We’ve put together some of the most effective exercises to lose weight fast and build lean muscle. If you’re hitting a plateau, just getting started, or ready to explore strength training for women, this list of weight lifting exercises is perfect for female beginners.
Arms + Upper Back
As the name suggests, you’ll be working out your triceps, opposite your bicep. You can use either a rope attachment or several different bar attachments, which makes this a fairly flexible exercise. Because you’re really targeting one muscle, you’ll really feel the burn. This exercise will help eliminate the dreaded ‘arm flab’ as you build muscle, just in time for bathing suit season.
Channel your inner Thor with hammer curls. This is a great alternative to the traditional bicep curl, as it works out the same muscle – yup, the bicep. You can do this exercise standing or sitting, one arm at a time or simultaneously. Building your biceps helps with a ton of everyday activities like opening jars, push heavy doors, or lugging your gym bag filled with a change of clothes, hair dryer, and 3 makeup palettes. Win!
This is probably the go-to exercise everyone thinks of when they think of bodybuilding. And for good reason – it makes your pecs look amazing! If you’re thinking I’ve got breasts, I don’t need pecs, think again. Working out your pecs and chest will actually make your boobs look bigger and perkier! You can get that Wonder Woman look the same way Gal Gadot did – bench press.
If bodybuilders rock the bench press, then power lifters – like the strongest man in the world competitors – own the push press. This exercise works out your deltoids (the muscle at the very top, outside of your shoulder) like none else as well as your stabilizer muscles. You’ll be able to reach the top shelf like a boss and increase your balance, so you can finally land that yoga pose you’ve been practicing.
The latissimus dorsi muscle aka your lats are probably the most neglected muscle for women, which is kind of bonkers. Your lats line your entire sides from your armpits to your butt, helping you do pretty much everything from lift and lower your arms to rotating your shoulders and developing your core strength. So if rippling abs or moving your arms are on your yes, please! list, then lat exercises are a necessity.
Legs + Lower Back
By adding weight to your standalone squat exercise, you can push your limits and enhance your strength. Squats primarily workout your quadriceps, the front muscle of your upper legs. Besides toning your entire backside and upper legs, you’ll also increase your flexibility and balance, and start taking those stairs two at a time.
It may sound like one tough cookie, but this exercise is a phenomenal way to work out your lower back. It’s also easy to start without weight and add barbells in as you build up your strength. It’s super versatile, so you can do them even if you don’t have an inclined hyperextension bench. Strengthening your lower back will improve your posture as well as increase your hip flexibility, so you can dance like Shakira.
As the name implies, you’ll be working out your calves. You can do this exercise standing, but keep in mind your lifting your entire body weight plus whatever you’re holding. If you’re just getting started, try the seated calf raises and raise the weight incrementally. Building your calf strength means you can walk farther, run longer, and jump higher – like Usain Bolt.
A clean deadlift will give your hamstrings a run for their money. Not only will you feel the burn, but you’ll feel the cardio! There are also a ton of variations, so you can use a bar or barbell and also change up your stance, grip, and position. Your hamstrings are responsible for helping you walk and run, bend your knees, and move your hips, so basically you’re defying the aging process with this exercise!
The Kardashians set a precedent and now everyone wants a sculpted bottom. A quality booty starts with a quality leg lift. The bonus? You can do this literally anywhere there’s a chair or wall. Adding weights will help you build strength faster and more efficiently. Remember, building muscle helps you burn fat, so leg lifts can leave you with a thinner waistline and toned glutes.
Are any of these exercises part of your workout routine? Feel free to brag about your results in the comments!