Beginner Strength Training Workout for Women at Home

Do you want to get started with strength training, but are too busy or feel self-conscious about going to the gym?

Then do your strength workouts at home!

Doing beginner’s strength training workouts at home can be an approachable way for women to begin their fitness journey without needing to deal with the potential anxiety, cost, and inconvenience of going to the gym.

In this article, I will discuss how to structure an effective at-home beginner strength training workout for women, and I will provide step-by-step instructions for some of the best exercises for women just getting started with fitness who want to get a great full-body workout at home.

How to Structure an At-Home Beginner Strength Training Workout for a Woman

The biggest challenge for many women who want to get started with strength training is deciding how to structure an effective workout at home and which exercises to include.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there isn’t necessarily a “right“ or “wrong“ way to structure an at-home workout, nor is there a definitive list of the best beginner exercises for home workouts.

Some of the factors that will largely affect both the exercise selection as well as how you should structure your workout routine are:

  • Your fitness goals
  • Your current fitness level
  • The equipment you have available
  • The amount of time you have to work out

Let’s look at each of these briefly.

Primary Fitness Goal

There can be a number of primary fitness goals.

Perhaps you are looking to lose weight?

Or just improve your overall strength to feel fitter and more capable in everyday life activities?

In any of these cases, your beginner home workouts will likely include a wide range of exercises that target all of the major muscles in the body, honing in specifically on compound exercises that will build functional strength and maximize the number of calories you burn.

You may also want to do strength training workouts at home because you do some sort of cardio exercise such as running, cycling, swimming, or rowing on a regular basis, but you know that it is important to incorporate resistance training workouts into your fitness routine. 

In this case, you might want the particular strength training exercises you choose to be ones that best support your primary activity, help prevent injuries, and correct muscle imbalances.

For example, if you are a competitive runner, you might be interested in strength workouts focusing on hip, glute, and core strength exercises to help prevent lower body injuries from running.

Lastly, you might be just getting started on your fitness routine but really want to focus on strength training.

In this case, you might be looking to build muscle (hypertrophic training) with the thought of potentially getting into bodybuilding or physique competitions down the line or simply to improve your body composition and muscle definition, or you might be interested in increasing muscle strength for powerlifting or CrossFit workouts eventually. 

In either of these cases, the exercises themselves may not differ all that much between one strength training goal or the other (hypertrophy vs. strength training)—at least not initially when you are building foundations in strength training workouts for beginners— but the specific number of sets, reps, and amount of weight or resistance you use will vary.

Fitness Level

You may assume that the fitness level is not a factor that will affect how you structure your workouts or the particular strength training exercises you include in them.

However, some women who want to start working out are indeed complete novices or have been sedentary for quite some time. 

On the other hand, some women who want to start doing beginners strength training workouts at home are fit in other ways (perhaps a well-trained runner or cyclist) or avid gym goer who does some form of cardio exercise but has the desire to start adding resistance training to their fitness routine.

While the exercise selection may be similar in these cases, someone who has a foundation of fitness and is active with other forms of exercise may be able to take on more difficult strength training exercises and longer at-home strength training workouts with more reps and sets.

Available Exercise Equipment

We will delve more specifically into what exercise equipment you need for this beginner’s strength training workout shortly.

However, in the context of factors that will dictate the best at-home strength training exercises for women, certainly, the exercise equipment that you have will play a pivotal role in designing your workouts.

The primary difference between working out at home and at the gym is the availability of exercise equipment.

When you work out at the gym, you have access to nearly any type of resistance training equipment, from weight machines to dumbbells, barbells to kettlebells, and everything in between. 

With at-home workouts, you may have resistance bands, adjustable dumbbells, or a couple of pairs of dumbbells if you have invested in home exercise equipment.

However, you may only have your body weight and household objects to work with.

Thus, there may be some limitations in the resistance training exercises you can do with home and gym workouts.

Workout Time

Lastly, the amount of time you have to train will influence the best way to structure your home workouts.

Although more advanced weight lifters may structure strength training workouts as body parts splits, which means that they will train just certain muscle groups in a given workout, strength training workouts for beginners are generally full body workouts that include at least one or two exercises for all of the major muscles.

