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Home » OSL Blog » 8 Best Female Bodybuilding Program Exercises

8 Best Female Bodybuilding Program Exercises

July 24, 2019

Key Takeaways

  1. Some women don’t want to gain muscle because they worry about how they’ll look or are intimidated by the gym scene.
  2. This program might be perfect to rid yourself of that extra weight you haven’t been able to get rid of.
  3. You can go to the gym but these exercises can also be done at home.
  4. Get a great base female bodybuilding workout to gain confidence and kill it at the gym.

Hey guys, sorry but today’s article is strictly for the ladies.

Do you have a girlfriend, spouse or even a female friend, looking to build muscle but unsure where to start? If so, make sure she reads this article.

Today we are going to focus on the best female bodybuilding program and workout plan. Ladies, does this sound like you?

  • You’re struggling to lose some excess weight (no matter the cause) but haven’t been successful?
  • You’re intimated to walk into the gym and not know exactly what you’re doing, so you don’t even bother?
  • Do you want a routine that you can do at the gym or at home in your own spare time?

If so, then you definitely want to pay attention! While this is a female bodybuilding workout plan, you don’t have to aspire to be a bodybuilder to try it out.

Female bodybuilder
Build muscles, shed fat, & get stronger everyday with a simple bodybuilding program.

Just wanting to lose some weight is a good enough reason to want to check out our workouts. Why? Well, the body is able to take your excess weight and use it to create muscle. So, you’ll burn that fat you’ve been secretly cursing in the mirror and replace it with toned muscle!

Seriously, it’s probably easier to do than whatever latest diet craze you’ve seen on social media. And you’ll build strength, stamina, and courage on top of it. 

Should you use a gym?

Are you nervous about going to the gym, or can’t afford the cost of the membership right now? We’ve got you covered. Most of these female bodybuilding workouts can be done at home with minimal equipment.

Here’s the equipment you’ll need to get started:

  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebell (optional)
  • Barbell (optional)
  • Bench or sturdy chair

We’ve also got some tips for you before you get started on our female bodybuilding program.

1. Rethink the Diets

We know it’s hard when you’re scrolling on your phone and see someone’s results that look too good to be true. It’s natural to want the same results – especially if the woman has the same body type as you!

But we’re going to tell you now to resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon once you commit to this workout. When you start to lift weights and increase muscle, your body is going to need more calories.

healthy food
Make sure to fuel your body with nutritious food to support muscle gains & fat loss.

So while this might scare you, don’t worry.

Your body is going to burn more calories, including that unwanted fat you’ve got. If you aren’t eating enough to fuel your muscle and tissue growth, you won’t see gains. And gains are what you’re after, so make sure you eat with that in mind.

If you are unsure what to eat, then you should check out some of our articles on different ways of eating. Maybe start with If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) and go from there. It might take some time, but you must listen to your body and fuel it appropriately to see results.

2. Set Goals You Can Achieve

We know that it can be easy to get carried away when you start something new. You don’t want to go crazy and eat everything in sight, but you also don’t want to starve yourself.

goal setting
Goal setting is your path to success; focus on reasonable & simple goals.

You have to find balance in your eating as well as your goals. Set realistic expectations on

  • The type of food you eat and the calories you ingest
  • Your workout schedule – too much too soon is a recipe for injury
  • Aim for about 10 pounds of muscle over the course of your first year

Until you’ve got your female bodybuilding diet figured out, you’ll want to keep your workout schedule low. No more than three days working out per week for at least the first month or two. And never two consecutive days in a row. 

Your body needs time to heal, and your muscles need time to repair before your next workout. This is the true way to build and maintain muscle gains. Slow and steady wins the race.

female bodybuilder
Focus on slow & steady progress to support recovery & sustainable muscle gains.

Once you’ve got your food plan on point and you’re more confident in your workout routine, you can increase your schedule. Add one day per week for at least two weeks before you go for five workout days.

