How to Start Bodybuilding for Females – Guide for Beginners

Woman bodybuilder curling free weights in gym

Female bodybuilding has exploded in popularity in the last few decades. If you have dreams of stepping on the female bodybuilding stage, stop wondering how to start bodybuilding for females, and get started today.

Are you a woman who lifts regularly, but you want to take your results to the next level? Have you been considering entering the world of female bodybuilding, but you’re not sure where to begin? How to start bodybuilding for females requires three things: a great workout routine, an equally impressive diet, and complete dedication.

To start female bodybuilding, you need to commit yourself to the sport and this means planning and tracking your progress. Let’s take a closer look at what’s required to be successful as a female bodybuilder. We’ll also include a complete eight-week workout program that will get you closer to the results you’ve been dreaming of.

How to Start Bodybuilding for Women

It can be easy to think that you need to invest a lot of money in the latest workout gear and an ultra-modern gym membership to get started with female bodybuilding, but that’s not the case. Access to a range of dumbbells is enough to get you on your way, but a basic gym membership would be ideal because you’ll be able to mix up your workouts.

Before you start pushing the plates, there are a few things you need to do first in order to have a smooth road to accomplishing your female bodybuilding goals.

What is Required to Achieve Success as A Female Bodybuilder?

It’s easy to say that all female bodybuilder need dedication, but what exactly do you need to be dedicated to? Here are the most important things that you’ll need to stick to if you want to see size, strength, and results.

Set Your Goals and Stick to Them

Setting your goals is the first thing you need to do before you jump into a female bodybuilding program. You can’t plan your workouts or diet if you don’t know what you want your body to look like in three, six, and twelve months.

Studies show goal setting results in a higher rate of success. How to start bodybuilding for women requires setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal, which is an acronym for the following:

Specific: Don’t say you want to build muscle. Say exactly how many pounds of muscle you want to gain. Don’t say you want to get shredded. Define precisely how many pounds of fat you want to lose. Write down your female bodybuilding goals and be specific as possible; the more you write, the more attached you are to the goal, and the better.

Measurable: Having a set way to measure progress is important. How else will you know if you’re any closer to your goals? A weight scale is a good start, but we recommend investing in a measuring tape to monitor the size of your muscles. If you want to precisely measure how much fat you’ve lost, a bioelectrical impedance device is an affordable and accurate option.

Attainable: Can you realistically achieve your goal? This is what you need to ask yourself when defining what you want to achieve. Is gaining twenty-five pounds of muscle in one month truly attainable? Is going for your pro card during your first year of training realistic? Push yourself outside of your boundaries, but keep your feet on the ground.

Relevant: Why is this goal important to you? Why is it relevant to your life? Defining the “why” factor of your female bodybuilding goals can help cement your dedication to them. This will go hand-in-hand with being specific about what you want to accomplish.

Time-Sensitive: Finally, give yourself a realistic deadline. Having a set date to accomplish your goal is important to stay motivated. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up if you are one pound short of your goal and time has run out. Reset the deadline and work harder.

The most important thing to remember about your goals is that they can change, they can always be updated, and they are always evolving. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated if your long-term goal changes. More often than not, this means you are progressing ahead of schedule, which is cause for celebration. Just don’t do anything that will throw you off your diet!

Go to the Gym Regularly and Stick to the Base Exercises

With your goals clearly defined, the gym needs to become like a second home; that is, you shouldn’t dread going. You can expect workouts to last at least an hour, although most female bodybuilders talk about two hours being the norm.

How many days you’re in the gym depends on your experience, workout schedule, and availability. With a beginner gym workout, female bodybuilders should aim for at least three days of intense workouts. To see elite results, four days is going to be ideal. When you reach an advanced level as a female bodybuilder, don’t be surprised if you’re in the gym for five or six days per week.

Mix of Weight Training and Cardio Exercises Will Bring the Best Results

Weight training is a given in bodybuilding for women beginners. The type of weight training exercises you’ll use will focus on the tried-and-true classics of bodybuilding such as barbell squats and deadlifts. What you may not realize is that cardiovascular training is equally as important. Cardiovascular exercises improve target heart rate and VO2 max, but they also support fat burning and help you attain that lean and cut look.