If you only have a limited time for each strength training workout, you may only be able to do two sets of a handful of exercises.

As you get stronger and if you have more time, build up to three sets of every exercise and incorporate up to 8 to 12 exercises per workout.

Lastly, if you are short on time, it makes sense to focus on compound movements in your strength training workouts.

These are multi-joint exercises that involve working several muscle groups simultaneously, so they are more efficient.1

If you have more time for longer workouts, you should still primarily focus on compound exercises, but you will have the latitude to add isolation exercises as well to target specific muscle groups.

Regarding how often you should train, you can perform full-body strength training workouts at home two to three times per week and still meet the strength training guidelines for physical activity.2

What Equipment Do I Need for Beginner Strength Training Workouts at Home?

If you are just getting started with strength training, you should be able to get a decent full-body workout with just bodyweight exercises and perhaps the addition of some weeded objects you have around the house to add resistance.

Examples include bottles of water or gallons of milk, bags of dried beans or rice, or heavy books. 

However, if you plan to do all of your strength training workouts at home without the intention of eventually joining a gym, buying a few pieces of home exercise equipment will be a great investment in your fitness and will open up the potential to greatly increase the range of exercises that you can do and the strength and muscle you can build with added resistance.

The three primary options for at-home strength training equipment are:

  • Resistance bands
  • Dumbbells
  • Home gym station

Resistance bands are the most affordable, portable, and storable option. You can get a complete set of five bands of varying resistance along with handles, a door anchor, and small loop bands (often called booty bands) for less than $40. The difficulty with resistance bands is that you cannot easily tell the amount of resistance you are using, and some exercises can feel awkward with resistance bands, particularly if you have limitations as to where you can properly anchor the resistance band. 

I highly recommend the Bodylastics Resistance Band sets.

Adjustable dumbbells are an excellent investment for at-home weight training workouts for women. You can easily progress the resistance you are using as you get stronger, and have a clear way to quantify how much weight you are lifting. They are compact and generally user-friendly. However, they could be expensive. 

For adjustable dumbbells for women, I recommend the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells.

Alternatively, you could buy a couple of pairs of individual dumbbells. However, the more sets you have, the more space the dumbbells will take up, and if you do not have a number of different pairs of dumbbells, you may not have the right weights or a small enough progression in weight when you are ready to bump up to a heavier weight.

A home gym station is a standalone unit that you could use for a variety of strength training exercises. Examples include Tonal and Speediance for smart home gyms, or Bowflex for a more traditional all in one home gym.

You can also buy a full power cage or squat rack with barbells.

Any of these options is more costly, and some take up a fair amount of room. If you are not sure whether you are going to stick with strength training at home, you may want to hold off on one of these purchases until you have developed consistency and excitement about your strength training routine and want to make your home gym more conducive to increasing strength and building muscle.

How Many Reps and Sets Should I Do? How Much Weight Should I Lift?

Start with two sets of 8–12 reps of every strength training exercise, unless another rep range is provided. 

One of the most common mistakes that women, in particular, make when they begin strength training is not using enough weight. Women often fear “bulking up“ or “getting big” by using heavy weights, so they gravitate towards using lighter weights for many reps. 

Although it is possible to build muscle and increase strength with light weights, especially if you are a novice weightlifter, if you are looking to increase the effectiveness of your strength training workouts to actually build muscle, lose body fat, see better muscle definition, and increase strength, you should be lifting heavier weights.3 4

Ideally, you should be using a weight that you can only lift for a maximum of about 12 repetitions with proper form. 

This is sometimes difficult with home strength training workouts if you do not have resistance bands or dumbbells to work with and are only doing bodyweight exercises. When this is the case, doing more reps will be helpful, though it may make sense to buy a set of resistance bands or adjustable dumbbells to support better gains in fitness and strength.

The one caveat here is that when you are just starting out with your first few beginners strength training workouts, using very light weights until you master the proper technique for each exercise is better than lifting too heavy and compromising your form and safety.

Once you feel more confident in your technique with the foundational strength training exercises, you can quickly progress the weight you are lifting to one that is challenging but doable for 8 to 12 repetitions per exercise (unless otherwise noted to be a different goal number of reps).

