5 Bodybuilding Moves for Women

Women don’t need to be afraid of lifting weights. In fact, women that lift weights are often lean, mean, fat-burning machines! The more muscle your body holds the more fat you burn. Even if you spend hours of intensive training and dieting you won’t get bulky and big. To the contrary, you’ll notice yourself losing inches and fat, having increased energy, and an overall feeling of well-being. Paired with a nutritious diet (sorry ladies, it’s 80 percent diet), women who lift weights can see results in a few weeks to two months. Not to mention, weightlifting is fun, challenging, and there’s so many variations you’ll never be bored. I’ll raise a dumbbell to that!

“You’ll get nice and lean and strong. You’re not going to look big and bulky, but the muscle you have, the more calories you’re going to burn. So even after you leave the gym, you’re still burning calories, muscle burns fat,” said Jaclyn White, the Healthy Lifestyles Director at Windward YMCA in Kailua.


Lifting weights helps women burn fat and have increased energy. 

I recently caught up with Jaclyn, who’s also an all-natural female figure competitor.  I wanted to know her recommendations for the best five moves for women looking to get into lifting. These were tested and approved and I’ll tell you, they’ll keep you motivated and help you get strong. I was challenged off the bat, and relieved to know they were all able to be modified (I have a trick knee). My new goal for 2016 is to wean myself off the pull up assist to do a legit pull up before the end of the year!

Here are the 5 moves:

1.) Barbell step-ups (targets lower body, especially glutes)
2.) Front squats with elevated heels (targets lower body; elevated heels puts more emphasis on quads) 
3.) One arm shoulder press (primarily targets deltoids)
4.) BOSU ab circuit (targets all three abdominal regions)
a. Upper ab crunches with elevated feet
b. Obliques with a twist
c. Lower ab pull-in and jack-knife
5.) Pull-ups (primarily targets back muscles including lats and biceps)   

*All moves also recruit the abs to work as well!

Jaclyn says you can aim for three sets, with ten on each side if you’re looking to build muscle. To maintain muscles, aim for 15 on each side. Active women can do these moves three to four times per week. If you’re completely sedentary, start with two to three times with lighter weights and you can increase as you’re ready. 

Here’s a video of the great moves she taught me. Like any fitness program, make sure your doctor gives you the go ahead before you begin a routine. And never push yourself to do anything your body isn’t comfortable with. All exercise can be adapted to your fitness level. 

What do you think? Are you inspired to try these moves or do you have a favorite move? Share it with us below or comment on our Facebook page. 

You can find more information on about membership and programs at the YMCA here.