3. Take Progress Pics

Most people won’t stick with a routine if they aren’t seeing results. And when you are working to gain muscle, the scale is not a good indicator of your progress.

You can take measurements to track your results as well as progress pics. Have someone take them for you or do it in the mirror yourself. Don’t worry, you don’t have to show them to anyone – unless you want to!

bodybuilding progress
Progress pictures are a go to encouraging tracking method nowadays.

Even if you don’t plan to compete in a female bodybuilding competition, before and after shots are great for results. Forget the scale, it might just discourage you, especially if you gain weight. 

Remember, muscle weighs more than fat! So even if you do gain weight, that means your workout routine is working.

4. Don’t Go Nuts on Calorie Increase

While you will definitely need to increase your calories once you start strength training, you shouldn’t increase a huge amount. At least, not in the beginning.

Calorie tracking IIFYM
Calorie tracking will give you an overview of your food intake & support your goals.

That’s why we suggested IIFYM above. Your macros and food ratios are determined by your

  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Activity level
  • Goals

And you can adjust your macros as your body and activity changes.

You’ll have to track your eating, but it’s really the best way to go about this program. Your caloric intake will naturally increase as you make changes.

Remember, this is a lifestyle change and NOT a diet!

5. Supplement Wisely

In order to fuel your muscle gains properly, you might want to supplement your food choices.

If you choose not to, in the beginning, it’s totally okay. But if you are doing the routine and not seeing the results you want over time, consider supplementing.

Luckily, that’s what we do here at Old School Labs. To get you started, here’s what we recommend:

  • Muscle & Tone Stack – this is a package of our best pre-workout, protein, and fat burning products. Buying all three together in a stack is a great way to save money and get the products you need.
    • First, Vintage Blast™ is a holistic formula that offers the perfect balance of energy and stamina to get you started and power through your workout. 
    • Vintage Brawn™ is a protein shake with top quality ingredients that helps build up your muscles and tastes great as well. 
    • In addition, Vintage Build™ helps with faster recovery and fuels your muscles while improving your overall strength.
  • Vintage Bliss™ – if you struggle with sleep, then this might be something to consider as well. Our product is not habit forming and offers the deep sleep your body needs to grow and repair your muscles.
OSL supplements
Vintage Build, Bliss, Blast, & Brawn are the best supplements to initiate your journey.

If you have any questions about the products, be sure to send us a message, check our Help Center, or chat with us.

Ready to get started on your female bodybuilding journey?

1. Warm Up

Whether or not you’ve already been exercising, you’ll want to do a quick warm up before you get started lifting.

Warming up gets your muscles prepared for the weights and it also loosens you up. Plus, it helps avoid injury when you stretch your muscles before giving them a workout.

Take 15 – 20 minutes and do any or all of the following as your warm-up:

  • Brisk walk
  • Light jogging
  • Run on the treadmill at low to medium speed
  • Jumping jacks
  • March in place while swinging your arms
  • Hand toe touches (bring up your foot and touch with your opposite hand, switch to the opposite side and alternate)
  • Jump rope
rope jumps
Jumping rope is one of the best warming up exercises you can start with.

Pick a few of them and do each routine for a couple of minutes before you move to the next one. You can change this up for each workout day.

Now that you’re effectively warmed up, it’s time to get serious and start the best female bodybuilding program we offer.

2. Push Ups

Not many women can actually do a successful push up. This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of upper body strength. This is exactly why we want to start you out with this body-weight exercise. It will work your upper body and core since you’ll have to keep it engaged to help lift your body back up.

push up
Push ups are a great full body exercise with many variations to accompany your progress.

How to do it: Start out on all fours on the floor or a yoga mat. Place your hands down, shoulder-width apart and make sure they are on the floor directly under your shoulders. Stretch your legs out straight behind you and rise up onto your toes with your feet together.

Engage your core muscles and make sure your back and hips stay straight without dipping. Your whole body should move together. Begin to lower your body down until your chest almost touches the floor. Pause for a second before you lift yourself back up to the starting position.

