You're Doing it Wrong: Strength Training For Women

STACK Expert Stan Dutton offers some unvarnished opinions about strength training programs for women. His ideas on what works and what doesn't may surprise you.

Strength training for women

I'll be honest with you: when it comes to strength training, women are fed a lot of misinformation.

I see "fit" women on social media following workout programs that are not only ineffective, but also unsafe. Sure, these women are often beautiful, but with the right filter, anyone can look amazing.

Here's the issue: the more extreme, dangerous and illogical some of these programs are, the better they sell. Many people think that because getting in shape their way has been difficult and unsuccessful, a successful training program must be even more difficult—and thus "extreme" programs and diets must work. The fact is, getting fitter and stronger is probably easier (or at least much simpler) than you think. You could be doing it very, very wrong.

You may be be surprised by what I have to say about strength training for women—what I endorse and what I very strongly believe in.

I understand the fear that most women have about going into the weight room—"where the gorillas hang out," as one of my clients used to call it. Not only are there large, sweaty men grunting and dropping dumbbells, but they're likely to be checking you out, too. I can imagine how uncomfortable this is for women. Plus, a woman may not be familiar with the majority of the equipment, or know how to use the barbells and dumbbells, so she may be left with only a few machines.

But here's the thing: machines do nothing for you. They're as useless as elliptical trainers, stair steppers, recumbent bikes and detox diets. Try to find a weight room where other women work out, and maybe bring a knowledgeable friend who can teach you how to use the equipment.

Let's dig deeper into the fundamentals of weight lifting.

You will not become bulky. You do not have enough testosterone in your body to become Arnold Schwarzenegger. You will not put on insane amounts of muscle mass by lifting two or three times a week. Lifting heavy weights and doing Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Presses, Pull-Ups and Push-Ups are actually ideal for you.

Get rid of those Glute Kick-Backs, Bicep Curls and Sit-Ups. Those exercises are ineffective and do absolutely nothing to stimulate your metabolism. You burn many more calories squatting that you do with Sit-Ups, and squats also make your core stronger.

To become both stronger and leaner, perform these big lifts in a circuit, one after another.

RELATED: The 4 Best Leg Exercises for Women

Day 1: Squat and Press

  • A: Single-Leg Split Squat - 5X5
  • B: Dumbbell Bench Press - 3X6

Now that you've got your strength training out of the way, continue with:

  • C1: Offset Kettlebell Squat - x 6/side
  • C2: Dumbbell Overhead Press - x 8
  • C3: Farmer's Walk - x 45 seconds

Rest for 30 seconds, and repeat 4 times:

  • D1: Swiss Ball Glute Bridge - x 7
  • D2: Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl - x 7
  • D3: Plank on Swiss Ball with Arm Slides - x 20

Day 2: Training for Warriors - the Hurricane

Check it out here.

Day 3: Hinge and Pull

  • A: Deadlift - 5X3
  • B: Pull-Ups - max x 3
  • C1: Kettlebell Swings - x 10
  • C2: Bodyweight Rows-  x 10
  • C3: Pallof Press - x 10
  • Rest 30 seconds, repeat 4 times

These workouts will help you add muscle and make you stronger. Why is this so awesome? Because the body burns an extra 50 calories per day per pound of muscle. So if you put on 10 pounds of muscle, you'll burn an extra 500 calories per day. That's an extra 3,500 calories per week. Note: there are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat.

Let that sink in.

Do these workouts involve detoxes, hours of cardio, "extreme" training or ineffective isolation exercises? Nope. Keep it simple, keep it consistent and kick some butt.

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