Upper and Lower Body Workouts for Women

In this workout guide, ladies, we will present to you a couple of workout regimens for the upper and lower body, which will help you carve that perfect butt and flat stomach you’ve been craving for so badly.

You will notice that the emphasis in those workouts, is placed on the lower body (thighs, hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back), meaning that those workouts will be more frequent, bigger in volume and slightly denser.

This is simply because women tend to focus on the lower portion of the body (thighs, glutes, hams, etc.) while men usually tend to focus on the upper body (Arms, chest, back, etc.)

Beginner workout split

This workout split is made for women who have little to none sports background, and are ready to begin improving their physical qualities.

Goal: Learn exercises, develop basic physical qualities- Strength, strength endurance, cardio endurance

Difficulty: Beginners

Frequency: Every other day, 3 to 4 times a week

Type: Full body workout

Exercises: Mostly basic, compound exercises

Rest times between sets: 60-90 seconds

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Full body Cardio, stretching Full body Rest, stretching Full body Rest, stretching Cardio, stretching

Warm up

Warming up before the workout is a must. Your warm up is about 10-15 minutes in duration, and consists of stretching and light cardio like walking, jogging or rope jumping. Once you get into the workout itself, you have two warm up sets on the first one or two basic exercises.

Full Body Workout
Upper Body
Optional muscle group. Worry not, girls, you won’t get huge chest muscles, you’ll just tone them and get stronger on the pushing movements.
Body Part Exercise Repetitions
Chest Incline dumbbell bench press Set 1 and 2- Warm up sets, 15 and 12 repetitions with a light weight, respectively.
Set 3- 10 repetitions; This is working set number 1, use a significantly higher weight that will challenge you, but won’t make you reach failure by the end of the set
Set 4- 8 repetitions; Second and last working set, weight used can remain the same as in set 3, or higher.
Back Vertical lat pulldowns (Warm up sets) Set 1- 15 repetitions
Set 2- 12 repetitions
Vertical lat pulldowns (Working sets) Set 3- 10 repetitions
Set 4- 8 repetitions
Set 5- 8 repetitions
Shoulders Dumbbell shoulder presses Set 1- 12 repetitions
Set 2- 10 repetitions
Set 3- 10 repetitions
Biceps Standing dumbbell curls 3 sets of 12 repetitions
Triceps Rope push-downs 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions
Lower Body
Thighs Body-weight squats 4 sets of 15 repetitions
Walking lunges 3 sets of 15 repetitions per leg
Glutes & hamstrings Glute kickbacks 5 sets of 15 repetitions per leg
Laying hamstring curls 3 sets of 12 repetitions, strong contraction of the glutes
Calves Standing calf raises 5 sets of 15 repetitions
Cardio In case you don’t know how to do your cardio, read our Cardio for Beginners article.

Intermediate workout splits

If you’re at the point where the first split seems easy, you can transition to this intermediate upper/lower body split.

 

Goal: Learn more exercises, put emphasis on certain body parts

Difficulty: Intermediate

Frequency: Two days on, one day off, 4 times a week, two cardio sessions and stretching on rest days.

Type: Full body workout

Exercises: Mostly basic, compound exercises, some isolated movements

Rest times between sets: 40-50 seconds

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Upper body Lower body Rest, cardio Upper body Lower body Rest, stretching Rest, cardio, stretching
Full Body Workout
Upper Body
Body Part Exercise Repetitions
Chest Incline dumbbell bench press Set 1- 15 repetitions
Set 2- 12 repetitions
Set 3- 10 repetitions
Set 4- 8 repetitions
Set 5- 8 repetitions
Incline dumbbell flys 3 sets of 12 repetitions, focus on stretching throughout the movement.
Back Lat pull-downs Set 1- 15 repetitions
Set 2- 12 repetitions
Set 3- 12 repetitions
Set 4- 10 repetitions
Set 5- 10 repetitions
Dumbbell rows 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Shoulders Dumbbell shoulder presses 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell lateral raises 3 sets of 12
Biceps Incline bench dumbbell curls 4 sets of 12
Triceps Bench dips 4 sets of 12
For this exercise, you can either place your legs on the ground, or on another bench so you can use your full body weight.
Lower Body
Thighs Body-weight squats 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Barbell squats 3 sets of 12 repetitions
Leg press 2 sets of 15 repetitions
Glutes & hamstrings Glute kickbacks 3 sets of 15 repetitions per side
Hip thrusts 4 sets of 15 repetitions
Romanian deadlifts (barbell) 2 sets of 10 repetitions
Laying hamstring curls 3 sets of 12 repetitions
Lower back Lower back hyper-extensions 4 sets of 15 repetitions
Keep in mind that for women, training the lower back is mandatory, simply because it’s naturally a weaker body part for females.
Calves Leg press calf raises 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Seated calf raises 3 sets of 15 or more repetitions

