The first thing women should do when they walk into a gym is to realize that what the men in there are doing is what women should not do.
There is nothing wrong with weight lifting for women. For all of you women out there who think lifting weights will make you huge and bulky, the truth is you just do not have the testosterone to put on that kind of muscle.
You should hit the weights, but not like the men do. Women do not need to hit nearly as many sets and do many of the same exercises as men do.
Women Should Do Circuit Training.
You should do circuit training if you are new to gyms. Most gyms have an area of machines, often Life Fitness brand or Cybex, which you can cycle through usually in the order they are set up to hit all of the major muscles groups. Go through the cycle 3 or 4 times to hit each muscle a few times. Keep the weight moderate. Going heavy could lead to injury and going too light might not yield the results you want. Keep the rep counts between 12 and 15 for each set. Run through this workout 3 days a week.
A schedule like training Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is a solid way to go.
If you have been in the gym for a while or prefer to do free weights, you can split your workouts into upper body days and lower body days. On upper body days, you can do back, shoulders, and arms. Chest is also an option, but many women do not prefer to train their chest.
A simple day of upper body training could consist of basic exercises like wide-grip pull downs, seated cable rows, shoulder pressed, side lateral raises, bicep curls, and tricep extensions. Variations of all of these exercises exist. There are literally dozens upon dozens of exercises to train every muscle group, you just have to experiment and find what works for you and what you’re comfortable with.
Lower body days could consist of squats, leg pressed, lunges, and calf raises. You could also do lying leg curls, leg extensions, and a number of other exercises.
Abs should be done about every other day. No matter what type of routine you’re doing, 3 or 4 ab exercises at the end or beginning of your workout are also suggested.
Then there’s cardio. 20-30 minutes of cardio post workout and even on days you are not lifting weights in also advised.