What Muscles Should I Work In a Beginner Strength Training Workout at Home?

As mentioned, the best beginner strength training workouts for women are full-body workouts, which means that you will want to perform at least one exercise for each of the major muscles in the body.

Here are the major muscle groups that you should be targeting in your workouts:

  • Muscles in the arms: biceps (front of the upper arm), triceps (back of the upper strearm), brachioradialis, and other forearm muscles.
  • Muscles in the shoulders: deltoids and rotator cuff muscles.
  • Muscles in the chest: pectoralis major and minor.
  • Muscles in the back: lats, traps, rhomboids, serratus anterior, posterior deltoid, rotator cuff muscles, levator scapulae, erector spinae, multifidus.
  • Core muscles: abs (the rectus abdominis, which is the “six-pack abs“ muscle that runs down the center of your abdomen; the internal and external obliques, which the muscles on the sides of your abs; and the transversus abdominis, which is a deep core muscle) and low back muscles.
  • Muscles in the legs: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shin muscles, adductors, abductors, and hip rotators.

The At-Home Beginner Strength Training Workout for Women

Here are some of the best exercises to include in a beginner’s strength training workout for a woman at home:

1. Jumping Jacks

Before you start your workout, it is important to do a warm-up, particularly if you have been sitting most of the day or have just woken up. A dynamic warm-up will increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping while increasing the mobility in your joints and connective tissues.

Jumping jacks are a great warm-up exercise and do not require any equipment. It gets all of the major muscles and joints in your body moving.

2. Walking Lunges

Another great dynamic warm-up exercise that strengthens your entire lower body and helps activate all of your muscles before your at-home strength training workouts is the walking lunge or stepping forward lunge

If you have adequate room to walk around your house, you can perform this walking lunge by traveling around the house. If you have limited workout space in your home gym area, you can still perform forward lunges, but you will just step forward and drop down into a lunge and then press back up to the standing position for the next rep.

How to Do Walking Lunges:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
  2. Take a big step forward with your right leg and drop into a lunge by bending each knee 90 degrees. Your back knee should hover just above the ground without touching it, and your front shin should be roughly perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Press through your front foot to bring the left leg forward. Then, drop down into a lunge again with the left foot in front.
  4. Keep walking forward and alternating legs with each rep.  

3. Chair Triceps Dips

Triceps dips work the triceps, which are the muscles in the back of your upper arm, along with the muscles in your chest and shoulders. You can use a regular chair, or the edge of a couch or coffee table for this exercise. Beginners can start with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

As you get stronger, straighten your legs so that only your heels are on the floor. Remember to keep your core tight and aim to have your back and butt as close to the chair or table as possible rather than sprawled out with your body well in front of your hands.

How to Do Triceps Dips:

  1. Sit at the edge of a chair, bench, or coffee table with your hands on either side of your hips holding onto the edge of the chair. 
  2. Straighten your legs out in front of you keeping your heels on the ground. 
  3. Slide your hips off of the chair just in front while keeping your arms straight. This is the starting position.
  4. Lower your body down towards the floor, aiming to make a 90-degree angle with your elbows.
  5. Press through your palms and contract your triceps to press back up to the starting position with your hips just off the front of the chair.

4. Push-Ups

The push-up is a classic upper-body exercise that is perfect for home strength workouts. If you are a beginner or lack sufficient upper body strength, you can start with push-ups from your knees or even up against the wall or desk. As you get stronger, build up to being able to do a full push-up from your feet. 

How to Do Push-Ups:

  1. Get into the standard position for a push-up with your toes on the ground and your hands stacked under your shoulders. Keep your core and glutes engaged throughout the entire exercise so that your hips stay in line with your body from your head to your heels.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor until your elbows are bent to 90 degrees or more, and your chest hovers just above the ground.
  3. Pause for one second.
  4. Press through your palms as you straighten your elbows to lift your body all the way back up to the starting position.

5. Sumo Squats

Any type of squat can be a great exercise to include in a beginner’s body weight strength workout at home because the squat is a foundational movement pattern that you can build upon as you get stronger by incorporating more advanced variations. The squat works all of the major muscles in your lower body as well as your core. 