Exercises that can be used as a substitute to other exercises

Chest : Pec deck, flat bench presses

Back : Cable rows, back rows machine, narrow grip lat pull-downs

Shoulders : Presses/lateral raises on a machine

Biceps : Preacher curls with a dumbbell or a machine, e-z bar curls

Triceps : Overhead dumbbell presses, dumbbell kickbacks

Thighs : Hack squats, leg extensions, Bulgarian split squats

Hamstrings : Standing, seated hamstring curls

Glutes : Squats done with a glute contraction at the end of the movement, cable kickbacks, laying hamstring curl hip thrust, lunges done with a glute kickback after each rep

Lower back: Good mornings

Abdominal workouts

Usually, if you’re looking to flatten your belly, or even get some definition there, the correct answer is a proper diet. However, if you have that in check, you can do abdominal workouts to further develop your core in terms of definition and strength.The correct abdominal exercises are the fundamentals you want to look for, if your goal is developing your mid-section. The usual crunches are far from enough when it comes to proper development of that certain area.

Keep in mind- The core is the stabilizer for most of your exercises and gets worked on indirectly, which makes it unnecessary to train your abs every single day, expecting to see more results.

Below, we will present to you a series of exercises, that are far more effective than the standard, boring crunches.

Goal: Tone the abdominal muscles, gain core strength

Frequency: Twice a week, preferably on rest days or lower body days

Rest times between sets: 50-60 seconds

The exercises

Using these 6 exercises, you will tighten up your mid-section and also cure the lower back pain that you might be having.

Important note: Quality over quantity.

Doing a thousand crunches a day will be a waste of time. Abdominal workouts don’t require intensity and strength training, but rather a moderate pace and well controlled contraction of the core musculature.Using full range of motion and moderate pace for any abdominal exercise, will lead to a significant fatigue even 30 seconds into the exercise.

Each of the exercises is done for 40-60 seconds, and can be repeated 2 to 3 times if your physical capabilities allow it. Do the exercises, in the order given below.

1.Plank
Lay on the ground and lift your body up, standing on your elbows and toes. Hold for as long as possible (Usually, failure is reached at the 40-60 second mark)

2. Plank hip twists

Take the same plank position, standing on your elbows and toes. Tighten your abdominal muscles and alternate between twisting your hips to the left and the right. The twists must be as controlled as possible.

3.Flutter kicks

Lay down on your back, so that your lower back is on the ground. Straighten your legs and lift them off of the floor (5-6 inches), start doing a fluttering up and down motion with your legs (alternating from left to right leg), while keeping your core tight and legs straight.

4.Laying leg raises

This is one of the simplest abdominal exercises, however, we put it at number 4 so you can feel the significant fatigue, just a couple of exercises into the circuit.

To do this exercise, all you have to do is lay down on your back, lift your head off of the floor and then lift your legs together (Legs should be straight) up until a 90-degree angle, after which, you slowly get them down to the initial position, keeping constant tension on the abdominal muscles.

5. Mountain climbers

To complete this exercise, you have to lie down in a plank position, but instead of standing on your elbows, you will stand on your palms. (Push-up position, in a sense)

Keep the arms straight and get your right knee as close as possible to the right arm, then get back to the initial position of that leg and complete the same movement on the left side, with the left leg.

6.Side plank

Lay down to the side, lift the body so that you’re standing on one of your elbows and the side of your leg. Lift your arm to a 90-degree angle and slowly move your thighs closer to the ground, without touching it. After that, get the thighs to their initial position by contracting the core musculature.

Once you’re done, repeat on the other side. Again, we have to mention that when it comes to a flat belly and/or defined abdominal musculature, it’s about your diet. The workouts just help you raise your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and add details to the abdominals, here and there.

If you’re having trouble with your workouts and nutrition, feel free to get in touch with us, for personal, in-depth training and nutrition regimens, using our Individual online coaching page!

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