 

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Right Diet is Essential

Training is only half the equation. Studies show that having a proper nutrition program isn’t an option, it’s a requirement if you want to avoid overtraining symptoms and see incredible results. We recommend chatting with a nutritionist who specializes in creating meal plans for female bodybuilders.

To give you a heads up of what to expect, the average bodybuilding diet is based on high-protein options such as chicken, beef, and low-fat dairy. Complex carbohydrates will be eaten throughout the day with the exception being before and after a workout. Don’t forget about healthy fats; foods like salmon and coconut oil are essential for recovery and hormone health.

Consider Using Natural Female Bodybuilding Supplements

Another must-have protein option is whey protein, a convenient supplement that can help you meet your day’s requirement for the muscle-building macro. Supplements are so widely available and cost-effective, and there are plenty of natural options that can support your female bodybuilding goals.

Since you’re just starting out with female bodybuilding, you’ll want supplements that boost strength and muscle building. We recommend Anvarol, which has been compared to Anavar without the side effects. Once you’ve built up the desired amount of muscle mass, you’ll naturally want to start cutting and getting lean. We recommend our cutting stack, which features Clenbutrol and Winsol, two supplements with proven fat-burning ingredients. You’ll also get a bottle of Anvarol and a comprehensive guide to getting cut.

Hire a Trainer to Ensure Results

Girl working out with personal trainer in gym

If you’ve never worked with a trainer before, you may be hesitant to want to spend the money on one. But look at it this way: Time equals money and results. What could take you months to figure out on your own could be yours if you hire a trainer who has experience with female bodybuilding. Hiring a personal trainer is a literal shortcut to progress.

What’s more, studies show that personal trainers can change your attitude and improve your adherence to a bodybuilding program. Trainers also provide real-time feedback to

Fundamental Workouts for Beginner Female Bodybuilders

Bodybuilding for women beginners should focus on full-body workouts that eventually progress to an intermediate-level split body workout of upper vs. lower. In this way, you’ll learn the fundamentals of bodybuilding and classic exercises before taking on more challenging routines.

8 Weeks Female Bodybuilding Workout Plan for Beginners

Here’s eight weeks’ worth of a female bodybuilding workout plan for beginners that is based on full-body exercises. You’ll have three workouts per week to perform with an optional fourth workout if you feel up for it. Don’t force yourself to do the fourth workout if you’re sore or fatigued. Use that as a rest day instead.

Most importantly, one rule to keep in mind: If the prescribed repetitions decrease, the weight you use needs to increase, and vice versa. Aim for an increase of two to five pounds.