Sumo squats are an especially beneficial strength training exercise for women because the foot positioning helps target the inner thighs and outer glutes, and hips, which are often “problem areas“ for women looking to improve physique and get a more toned lower body.

Sumo Squat
Sumo Squat

How to Do Sumo Squats:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Externally rotate your hips and point your toes about 45 degrees outward. If you have weights, hold them up at your collarbones with your palms facing forward.
  2. Inhale, sit your hips backward as if reaching your butt back to sit in a chair as you bend your knees to lower down until your knees are bent 90 degrees or more. Make sure your core is engaged, your chest is up, and your back is straight.
  3. Press through your heels while you exhale to stand back up. 

6. Glute Bridges

The glute bridge is a go-to bodyweight exercise for women looking to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings, which are the muscles in the butt and those that run along the back of your thighs, respectively. 

Start with both feet on the ground for the glute bridge, and as you get stronger and develop better hip, glute, and core strength, progress to a single-leg glute bridge by straightening one leg up into the air and pressing through on the one foot on the ground.

How to Do Glute Bridges:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor and your arms crossed over your chest.
  2. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up all the way until they are in a straight line from your knees to your head.
  3. Hold the top position, squeezing your glutes, for 2–3 seconds. 
  4. Slowly lower back down.

7. Plank

Planks are a highly effective core exercise that not only strengthens the superficial ab muscles such as the rectus abdominis, but also deeper core muscles such as the transversus abdominis, erector spinae group, pelvic floor muscles, and multifidus. 

If you are a beginner and you cannot yet do a forearm plank with your feet on the ground, you can drop your knees down as you would with kneeling push-ups to do kneeling planks.


How to Do The Plank:

  1. Get down on all fours with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and forearms on the floor. 
  2. Step both legs back, so that only your forearms and toes are touching the ground. Your feet should be hip-width apart.
  3. Draw your belly button up to your spine and squeeze your glutes. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet. 
  4. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds.

8. Thrusters 

Thrusters are a challenging exercise often used in CrossFit workouts or metabolic conditioning workouts because the dynamic movement incorporates most of the major muscles in your body. Moreover, thrusters can be performed rapidly, increasing your heart rate while simultaneously strengthening your body and burning a lot of calories

Think of this as a power exercise. You want to move swiftly and explosively, maintaining a quick rhythm to boost your heart rate as you strengthen your muscles. 

The thruster basically combines a squat with an overhead press sequenced together into one seamless movement.

Ideally, you would use dumbbells or a resistance band. If you use a resistance band, stand with your feet on the band and hold a handle up at shoulder height on each side of your body. If you do not have access to dumbbells, find a weighted object around your house such as large bags of rice or beans or large bottles of water.


How to Do Thrusters:

  1. Stand upright with good posture, holding dumbbells or weighted objects at shoulder height with your palms facing forward.
  2. Squat down by bending your knees and sitting your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Press through your heels to stand up, simultaneously pressing the dumbbells straight up overhead.
  4. Return the dumbbells to your shoulders as your squat back down for the next rep.

9. Bulgarian Split Squats

Once you progress to advanced strength training workouts for women, you will likely start doing full Bulgarian split squats at the gym with your rear foot elevated up on a weight bench. 

However, when you are working on a beginner strength training workout for women at home, you can start mastering this foundational lower body strength training exercise by using a regular stair or step in your home. If you do not have steps, elevate your back foot on a couple of thick books or a low coffee table. 

Elevating your back foot helps isolate the workload onto your front quadriceps and glutes.5 Additionally, it makes it more difficult to balance, which helps activate your core muscles and smaller stability muscles in your hips and ankles.

How to Do Bulgarian Split Squats:

  1. Stand with the toes of your left foot on the edge of a stair or box facing away with your right foot about three feet forward. 
  2. Hold dumbbells or weighted objects down at your sides.
  3. Bend your knees to drop down into a split squat keeping your back straight and your chest up.
  4. Lower down until the thigh of your front leg is parallel to the ground.
  5. Explode through your front heel to stand back up.
  6. Complete all of 8–12 reps and then switch sides.

