Full body Workouts for Women
If you spent the rest of your strength training career using nothing but the exercises listed above, you would build a lean and sexy body no questions asked.
You would also build a better body at a faster rate than if you used isolation exercises and machines.
Strength Train With The Proper Intensity
I can't give you a number because everyone's strength levels are different. This is the best way that I can explain it: if you're going to do a set of eight reps, then that last rep should be tough and you should be able to complete one more rep (maybe two) but absolutely no more.
If you do eight reps on a set of squats but you know you could have done 12 or more, that is not intensity. You need to finish your sets knowing you could have done one absolutely no more than two more reps. It is that intensity that will actually challenge your muscles and help you build a lean and fit body.
To lift with even more intensity, you simply train in a lower rep range. Example: sets of five reps. To lift with less intensity, you simply train in a higher rep range. Example: sets of 12 reps. I'll tie all of this together later.
Strength Train With The Proper Splits
The typical gym trainee should only be using one of two training splits: total body workouts (which aren't a split at all) or upper/lower splits in which they train upper body one day and lower body the next.
The typical gym trainee should only be using one of two training splits: total body workouts (which aren't a split at all) or upper/lower splits in which they train upper body one day and lower body the next. These two training splits are the only two the typical gym trainee with ever need.
These splits will allow you to train your muscles with enough frequency. Plus, you will be stimulating a lot of muscle mass each training session so your metabolism with be elevated longer. Furthermore, these two splits will help you build a lean and sexy body much faster than any other split. I'll provide examples later.
Strength Train Wisely
By this statement I am referring to using your time wisely. The only time I recommend doing straight sets (meaning you do all the prescribed sets and reps for one exercise before moving on to the next) is on lower body days.
After a hard set of squats or deadlifts you won't feel like doing anything except resting (or maybe doing some calf raises). In the case of total body workouts or upper/lower splits, you can pair or group exercises together. This will allow you to get more work done in less time; that is always a good thing.
Sample Training Programs
Now that you know the four main principles to strength train properly, let's tie this all together to reveal how your training in the gym should look.
Option 1: Total Body Workout
3 sets of 12 reps (75 seconds rest)3 sets of 12 reps (75 seconds rest) 3 sets of 12 reps (75 seconds rest)
Option 2: Upper/Lower Split
Note: Day three (lower body) and day four (upper body) should consist of different exercises and can be in a different rep range.
The above workouts are to give you an idea of how to spend your training time wisely. The exercises used in the examples are big, compound movements that "give you the biggest bang for your buck." Your training should mimic that setup.
Keep your training simple. Just focus on using the best exercises and train in different rep ranges. Do not spend all of your time training in a high rep range. It will greatly benefit your body if you train in a lower rep range as well.