Full Body Workout Plan For Women – A Complete Guide 

by Steve Theunissen

Traditionally, muscle and women haven’t gone together.

The overriding view has been that muscle will make a woman more muscle bound, less athletic and less feminine.

Thankfully, we are entering into a more enlightened age.

Millions of ladies around the world have discovered the truth about what eating and exercising to add muscle to her physique can REALLY do for a woman.

They’ve found out that a fit female body. . .

  • Gives shape to the body
  • Helps eliminate body fat
  • Delivers an athletic, sexy body
  • Gives you strength, self-confidence and inner conviction

As a personal fitness trainer, I’ve spent 35+ years introducing women to the benefits of muscle training and working with them to get serious about weight training and nutrition in order to create a toned, athletic, muscular body. 

In this article, I lay out a complete workout plan for women to creating a muscular, fit female body. We will provide you with two of the best weight training workout for women that you will find anywhere.

A Snapshot Of Your Body

When you start on a journey you need a roadmap.

It’s the same thing with your transformation journey to a fit female body. That roadmap begins with an assessment of where you are starting from.

To find that out you need to take some vital statistics.

Take the following bodily measures . . .

  • Body weight
  • Lean body mass (LBM)
  • Body fat percentage
  • Body measurements

To do this it helps to get a smart scale. You can pick up a good one for around 80 pounds. These scales pair to a phone app to provide you with a lot of important data, including your lean body mass, and body fat percentage.

To take your bodily measurements you will need a tape measure. Measure the following body parts:

  • Upper arm (flexed)
  • Chest
  • Stomach (around belly button)
  • Hips
  • Mid Thigh

Take these body measurements once every four weeks to assess your progress.

Be aware you will be reshaping your body by both losing fat and adding muscle.

Because muscle is heavier than fat, you may not be losing as much weight on the scale as you would expect. The key parameters to focus on are your body fat percentage and your lean body mass.

Once you have your overall weight and body-fat percentage you will be able to calculate your lean body mass. Simply multiply the overall weight by the body-fat percentage. Then subtract the fat amount from the total weight to get your lean body mass.

How Should You Train for a Fit Female Body?

The idea that women are delicate beings persists.

They are, after all, the fairer sex – the rose to the man’s thorn.

Men are meant to be the strong ones.

It may be sexist and it may be stereotypical but it’s still stuck in our collective mindset.

That’s why you can still walk into any gym and see the racks of heavy iron on one side, all dark and imposing – and then the tiny, pink cute dumbbells on the other.

That’s the women’s side.

Well, it’s time to blast the notion that men and women, with the same goal, need to train differently out of the water once and for all.

Muscle is Muscle

Until one of us – men or women – start restructuring our cell’s molecular composition or begin to grow new types of muscle fiber then we all need to train in the same manner.

You see, whether a muscle belongs to a man or a woman, it will react to stress in the same way.

It will need the same type of stimulus to grow, the same form of fuel to repair itself and the identical amount of rest to recuperate.

So, fundamentally men and women should train the same.

Differing Goals 

Weights are a tool.

What we want to achieve from the tool is going to dictate how we use it.

As a generalization, male weight trainers desire muscular size and strength while females are after a toned, shapely look. Those goals require different workout plans.

 For size and strength, you’ll train super heavy with lots of sets to failure and relatively low reps. Those more intent on defining and shaping the muscle with perform sets in the 8-15 rep range.

Notice though, it is the goal and not the gender that determines the nature of the weight training.

After all, there are many women out there who do desire larger, stronger muscles. These women will train just like the men in order to achieve their goals. 

Meet Your Body

female muscles

The first step toward creating a fit female body is to become aware of the different muscles that make up your amazing body. In this section we provide an overview.


The shoulders are made up of a three part muscle. We say that the shoulder has three heads – the front, side and rear deltoids. The shoulders pull the  humerus (upper arm bone) out to the side (middle delt), out to the front (front delt) and behind the body (rear delt). 


There are two parts to your chest muscles – the pectoralis major and minor. The pec major sits on top of the pec minor. The main job of the chest is to push your arms away from your body.


The Trapezius, or traps, is a kite shaped muscle that covers the area from your neck to the mid spine. It allows the scapular bones to move up and down and in and out. 

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi (or lats) is a large muscle that originates at the ribs and inserts at the top of the humerus. Well developed lats give a pleasing ‘V’ shape to the torso. 