10. Alternating Forward and Lateral Raises

You will need either a resistance band or some light dumbbells for this shoulder exercise. If you are using the resistance band, step both feet into the band with your feet shoulder width apart. Make sure to keep good upright posture the entire time with your chest up, shoulders back, and core and glutes engaged.

How to Do Alternating Lateral and Forward Raises:

  1. Stand holding a weight in each hand and your arms down by your sides. 
  2. Lift your arms straight out to the sides so that your body forms a letter T. Keep your elbows straight.
  3. At the top position, your palms should be facing the floor.
  4. Slowly lower your arms back down to your sides.
  5. Then, bring your arms straight up in front of your body until they are parallel to the floor but in front of your chest.
  6. Slowly lower the weights back down.
  7. Continue alternating between forward and lateral raises for 12–15 reps.

11. Side Plank

The side plank is arguably one of the most challenging beginner strength training exercises for women because it requires tremendous core strength and stability in the frontal plane (side-to-side motion). Oftentimes, the internal and external obliques, which are the muscles on the sides of your trunk, are relatively weak and the difficulty here is isometrically contracting these muscles to balance and stabilize your body on a very narrow base of support. 

As with the normal forearm plank, beginners can start with doing the side plank from the knees. As you get stronger, press all the way up so that you are weight-bearing just on your elbow/forearm and the side of your foot.

Side plank
Side Plank

How to Do Side Planks:

  1. Lie on your right side with your legs stacked on top of each other and your right elbow and forearm under your right shoulder.
  2. Push up so that your hips come off the ground. Your legs should be straight and your feet should be stacked one on top of the other. Keep your hips in line with your body and bear weight through your right elbow.
  3. Hold this position for 20-60 seconds.

12. Mountain Climbers

The mountain climber exercise is a great way to add a quick burst of cardio to your home strength training workouts to keep your heart rate elevated and increase your calorie burn, while improving coordination, core strength, glute strength, and shoulder strength. 

Move as quickly as possible, trying to keep your upper body and core stationary and tight as you explosively run your legs up towards your chest in an alternating fashion.

How to Do Mountain Climbers:

  1. Get into a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Pressing your weight into your hands, alternate bending each knee and bringing the leg up under your chest between your arms and then returning it to the starting position. Do not lift your butt up into the air or allow your hips to sag; keep your hips in line with your body. 
  3. Move as fast and hard as you can for 30–60 seconds.

13. Step-Ups

Electromyography studies have found that step-ups are one of the best glute exercises you can do.6

When doing step-ups at the gym, you will likely see women using plyo boxes, which are wooden boxes of varying heights.

You can replicate this exercise at home using just a regular stair or a step. If you do not have a step, you can also step up onto a staple low coffee table or a chair. Just make sure that the surface is stable. The higher the step, the more difficult the exercise will be. 

This is a great strength training exercise to do with dumbbells to add resistance as you get stronger. Here again, if you do not have a set of adjustable dumbbells or a pair of dumbbells you can use, find some weighted objects at home or consider wearing a backpack filled with heavy books or cans of soup to add resistance.

How to Do Step-Ups:

  1. Stand facing a stair or box that can support your weight. Hold dumbbells or weighted objects in your hands with your arms down at your sides. 
  2. Step up with your right foot, pressing through your heel to lift your body up.
  3. Step your left leg up.
  4. Step back down backwards with your right foot first, and then your left foot.m
  5. Continue leading with the right foot 8–15 reps, and then switch sides.

14. Calf Raises

Although most of the best strength training exercises for home workouts involve compound exercises, isolation exercises also have their place. The calf raise works the calf muscles, which are those in the back of your lower legs. 

To perform this exercise at home, use a stair or step to maximize the workable range of motion rather than just standing on the flat floor. The step enables you to add the negative or eccentric portion of the range of motion as you drop your heels down below the level of the step. This increases your time under tension and will help build strength and muscle mass more effectively.7

How to Do Calf Raises:

  1. Place the balls of your feet on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off. Beginners can do both feet and once. Progress to standing on only one leg by hooking the other leg behind the working leg.
  2. Press through the ball of your foot to stand up onto your tiptoes.
  3. Pause and hold the top position for 2 to 3 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower all the way down until your heel has dropped well below the level of the stair and you have a good stretch in your calf muscle. 
  5. Complete as many reps as possible. Hold a weighted object or wear a heavy backpack to add more resistance.