Week One:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 10 – 12
· Lying Leg Curl: 3 x 12 – 15
· Lat Pulldown: 3 x 10 – 12
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 15 – 20
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 3 x 10 – 12
· Barbell Bench Press: 3 x 12 – 15
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 x 10 – 12
· Cable Woodchopper: 3 x 15 – 20
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C:
· Barbell Deadlifts: 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 3 x 10 – 12
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 12 – 15
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 3 x 10 – 12
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 15 – 20
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (optional)
· Leg Press: 2 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 2 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 2 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 2 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Week Two:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 8 – 10
· Lying Leg Curl: 3 x 10 – 12
· Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 – 10
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 12 –15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 3 x 8 – 10
· Barbell Bench Press: 3 x 10 – 12
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 x 8 – 10
· Cable Woodchopper: 3 x 12 –15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C:
· Barbell Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 3 x 8 – 10
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 10 – 12
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 3 x 8 – 10
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 12 –15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (optional)
· Leg Press: 2 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 2 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 2 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 2 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Week Three:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 6 – 8
· Lying Leg Curl: 3 x 8 – 10
· Lat Pulldown: 3 x 6 – 8
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 10 –12
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 3 x 6 – 8
· Barbell Bench Press: 3 x 8 – 10
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 x 6 – 8
· Cable Woodchopper: 3 x 10 –12
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C:
· Barbell Deadlifts: 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 3 x 6 – 8
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 8 – 10
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 3 x 6 – 8
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 10 –12
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (optional)
· Leg Press: 2 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 2 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 2 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 2 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Week Four:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 3 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 3 – 6
· Lying Leg Curl: 3 x 6 – 8
· Lat Pulldown: 3 x 3 – 6
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 8 – 10
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 3 x 3 – 6
· Barbell Bench Press: 3 x 6 – 8
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 x 3 – 6
· Cable Woodchopper: 3 x 8 – 10
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C:
· Barbell Deadlifts: 3 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 3 x 3 – 6
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 6 – 8
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 3 x 3 – 6
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 8 – 10
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (optional)
· Leg Press: 2 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 2 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 2 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 2 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Week Five:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 x 10 – 12
· Lying Leg Curl: 4 x 12 – 15
· Lat Pulldown: 4 x 10 – 12
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 15 – 20
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 4 x 10 – 12
· Barbell Bench Press: 3 x 12 – 15
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 x 10 – 12
· Cable Woodchopper: 3 x 15 – 20
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C:
· Barbell Deadlifts: 4 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 4 x 10 – 12
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 4 x 12 – 15
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 4 x 10 – 12
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 15 – 20
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (optional)
· Leg Press: 3 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 3 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 3 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 3 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Week Six:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 x 8 – 10
· Lying Leg Curl: 4 x 10 – 12
· Lat Pulldown: 4 x 8 – 10
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 12 –15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 4 x 8 – 10
· Barbell Bench Press: 4 x 10 – 12
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 4 x 8 – 10
· Cable Woodchopper: 4 x 12 –15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C:
· Barbell Deadlifts: 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 4 x 8 – 10
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 10 – 12
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 4 x 8 – 10
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 12 –15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (optional)
· Leg Press: 3 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 3 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 3 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 3 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Week Seven:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 x 6 – 8
· Lying Leg Curl: 4 x 8 – 10
· Lat Pulldown: 4 x 6 – 8
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 10 –12
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 4 x 6 – 8
· Barbell Bench Press: 4 x 8 – 10
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 4 x 6 – 8
· Cable Woodchopper: 4 x 10 –12
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C:
· Barbell Deadlifts: 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 4 x 6 – 8
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 4 x 8 – 10
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 4 x 6 – 8
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 10 –12
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (optional)
· Leg Press: 3 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 3 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 3 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 3 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Week Eight:

Workout A:
· Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
· Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 x 3 – 6
· Lying Leg Curl: 4 x 6 – 8
· Lat Pulldown: 4 x 3 – 6
· Cable Crunch: 4 x 8 – 10
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout B:
· Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
· Dumbbell Side Lunges: 4 x 3 – 6
· Barbell Bench Press: 3 x 6 – 8
· Dumbbell Step-Ups: 4 x 3 – 6
· Cable Woodchopper: 4 x 8 – 10
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout C
· Barbell Deadlifts: 4 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions
· Dumbbell Flies: 4 x 3 – 6
· Dumbbell Elevated Bulgarian Split Squat: 4 x 6 – 8
· Barbell T-Bar Row: 4 x 3 – 6
· Weighted Back Extensions: 4 x 8 – 10
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Workout D: (required)
· Leg Press: 2 x 12 – 15
· Seated Leg Curl: 2 x 12 – 15
· Cable Crossover: 2 x 12 – 15
· Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2 x 12 – 15
· Weighted Russian Twists: 2 x 12 – 15
· 15 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair stepper, jogging, spinning, etc.)

Bodybuilding for Women: Stay Dedicated to Stay Strong

You can have the perfect workout and diet program, but it means nothing without dedication. You need to be consistent to achieve results, which means scheduled workouts – a mix of weight training and cardiovascular exercise – are a necessity to build muscle. Diet is equally as important, but your nutritional choices are there to support muscle growth and recovery. A diet is nothing without the proper workout.

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