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae are the muscles at the base of the spine. They actually run all the way from the pelvis up to the neck. Its main job is to extend, or pull back, the spine. 


The biceps are also made up of two muscles. Its main job is to flex the elbow to bring the wrist upto the shoulder. It also helps to supinate the wrist.


The triceps, at the back of your upper arm, is a three headed muscle group. All three heads originate at the shoulder joint and insert on the elbow. The job of the triceps is to straighten the arm through elbow flexion. It is the antagonist (opposite) muscle to the biceps. 


The abdominals are made up the abdominal wall , or rectus abdominis, along with the external and internal obliques. These muscles allow for flexion of the torso and side to side movement.


The quadriceps is made up of four heads, which run from the hip/pelvis to the knee. These muscles combine to perform flexion and extension of the knee, as well as lateral and medial rotation.


There are two muscles that make up the calves – the gastrocnemius, which flexes the ankle, and the soleus, which assists in that ankle flexion. 


There are three parts to your glute (butt) muscles – the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimis. These muscles combine to allow for hip extension, abduction and rotation. 


The hamstrings, are sometimes known as the leg biceps. That’s because they do the same job, which is to flex and extend the knee. It is the antagonistic muscle group to the quadriceps. 

Fit Female Nutrition

good female nutrition

What you eat is the most important factor when it comes to creating your fit female body.

Food provides the nutrients that fuel your muscle cells as well as the building blocks to create new muscle.

All of the training in the world, will not bring results unless it is supported by sensible, quality nutrition. 


There are three main, or macro, nutrients in food, they being protein, carbohydrates and fat.

We measure the energy in foods in calories. There are four calories in one gram of protein and carbs and nine calories in one gram of fat. 

All three of the macros are needed by the body.

For terms of bodybuilding, however, the most important macro is protein.

Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue.

Carbohydrates are also important as they provide the energy to fuel you through your workouts. 

We suggest the following macronutrient ratio:

  • 50% carbs
  • 30% protein
  • 20% fat

Focus on lean protein sources . . .

In terms of carbohydrates, concentrate on green leafy vegetables, starches such as sweet potatoes and yams, rolled oats as well as fruits like bananas and apples. 

The Fit Female Body Workouts

best workout plan for women uk

I’m about to lay out a six-week transformation program that is designed to build lean muscle tissue, burn body fat and improve your overall cardiovascular fitness. The program consists of two different workouts (Workout A & Workout B).  These programs incorporate one of the best workouts for weight loss for women.

I’ve used this exact routine with over a hundred female clients during my years as a personal trainer and I have never seen it not work.

If a client sticks with the routine they always have amazing results within 6-12 months.

Lifting weights consistently has the ability to obliterate body fat if you give yourself a chance to get strong enough.

Also – don’t worry about “getting huge muscles” from lifting weight.

Have you ever had male friends who go to the gym and try to “get huge muscles” but even after years, they still don’t?

That’s because getting huge muscles is very difficult!

It’s not going to happen to you after a few months of lifting weights. Some people guys spend years trying to put on muscle and still struggle.

I can almost guarantee that the workout program below will not give you huge muscles unless you have very (very, very very) abnormally high testosterone levels – I’m talking ten times higher than an average woman.

If you’re like 99.9% of other females on this planet, lifting weights won’t make you huge, it will make you lean, toned, and give you a chiseled bum other females will stare at with envy!

You will be working out 4 times per week as follows:

Workout AWorkout BRESTWorkout AWorkout BRESTREST

Workout A will be focused on working the upper body (chest, back, arms, shoulders).

Workout B will be lower body centric (quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves). This workout will hit the traditional female trouble spots of the thighs and glutes where fat and cellulite tend to accumulate. As a result, you will be doing more work with higher reps on these areas. 

Begin each exercise with a warm up that makes use of a light weight that allows you to perform 20 reps with ease. The rep scheme on each exercise will be the same:

Set One: Warm up – 20 reps

Set Two: 12 reps

Set Three: 8 reps

Set Four: 6 reps

Workout A

Begin each exercise with a warm up that makes use of a light weight that allows you to perform 20 reps with ease. The rep scheme on each exercise will be the same:

Set One: Warm up – 20 reps

Set Two: 12 reps

Set Three: 8 reps

Set Four: 6 reps

  • One Arm Cable Pull-In
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Shrugs
  • Cable Side Lateral Raises
  • Alternate Dumbbell Curls
  • Triceps Pushdowns