15. Curtsy Lunges

The best beginner strength training workouts for women target some of the particularly weak muscles, including the muscles of the inner thigh and the gluteus medius muscle, which helps stabilize the hips in side-to side-motions.

The curtsy lunge does just that. Plus, it is one of the best bodyweight exercises for women to incorporate in home workouts because you do not need any weights or resistance bands due to the difficult nature of the exercise.

The unilateral curtsy lunge requires tremendous hip strength and core activation, which not only helps improve the strength of smaller stability muscles, but also helps improve your mind-body connection and your proprioception (the awareness of your body in space).

How to Do Curtsey Lunges:

  1. Stand upright with good posture.
  2. Lift your right leg up and cross it behind your left calf as you bend your left knee to drop down into a single-leg squat. Throw your arms forward for a counterbalance.
  3. Tap the right toe behind and to the outside of your left leg.
  4. Press through the left heel to return it to standing, bringing the right leg back in.
  5. Complete 8–12 reps and then switch sides.

16. Y’s, T’s, A, W’s

Strength training workouts for women often neglect some of the smaller postural muscles and upper back muscles including the rotator cuff muscles, posterior deltoids, rhomboids, and upper traps. 

This strength training exercise combo targets all of the different muscle fibers in these muscles without requiring much in the way of external resistance. However, if you have some light dumbbells or water bottles, grab one for each hand as you perform these upper back exercises for women.

How to Do Y’s, T’s, A, W’s:

  1. Lie on your stomach with a small towel rolled under your forehead for comfort. Hold a light weight in each hand.
  2. For the letter I, bring your arms straight up overhead with your elbows fully extended. 
  3. Retract your shoulder blades and squeeze your upper back muscles to lift the weights up and back behind your head, keeping your elbows straight.
  4. Complete 15–20 reps.
  5. For the letter Y, keep your arms straight and move them out to a 45° angle from your head.
  6. Perform the same movement for 15–20 reps.
  7. For the letter T, straighten your arms out to the side so that they are perpendicular to your torso.
  8. Again, squeeze your upper back muscles to lift your arms up from the floor towards the ceiling. Keep the elbows straight.
  9. Complete 15–20 reps.
  10. For letter W, keep your elbows down by your shoulders but raise your hands up and out to the sides to a 45-degree angle.
  11. Perform the same movement for 15–20 reps.

17. Lateral Lunges with Biceps Curls

This compound exercise works most of the muscles of the lower body, including the inner and outer thighs and all of the glute muscles and hip muscles. 

Use a dumbbell for the biceps curl if possible, but if you do not have any weights at home, find a weighted object, such as a large bag of rice, or filled water bottle or milk jug.

How to Do Lateral Lunges with Biceps Curls:

  1. Stand upright with your hands at your sides and a dumbbell or weighted object in your left hand.
  2. Step your right leg out to the side, shifting your weight towards that side as you bend the right knee. Keep your left knee straight. Simultaneously curl the dumbbell in the left hand up toward your collarbone by bending your elbow. Keep the upper arm glued to the side of your torso and just move the lower arm.
  3. Step back to the starting point by contracting your inner thighs while you curl the weight back down.
  4. Complete 8–12 reps and then switch sides.

18. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts

The single-leg Romanian deadlift is a challenging strength training exercise for beginners because it requires a good amount of balance and coordination.

However, when you are trying to structure an effective strength training workout for women at home and have limited exercise equipment, the unilateral nature of this exercise is a fantastic way to isolate the workload onto one side of your body at a time. 

This not only improves functional strength, since many activities such as running, walking, and cycling are unilateral in nature, but it also helps maximize the muscle-building stimulus when you are working with only body weight or light weights. This is because you are bearing all of your body weight onto just one leg rather than both legs at the same time. 

The Romanian deadlift is one of the best posterior chain exercises, which means that it works the muscles such as the erector spinae group in the lower back, the glutes in the butt, the hamstrings in the back of the thigh, and the calf muscles. Because you have to balance on one leg, the single-leg Romanian deadlift variation also challenges the smaller stabilizing muscles in your hips and ankles as well as your core muscles.