Complete 8 – 10 reps and do two sets total if you are just starting out. You can increase by two reps and add another set as you get more comfortable with this body-weight exercise. Take up to 45-second rest between sets if needed.

step push ups
Step push ups are a beginner friendly variation you can start with.

Variation: If you are just starting out and you can’t do a full push up, we’ve got you covered. You can get into position and then put your knees down on the mat and complete the push up the same from there. Or, you can use a step for leverage.

You’ll want to use the edge of the second or third stair (depending on how tall you are) and have your legs straight out. The step will provide enough leverage for you to master the form and motion. Then, go flat on the floor once you’ve got it down.

3. Walking Lunges

This is another body-weight exercise you can do at home or at the gym. Perfect for your quads and glutes, you can ramp up the reps and sets when you’re ready for the challenge. If you don’t have good balance, these may be difficult to start out. Just keep practicing until you are able to breeze through them.

Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are perfect for targeting quads & glutes.

How to do it: Start standing straight up with your hands on your hips and your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core to keep your upper body steady as you step forward with one leg. Lower your rear knee until it almost touches the floor.

Make sure your front knee stays in line with your front foot and doesn’t go past it. Press your front foot down to raise yourself back up. Bring your back foot forward and begin the process again.

Complete 20 lunges for a total of three sets. If you need a break between sets, take up to 45-seconds as needed.

weighted lunges
step up your lunges with some dumbbells & barbells.

Variation: Once you get the hang of these, you can add weight to increase the challenge. Instead of having your hands on your hips, hold a dumbbell or plate in your hands at your chest.

4. Single Leg Glute Bridge

This exercise is part of the female bodybuilding program because it targets the glutes. You need a solid lower as well as upper body for overall definition and balance.

glute bridges
Single leg glute bridges are a solid lower body exercise targeting glutes.

How to do it: Lay flat on the floor or on a mat with your knees bent. Raise one leg in the air and keep it there throughout the reps. Keep your spine neutral.

Push up with your heel and raise your hips upward as you pull your glutes off the ground. Go up as far as you can, pause and squeeze your glutes before you lower back down to the starting position.

Complete 20 reps on each leg and 2 sets for each leg. Take up to a 30-second break between sets as needed.

Variation: Once you master this part of the female bodybuilding program, you can increase the challenge. To do this, take a dumbbell or weight and hold it at your hips while doing your reps.

5. Single Leg Deadlift

To complete this exercise in the best female bodybuilding program, you’ll need a kettlebell. If you don’t have one, you can use a dumbbell in its place.

Single leg deadlift
Unilateral exercises like single leg deadlifts are good for fixing imbalances & isolating muscles.

How to do it: Stand with the kettlebell in one hand at your side. Whichever hand you choose to start with, that is the leg you will be lifting. With your other knee slightly bent, begin to move forward, hinging at the hip.

Extend your kettlebell side leg behind you as a counterbalance. Continue forward until your body is parallel to the floor. Pause, and then move back to the starting position. Switch sides to continue your deadlifts.

Complete 10 – 12 reps for a total of three sets per leg. If you need a break between sets, take up to a 30-second break.

Variation: If you need to up the challenge, increase the size of your kettlebell or dumbbell. Make sure you have proper form before you do so, to avoid injury.

6. Plank 

This body-weight exercise makes our list for best female bodybuilding program because it’s great for your entire body. It looks easy but it is definitely challenging. The plank focuses on your core the most but you’ll also feel it in your upper and lower body.

A plank is an ideal full body-weight exercise; it looks easy but it is surely a challenge.

How to do it: Start out on the floor like your going to do a push up. Legs straight, weight on your toes, with your arms bent, forearms on the floor and holding your upper body.

Make sure your arms are in line with your shoulders. Engage your core and keep your body straight. You’ll hold this pose as long as you can.

Complete the plank for 30 seconds for two sets, and then do a 45-second rep, for a total of three sets. Take up to a 30-second break between sets if needed.