Workout B

This is one of the best leg workouts for women that I have ever created. Begin each exercise with a warm up that makes use of a light weight that allows you to perform 20 reps with ease. The rep scheme on each exercise will be the same:

Set One: Warm up – 20 reps

Set Two: 15 reps

Set Three: 10 reps

Set Four: 10 reps

  • Squats
  • Back Lunges
  • Glute Bridge
  • Leg Curl
  • Box Jumps
  • Standing Calf Raise

Workout Instructions

  • You need to apply total focus to your workout. Shut out all other thoughts and get honed in on the muscle you are working. Think about the feel in the muscle, with an emphasis on achieving a full contraction and extension on every single rep. 
  • Leave your phone in your gym bag – this is not a time to talk selfies, check your Instagram or message your girlfriends – it is a time to work out!
  • Keep a good pace going through your workout. Your rest between sets should be limited to 30 seconds. Keep your rest between exercises to under two minutes. 
  • Increase the weight slightly on every succeeding set. You want the last 20 percent of your reps to be difficult. 

Optimized Exercise Technique

Workout A

One Arm Cable Pull In

Stand in front of a high pulley cable machine and adjust it so that the pulley is at its highest setting.

Attach a single handle and grab it with your right hand. .

Now step back until you are about six feet from the machine.

Get into a split stance position with your left foot forward.

You want your right arm to be extended to the cable at an angle of close to 30 degrees.

You will know you are far enough back when you feel a full stretch through the latissimus dorsi (upper back) muscles. 

Pull your right arm from a fully extended position down and in toward your right hip.

Do not stop until your hand makes contact with your hip. In this position, contract tightly through the lats. Now slowly return to the start position and repeat. 

Repeat on the other arm.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Lie on a flat bench with a pair of dumbbells held aloft above your mid chest.

Breath in, expend your chest and bring your scapulae together as you lower the dumbbells down and to the side of your chest.

Bring your arms down as far as possible to achieve a full extension in the pectorals.

From the bottom position explode back up until your arms are fully extended once more. In the top position bring the dumbbell ends together so that they make contact. Squeeze to fully contract the pecs in this position. 

Dumbbell Shrugs

Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and resting at arm’s length at mid-thigh level.

Without bending at the elbows, shrug the weights up so you bring your shoulder and trapezius muscles up towards your ears.

Then roll them back as you bring the scapulae together. Return to the start position and repeat. 

Cable Side Lateral Raises

Stand in front of a cable pulley machine and set the cable height at mid- thigh level.

Attach a single handle to the cable. Now stand side on to the machine and grab the handle with your outer arm.

Pivot from the shoulder and raise your arm to bring the handle across your torso and up to the level of your shoulder.

Your arm should be slightly bent but locked in that position.

Pause in the top position and slower lower.

Keep the reps going smoothly with no pause between them. 

Alternate Dumbbell Curls

Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and resting at arm’s length at mid-thigh level.

Start with your palms facing in toward your thighs.

Keep your lower back slightly arched and your chest expanded.

Now, starting with your right arm, supinate the wrist to face your palm forward.

Then curl the weight up to your shoulder, using only the biceps to achieve the lift.

Keep your elbow in at your side and do not thrust with your hips to achieve momentum.

In the top position, squeeze the biceps tightly to achieve a full contraction.

Be sure to fully extend the arm on every rep. Alternate arms with every rep.

Triceps Pushdowns

Stand in front of a cable pulley machine with the pulley set three positions from the top.

Insert a rope handle on the end of the cable.

Now stand about 18 inches from the machine and grab the rope handles.

Be sure to keep your elbows pinned to side in the start position and throughout the movement.

In this start position, your hands should be at the level of your upper chest. 

Now contract the triceps to fully extend the rope to arm’s length.

In the bottom position pull the rope handles apart to fully engage the triceps.

Fully contract the triceps in this position.

Slowly return to the start position but do not allow the weight plates to rest on the stack before starting the next rep (you want to maintain constant tension on the muscle). 

Workout B


Load a squat rack with an Olympic bar set at shoulder height.

Step under the bar and position yourself so that it is resting comfortably across your trapezius muscles.

Now step back to unrack the weight.

Adjust your feet so that they are shoulder width apart with the toes slightly pointing out.

Engage your core, pull the lower back in look slightly up. 

Begin the squat movement by dropping the hips down and back.

Descend down until you are on a full squat position (thighs below parallel).