How to Do Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, chest up, and arms at your sides. Hold a dumbbell or weighted object in your right hand.
  2. Load the left leg by bending your left knee about 20 degrees to activate your glutes while you lift your right leg off the ground.
  3. Hinge from your hips to tilt your torso towards the floor, keeping your gaze down to prevent hyperextending your neck. As you do this, simultaneously, reach the dumbbell in your right hand down towards your left foot. Extend your right leg behind you as a counterbalance. Your torso should be relatively parallel to the floor.
  4. Contract your glutes to press through the left heel to stand back up.

19. Bird Dog

The bird dog exercise is another great beginner exercise you can do at home, because it requires no equipment and works all of the muscles of your core, along with the glutes, hip rotators, hamstrings, upper back muscles, and shoulders.

It is also a great mobility exercise for the hips and shoulders while improving anti-rotational strength of the core muscles.

How to Do The Bird Dog:

  1. Get in a tabletop position by kneeling on all fours with a flat back with your knees stacked under your hips and your wrists stacked underneath your shoulders.
  2. Engage your core as you lift and extend your right arm forward so that it’s straight in front of you and parallel to the floor and lift your left leg straight back so that it’s also parallel to the floor with your knee straight.
  3. Pull your arm and leg back in but bring them past neutral so that your right elbow and left knee touch together underneath your chest.
  4. Return to the starting position, moving slowly and deliberately.
  5. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg
  6. Continue alternating sides.

20. Supermans

The lower back extensor muscles are often overlooked in strength training workouts for women. Even though these are smaller muscles and may not give you the gains in impressive muscle definition when you flex in the mirror, it is equally important to strengthen your lower back to ensure that your core muscles are all strong and balanced. 

Plus, bodyweight exercises that target notoriously weaker muscle groups is a great way to make effective improvement in functional strength without needing to rely on weights or exercise equipment at the gym.

How to Do Supermans:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead. You can hold a light dumbbell or water bottles in each hand.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and lower back muscles to raise your upper body (with your arms straight), head, and chest along with your lower body so that only your stomach and the top of your hips stay on the ground. 
  3. Hold the top position for 2-3 seconds, squeezing your lower back and butt, and then lower back down.
  4. Perform 8–12 reps.

21. Heel Slides

This is a fun strength training exercise that makes creative use of something you likely have right at home—a kitchen floor or hardwood floor. By adding socks to your feet and taking off your shoes, you can capitalize on the low friction interface between your socks and a slick floor to strengthen your hamstrings without needing dumbbells.

How to Do Heel Slides:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent 90°, shins perpendicular to the floor, and socked heels on a hardwood floor directly underneath your knees.
  2. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up as if performing a glute bridge.
  3. Slowly extend your heels away from your body, straightening out your knees. Beginners can start with just one leg at a time, keeping the other heel planted in the bridge position. As you get stronger, move both heels out and try to extend your legs out as far as possible. Maintain tension in your hamstrings to control the movement.
  4. Use your hamstrings to pull your heels back in towards your butt until they are underneath your knees.

If you are keen to learn more about building muscle for women, check out our article on muscle building for men vs. women here.

I hope you find this beginner strength training workout for women at home useful, and that you try it out or use it as inspiration for your workouts.

For more home workouts, check out the list below:

Also, don’t forget that to keep getting results from your home workouts, you need to continuously try to do more reps or use heavier weights.

By tracking your workouts in our workout log app, you can easily see what you did in the last workout, and try to improve on that.

Download our app StrengthLog for free with the links below:

Download StrengthLog Workout Log on App Store
Download StrengthLog Workout Log on Google Play Store

Thank you for reading!


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  4. Biol Sport. 2016 Sep; 33(3): 257–261. Lighter and heavier initial loads yield similar gains in strength when employing a progressive wave loading scheme.
  5. Strength and Conditioning Journal 39(6):p 93-97, December 2017. Technique, Variation, and Progression of the Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat.
  6. J Sports Sci Med. 2020 Mar; 19(1): 195–203. Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review.
  7. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jan;28(1):245-55. Impact of range of motion during ecologically valid resistance training protocols on muscle size, subcutaneous fat, and strength.
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Amber Sayer

Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.