 9-11 more times for a full set of 10-12 repetitions. Then do another set 1 to 2 more times. 

Exercise #2 – Bench Press

  1. Lie on the bench. You can either have your feet flat on the bench or flat on the floor. 
  2. Place your hands on the bar slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. Unrack the bar. With your arms fully extended, and without locking your elbows, bring the bar down directly over your chest. 
  4. Allow your arms to bend to bring the bar down to your chest. 
  5. With the bar just above your chest, pause for a moment. Then, using your chest muscles, push the bar straight back to the starting position. 
  6. Complete the movement 9-11 more times for a set of 10-12 reps. Do the set another 1 to 2 times. 

Exercise #3 – Plank

  1. Start on a mat on your hands and knees. 
  2. Place hands underneath your shoulders. 
  3. Step back one foot at a time. If you need more stability, try keeping your feet wider than hip width apart.
  4. Keep a straight line from your head to heels. 
  5. Engage your body by tightening your abs, quads, and glutes. 
  6. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds. You can increase the time as you get stronger. 

Back Workout for Women at the Gym

For a dedicated back workout for women at the gym, try completing these three exercise movements: 

Exercise #1 – Barbell Deadlift

  1. With the barbell on the floor in front of you, step up to it with feet shoulder width apart. 
  2. With a slight bend in your knees, bend at the hips and lower down until you can grab the bar. 
  3. Keep your shoulders back, squeeze your glutes, and engage your core. Stand up straight and tuck your pelvis as you lift the barbell. 
  4. Pause at the top. Then lower it back down to the ground slowly. 
  5. Repeat the movement 9-11 more times for a set of 10-12 reps. Do the set another 1 to 2 times. 

Exercise #2 – Lat Pulldowns

  1. Set the desired weight at a lat pulldown station. 
  2. Sit on the bench and reach up and grip the bar with an overhand grip. Keep your arms straight to start. 
  3. Pull the bar down to your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades as you do so. 
  4. Slowly extend your arms back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat the movement 9-11 more times for a set of 10-12 reps. Do the set another 1 to 2 times.

Exercise #3 – Kettlebell Swings

  1. Start with your feet slightly wider than hip width. Keep your toes pointing straight ahead. 
  2. Bend at the hips toward your kettlebell. Keep your back flat. Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands. 
  3. With the strength in your lats, swing the kettlebell back between your legs. 
  4. With an explosive force, swing the kettlebell forward, allowing your hips and glutes to use their power. At the same time, straighten into an upright position. Allow your arms and elbows to loosen so the kettlebell can swing upward. 
  5. Continue that another 9-11 times for 10-12 reps. Do the set another 1 to 2 times. 

Leg Workout for Women at the Gym

With so much focus on your arms and back, you’ll want to make sure you balance out the lower part of your body. So, don’t skip leg day! Use these 3 movements for a leg workout for women at the gym. 

Exercise #1 – Medicine Ball Goblet Squats

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. 
  2. Hold a medicine ball to your chest. Elbows should be pointing toward the floor. 
  3. With your core engaged, squat down as if you were sitting in a chair. Be sure to go as low as you can. 
  4. Squeeze your glutes as you return to a standing position. 
  5. Continue the movement 9-11 times for 10-12 reps. Do the set another 1 to 2 times. 

Exercise #2 – Weighted Walking Lunges

  1. With desired weights in either hand, step forward with your right leg. Your right knee should create a 90 degree angle with the floor. Your left knee can touch the ground gently. 
  2. Return to a standing position. Then repeat the movement with your left leg forward. 
  3. Continue this movement for 9-11 times on each leg. Do the set another 1 to 2 times. 

Exercise #3 – Leg Press

  1. At a leg press machine, set the desired weight and sit down at the machine. 
  2. Position your feet on the platform. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. 
  3. Extend your legs and press the platform up until you’re almost extending your legs fully. There should still be a slight bend in your knees. 
  4. Then slowly lower the weight back down until your legs are at 45 degrees or slightly lower. 
  5. Press the platform up again to continue the movement for 9-11 more times. Do the set another 1 to 2 times.

How Can Women Overcome Anxiety and Feel Confident at the Gym

If you’ve ever experienced anxiety or you’ve felt less than confident when walking into a gym, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. 

While we strive to make sure everyone feels comfortable when going to the gym at Aura Leisure, we understand that it’s a common feeling for many people. To help you overcome any anxiety so you can feel more confident at the gym, try these three tips: 

1. Have a Plan Before You Even Get to the Gym

Many people who go to the gym feel anxious beforehand because they’re not quite sure what they’re going to do that day. That leaves them walking around, looking at the different machines before they decide what to do. 

To help with that, make sure you have a plan before you ever get to the gym. As you’re pulling on your athletic clothes, run through the day’s gym plan. Is it a leg day? If so, what moves will you do? How about for an arms day? 

It’s even better if you can write down your entire gym plan week by week so you know what you’re doing each day you plan to go. You can use our list of the best gym workout plans for women down below to help you plan accordingly. 

2. Use Noise-Cancelling Aids to Help You Get in the Zone

There is a lot of action that happens at the gym. From music that’s played on overhead speakers, to people talking, to machines clanking – there’s a lot going on. For many people, that feels like sensory overload and can cause more feelings of anxiety. 

One of the best ways to handle that and still get an excellent workout is to use tools to help you get in the zone. Things like earbuds or over the ear headphones can let you tune into music that relaxes you so you can focus on what you’re doing. 

3. Tailor Your Workouts to Your Fitness Goals

Sometimes anxiety comes from not knowing what to do to achieve the results you want. There are so many different machines and exercises to do that it can feel overwhelming trying to decide what to focus on. 

How Having a Fitness Trainer Can Help 

A fitness trainer can help you with all of the workouts mentioned above. They can tailor specific movements to match your fitness goals and can also help you determine the proper weight for strength training movements for your goals. 

On top of that, a fitness trainer will help you figure out how often you should be working out based on your body composition and your goals.  

And the best part, they can help you with every single one of these movements so that you maintain good form and avoid the risk of injury. 

Are you ready to start seeing results with a tailored gym workout plan? We can help you!