Variation: To further challenge yourself, raise up one leg or one arm while doing the plank pose.

7. Hammer Curls

This exercise is great for targeting your biceps. You’ll need dumbbells to perform this best female bodybuilding program workout.

hammer curls
Hammer curls are the go to bicep exercise since the Golden Era.

How to do it: Stand straight up with a dumbbell in each hand using an overhand grip with your palms facing each other. Bend your elbows so that your forearms are at waist level, keeping your elbows close to your torso throughout the exercise.

Keep your upper arms still and move only your forearm. Begin by exhaling and bringing the dumbbells up until they are at shoulder level. Pause and squeeze your biceps before you lower back down to the starting position, inhaling on the way down.

Complete 12 reps for a total of three sets. Take up to a 45-second break as needed between sets.

Variation: You can do both arms simultaneously or focus on one arm at a time. Just make sure you do three sets per arm. You can also sit on a bench with a straight back or use a back support as well. For a further challenge, do a drop set – use the heaviest weight for the first set, then lower the weight for each subsequent set.

8. Bent Over Row

This exercise in our best female bodybuilding program is great for the back. You can use either a barbell or dumbbells for this one.

bent over row
Bent over row is a challenging workout that targets your back muscles.

How to do it: Hold the barbell with your palms facing down, knees slightly bent. Bend at the waist to bring your torso forward with your back straight and your head up. The barbell should hang with your arms straight, right around your knees.

Keep your body straight and exhale as you start to bring the barbell up towards your chest. Keep your elbows in and use your forearms to pull the weight until it’s almost touching your torso. Pause and squeeze your back for a second. Inhale as you move back to the starting position.

Complete 12 reps for three sets total. Take up to a 45-second break if needed between sets.

Variation: You can use a barbell or dumbbells. If you choose dumbbells, make sure you are moving them together at the same time. Use lighter weights until you have proper form down to avoid back injury. Increase weight for more challenge, and once you’re ready, add another set.

9. Plie Dumbbell Squat

This is another exercise to get your quads burning. You’ll need a dumbbell to complete this best female bodybuilding exercise.

plie dumbbell squat
Plie dumbbell squats will work your legs, & specifically your quads.

How to do it: Hold the dumbbell by the base in both hands. Stand tall with your legs spread wider than shoulder-width apart and the dumbbell in the middle.

Your arms won’t move during this exercise. Keep your back straight to avoid injury. Inhale as you slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause and exhale as you drive through your heel back to the starting position.

Complete 12 – 15 reps for a total of three sets. Take up to a 30-second break in between sets if needed.

Variation: Increase the weight once you’ve mastered the form for added challenge.

10. Post Workout Recovery

Now that you’ve kicked your own butt with our female bodybuilding workout program, it’s time to focus on recovery.

Studies indicate that cold therapy is one of the best ways for muscle recovery, especially for women.

Recovery is as important as training,& an easy way is relaxing in a cold pool.

After you’ve done some post-workout stretches, consider one of these cold therapy options:

  • Take a cold shower
  • Soak in a cold pool or bath
  • Wear a cooling vest or cold soaked shirt
  • Put on a cool compression shirt
  • Cryotherapy is also an option

We really hope you enjoyed the best female bodybuilding workout program we put together. We expect that you’ll advance and need another more serious workout later on. Stay tuned for that in the future!

What was your favorite out of our list of best female bodybuilding workouts? Any you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: None of the individuals and/or companies mentioned necessarily endorse Old School Labs or COSIDLA Inc. products or the contents of this article. Any programs provided for illustration purposes only. Always consult with your personal trainer, nutritionist and physician before changing or starting any new exercise, nutrition, or supplementation program.
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Old School Labs™ is the maker of premium supplements that carry on the fitness values of the “Golden Era” of bodybuilding. Old School Labs™ products do not hide behind proprietary blends, contain no artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors, and are manufactured using only high-quality ingredients.

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