The 10 Best Strength Training Exercises For Women Who Want To Get Toned

6 min read

September 7th, 2020

Do you want to know how to get a toned stomach? Or are you more interested in firming up your legs and butt? What about the backs of your arms? Whatever part of your body you want to improve, we've got the best exercises for you. Start adding these exercises to your gain muscle lose fat workouts, and you'll change more than just how you look; you'll also change how you feel! These are a few of the best strength training exercises for women.

Lower body exercises 

A good body starts with toned legs. Not only will the following exercises firm up and shape your thighs and butt, but doing them will also burn fat and increase your fitness. A lot of guys shy away from lower body training, preferring instead to focus on their chest, shoulders, and arms. Smart women know better, and lower body workouts are a big part of how to get toned.

  1. Squats

If you only do one lower body exercise, squats should be it. Squats work every muscle in your lower body, and a high rep or heavyweight set of squats will also drive your heartrate sky-high!

To get the best from any exercise, you need to do it properly. For squats, that means standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes turned slightly outward. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Do not round your lower back. Stand back up and repeat.

If you are serious about toning your legs, squats are a must. That’s why they are part of so many women’s workouts for the gym. 

  1. Lunges 

Lunges are kind of an alternating, single-leg squat. You can do forward lunges, side lunges, and backward lunges; they're all great! Lunges work your hips and thighs, and they also increase your mobility and balance. Best of all, you can do lunges at home without any exercise equipment. 

To do forward lunges, start with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Take a large step forward, bend your legs, and lower your rearmost knee to within an inch of the floor. Push off your front leg to return to the starting position, and then do another rep while leading with your other side. Keep alternating legs for the duration of your set.

  1. Hip thrusts

Hip thrusts are one of the best booty building exercises around. If you are serious about adding some junk to your trunk, this is the exercise for you. 

Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Without using your arms for help, push your hips up toward the ceiling, so your weight is supported on your shoulders and feet only. Lower your butt back down to the floor and repeat. Too easy? Try using just one leg at a time.

  1. Single leg Romanian deadlifts

This exercise might have a long name, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of the best butt and hamstring exercises you can do. It’s also really good for your balance and coordination. 

Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Put all your weight on one leg, bending your knee slightly for extra stability. Lean forward from your hips and extend your other leg out behind you for balance. Reach down and touch your fingers to the floor. Stand back up and repeat. Do the same number of reps on both legs. 

Upper body exercises 

A lot of women skip upper body training. They’re worried that doing upper body exercises will make them bulky and masculine. That’s not true! Instead, the right upper body exercises will give you an enviable shape, fix your posture, and also give you the strength you need to breeze through the tasks and challenges of the day. Strength training women know that upper body exercises aren’t just for the guys! 

  1. Push-ups 

The humble push-up is one of the best upper body exercises a woman can do. They work your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and you also get a core and leg work out for free. You don’t see many women doing push-ups, but here at Warrior Babe, we want to change that and get more of us doing this great exercise.

To do push-ups, squat down and place your hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet back into the classic push-up position. Your legs, hips, and shoulders should form a straight line. Brace your core to keep your body stiff. Bend your arms and lower your chest down to within an inch of the floor. Push back up and repeat.

Unable to do full push-ups yet? Bend your legs and rest your knees on the floor. With a little female fitness motivation and practice, you’ll soon be doing full push-ups like a boss!

  1. Inverted bodyweight rows

This simple exercise is a great way to work your upper back and biceps. You’ll also get a nice butt and lower back toning workout at the same time. Unlike pull-ups, which are super-tough and hard to make easier, you can easily modify this exercise so that almost any strength training women can do it. 

Using a Smith machine or squat rack, set the bar to about waist height. You can also use a suspension trainer, such as a TRX. Sit under the bar and hold it with a wider than shoulder-width overhand grip. Lean back with your arms straight. Lift your hips off the floor so that your weight is supported by your arms and legs only. Bend your arms and pull your body up to the bar. Extend your arms and repeat. 

Make this exercise harder by straightening your legs, placing your feet on an exercise bench, or resting a weight across your hips. Make it easier by moving your feet toward you or raising the bar a little higher.

  1. Dumbbell curl and press

Short of time? Don't worry; you can still get a good workout. Just combine this twofer upper body exercise with squats or lunges, and you can hit almost every major muscle in your body in 15 minutes or less. Who said that a women’s workouts for the gym had to be time-consuming? 

With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Bend your arms and curl your weights up to your shoulders. Next, press the weights up and over your head. Lower your dumbbells back to your shoulders and then down to your sides. That’s one rep – keep going! 

Really pressed for time? Do a dumbbell squat between each rep of curls and presses.

Nikkiey Stott Strength Training for Women

Core exercises

Core is the collective term for the muscles that make up your midsection. A strong, toned stomach is only part of the core training equation; you also need to work your waist and lower back too. Here are three effective core exercises to try.

  1. Side plank with leg lift

Another time-efficient twofer, this exercise works your oblique or waist muscles, as well as your hip abductors on the outside of your glutes and thighs.

Lie on your side and rest on your elbow and forearm. With your body and legs straight, lift your hips off the floor so that your feet, legs, and torso form a straight line. Without twisting your hips or shoulders, lift your uppermost leg up and out to the side. Lower it back down and repeat. Do the same number of reps on each side. 

  1. Mountain climbers

This exercise works your abs and obliques all at the same time, and also gives your arms and shoulders a good workout. As an added benefit, it’s also a good mobility move for your hips. This stomach toning exercise is a Warrior Babe favorite!

To do mountain climbers, drop down into the push-up position with your legs and arms straight. Bend one leg and draw your knee up and into your chest, bracing your abs as you do so. Do not twist your shoulders or your hips. Extend your leg and then repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating legs for the duration of your set. 

  1. Skydivers

A strong lower back is a healthy lower back. This exercise not only works your lower back but your butt, upper back, and rear shoulder muscles too. It's an excellent antidote for long periods of sitting and is really good for your posture. 

Lie on your front with your arms extended straight out in front of you. Lift your arms, head, chest, and shoulders a few inches off the floor. Keep your feet in contact with the floor at all times. Sweep your arms in a semicircle and touch your hands to your legs. Swing your arms back out in front of you and then lie down again. That's one rep – keep going! 

The strength training exercises for women wrap-up

There are hundreds of exercises you can do in your get toned workout, but some are better than others. And what is the secret of how to get toned? The answer is working out consistently! With support and guidance from WarriorBabe Nikkiey Stott, with these exercises, you’ll soon be on your way to creating the toned body you’ve always dreamed of. WarriorBabe has a few programs she goes over here: What Programs Does WarriorBabe Offer.


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