Do not round your back.

Begin the ascent by driving your heels into the floor while bringing the hips back up. Return to the start position and move directly into the next rep. 

Back Lunges

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands by your sides with a pair of dumbbells in your hands.

Now take a full step backwards with your right leg.

Drop your right knee down until it almost touches the ground.

Contract the glutes and then push through the glutes to return to the start position. Then repeat with the left leg. 

Glute Bridge

Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and your palms on the floor.

Drive your heels into the floor as you lift your hips into the air.

Squeeze the glutes together as you hold the top position for a two second count. Lower and repeat.

Leg Curl

Sit on a seated leg curl machine with your legs over the ankle pads.

Adjust the seat and leg positioning to allow you to get a full extension and contraction of the lower legs. 

Set your weight and begin the rep by pushing down on the leg pads to bring the legs down to a fully contracted position.

You will feel this movement strongly through your hamstrings.

Hold the fully contracted position and then slowly return to the start position. 

Box Jumps

Stand in front of a box that is either 16, 20 or 24 inches in height.

Stand six inches away from the box with your feet set under your hips.

Bend your knees slightly and load your arms at your sides.

Lead with your arms as you jump up land on the box.

Land evenly on the box in the bottom squat position.

Immediately jump down (think Hot Potato) and move directly into the next rep.

Standing Calf Raise

Stand in front of a standing calf raise machine.

Set the weight and then position yourself under the shoulder pads.

Step up onto the foot block so that just your toes are resting on the block.

This will allow you to get a full extension of the calves on the descent.

Now, without bending at the knee, extend the calf muscles to lift the weight to full extension.

Hold for a second at the top and then lower all the way to the bottom position. Maintain a fluid 

7 Top Tips to Create a Fit Female Body

Building muscle is hard work for anyone.

But women have to work harder than men to add lean mass to their frame.

The reason is that you ladies have far less testosterone coursing through your veins.

As a result, you need to work harder and smarter to get the same the results you want.

Tip #1: Overload

Your muscles need to be constantly stressed for them to respond.

That means that you need to be pushing yourself to lift more weight, perform more reps, or increase the tempo of your workout. 

Tip #2: Varied Rep Range

In order to build muscle, you need to have a variety of rep ranges.

Build these into your sets by starting with very high reps, then slowly reducing them as you increase the weight each set.

Here is an example:

* Set One – 30 reps

* Set Two – 15 reps

* Set Three – 10 reps

* Set Four – 8 reps

* Set 5 – 6 reps

Tip #3: Focus on the Eccentric Part of the Rep

There are two parts to each rep – the lifting (concentric) part and the lowering (eccentric) part.

Research studies have shown that there is more muscle building benefit in the eccentric portion.

For that reason, you should maximize this part of the rep. Take 1-2 seconds to raise the weight and 2-3 seconds to lower it. 

Tip #4: Recuperate

You do not build muscle in the gym.

That happens outside of the gym, when you rest and recuperate.

So, don’t get into the habit of over training.

Make sure that you get 48 hours rest before you work a muscle group again.

Every night, you need to be getting 7-8 hours of sleep, as that is the prime time that your muscles recover and rebuild. 

Tip #5: Develop Your Mind Muscle Connection

When you are in the gym, you need to be focused on the muscle being worked.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by what is going on around you. And DO NOT take your phone onto the gym floor.

Instead, get your mind into the muscle by concentrating on the feel as it squeezes and contracts through every single rep.

Tip #6: Compound Movements

Your workouts should be built around the exercises that give you the most bang for your buck.

That means performing compound moves such as squats, deadlifts, presses and lunges.

Do these first in your workout while you have the most energy. 

Tip #7: Push the Intensity

Intensity relates to amount of effort that goes into your workout.

When you are trying to build lean muscle tissue, you cannot afford to dial in your workout.

You need to be pushing yourself to do more than you did last workout.

No matter what the rep range, the last few reps should be extremely hard. If they aren’t, add more poundage to the bar. 

Get lifting!

You now have a complete template to creating a lean, muscular, toned fit female body. Follow our guidelines regarding nutrition, recuperation and training consistently and you will be amazed at the transformation that you see taking place with your body!


About the author 

Steve Theunissen

Steve is the strength and fitness editor at The Fit Brit. He is a personal trainer, gym owner and ISSA certified sports nutritionist. His writing has appeared in publications such as Carblite, Men's Health and Hardcore Muscle.

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