Workout Routine For Women To Improve Strength & Cardio In 2024

Looking to establish a consistent workout routine for women but unsure about structuring it effectively? Look no further. Our workout program seamlessly blends strength training and cardio exercises, offering women an ideal solution to achieve their fitness goals. Whether you seek enhanced strength, lean muscle development, improved cardiovascular endurance, or overall fitness enhancement, this comprehensive routine is tailored to meet your needs. 

With a dedicated focus on empowering women to embrace the advantages of strength and cardiovascular exercises, each day of our program is meticulously designed to target specific muscle groups and promote heart health. We’ve also included alternate workout options to add variety and excitement whenever you feel the need to switch things up. Take charge of your fitness journey with our expertly crafted program.

Five-Day Workout Routine For Women

Day One: Upper body

The Upper Body workout day targets various muscle groups for a balanced physique. A flat bench press develops chest strength, a wide grip lat pulldown works the lats, while a seated cable row enhances upper back muscles. Lateral raises isolate shoulder delts, overhead press strengthens the shoulders, and bicep curls target the arms. Skull crushers focus on the triceps.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Flat bench press (Use dumbbells or a barbell)4 x 10 to 12
Wide grip lat pulldown4 x 10 to 12
Seated cable row3 x 10 to 12
Lateral raise3 x 12 to 15
Overhead press (Use dumbbells or a barbell)3 x 10 to 12
Bicep curls3 x 10 to 12
Skull crushers3 x 10 to 12

Day Two: Cardio

A Cardio workout day offers numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, increased endurance, and calorie burn for weight management. It enhances lung capacity, reduces the risk of heart disease, and boosts overall energy levels. Additionally, cardio workouts release endorphins, promoting a positive mood and reducing stress. Incorporating variety, like running, cycling, or swimming, can prevent monotony and continually challenge the body, making it a key component of a well-rounded fitness routine.

Steady-state cardio
(This can be outside, on a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike,
stairmaster, or a combination of those)

Day Three: Lower body

A lower body workout day targets key muscle groups like glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Squats build overall leg strength, Romanian deadlifts focus on hamstrings and lower back, while hip thrusts enhance glute development. Walking lunges challenge balance and work the entire lower body. Step-ups engage quads and calves while standing calf raises isolate the calf muscles.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Squats (Use a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell)3 x 10 to 12
Romanian deadlift (Use a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell)3 x 10 to 12
Hip thrust3 x 10 to 12
Walking lunges (Use dumbbells or kettlebells)3 x 12 to 15 per leg
Step-ups (Use a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell)3 x 10 to 12 per leg
Standing calf raises3 x 12 to 15 per leg

Day Four: Cardio

Repeating a Cardio workout day in a workout routine for women offers additional benefits by further enhancing cardiovascular fitness, increasing calorie expenditure, and improving overall endurance. It aids in weight management, promotes heart health, and strengthens lung capacity. Adding an extra session also provides opportunities for variety, preventing plateaus and keeping workouts engaging. By doing so, you continue to boost mood, reduce stress, and maintain consistent progress toward your fitness goals, ensuring a well-rounded and effective exercise regimen.

Steady-state cardio
(This can be outside, on a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike,
stairmaster, or a combination of those)

Day Five: Whole Body 

A Day for Full Body Workouts offers comprehensive benefits, targeting major muscle groups. Squats and Leg Press enhance lower body strength. Incline Bench Presses work the chest, while Lat Pulldowns strengthen the back. Overhead Presses focus on shoulders, and Calf Raises build lower leg muscles.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Squats3 x 10 to 12
Leg press3 x 10 to 12
Incline bench presses3 x 10 to 12
Lat pulldown3 x 10 to 12
Overhead press3 x 10 to 12
Calf raises3 x 12 to 15

Keep in mind during your strength training workouts to use relatively heavy weights. You want to aim for a rep range of 6-12[[1] reps per set. For optimal muscle growth, the weight should be light enough that you can complete 6, but heavy enough that you cannot do more than 12 repetitions. 

Something to keep in mind during your cardio training session is to start at a pace that feels right to you. For many women that means a combination of walking and jogging or running. Start with small intervals such as 2 minutes of walking, or 2 minutes of jogging, then work your way up to higher intervals from there. If you’re choosing another form of cardio, start with about 30 minutes total and work up from there. 

Alternatively, if there’s a week where you want to mix things up or aren’t feeling like sticking to the routine, feel free to replace one of the gym workouts with a yoga class. Yoga is great for promoting strength through bodyweight movements and works on balance and core as well.

Benefits Of Women’s Workout Routine

The main goals of this workout program are to build muscle and improve cardiorespiratory health. Most of the resistance exercises listed below are compound movements, designed to help you hit multiple muscle groups at once for maximum efficiency. Here are some reasons why women should have a workout routine:

Improved Mood And Energy Levels

Exercise is widely recognized and acknowledged for its significant impact on mental health.[2] Engaging in regular physical activity has consistently demonstrated the ability to decrease the likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression.[3] Both cardiovascular and strength training exercises have been extensively researched and proven to enhance energy levels, both in the short term[4] (for a few minutes or hours immediately after the workout) and the long term (resulting in improved energy levels throughout the entire day).

Create A Strong And Toned Body

Benefits Of Women’s Workout Routine
Exercising helps women increase their overall metabolic rate and burn fat. Photo: jcomp/Freepik

Gone are the days of women being afraid of “getting too bulky” by lifting heavy weights. Yes, weight training grows muscles. No, you will not get huge overnight. It can take four to six weeks to start to notice muscle growth,[1] and can even take months for untrained individuals. A positive spin to this though is that strong muscles require more energy to survive. This increases your overall metabolic rate and helps burn fat. When strength training is paired with aerobic training,[5] we can build tone and reduce body fat. 

Improved Sleep

Regular exercise can help improve sleep patterns. Experts agree that as little as 30 minutes of aerobic activity in one day can help you sleep better that night. Having a habitual gym routine has been shown to improve[6] sleep efficiency, and deep sleep, and reduce sleepiness during the day. 

Remember to ask a fitness professional questions about proper form to reduce the risk of injury.

Should Women And Men Train Differently?

It depends! Women and men can train together, making sure to be respectful of each individual’s abilities. Women and men are indeed physiologically different, but anyone can benefit from regular exercise. And ultimately, your training should align with your fitness journey.

For women starting a workout plan, there are specific considerations to keep in mind, such as the menstrual cycle.[7] Hormonal fluctuations throughout the cycle affect energy levels, which can impact workout performance. Tracking your cycle and being mindful of your body’s needs on a given day is valuable.

Additionally, when choosing your workout environment, safety is important. If exercising outdoors, ensure you’re in a secure area with sidewalks and drivers who are attentive to pedestrians. In a gym setting, feeling welcomed and accepted is vital. Constant interruptions from well-meaning but intrusive individuals might dampen your enthusiasm to work out regularly and hinder your progress. Finding the right gym that boosts your motivation is key, as you shouldn’t let avoidable circumstances impede your fitness routine.

Tips For Great Results With Your Fitness Plan

Tips For Great Results With Your Fitness Plan
Having workout buddies can help you stay on track. Photo: freepik/Freepik

Getting into the routine of regular workout sessions can be tough, but many things can help you stay on track.

  • Find a workout buddy to keep you accountable.
  • Go easy on yourself, especially at first! It takes time to build a habit.
  • Buy the right gear. Having shoes and clothes that fit well and look good is important to keep you motivated.
  • Track your progress. By recording your total volume of weights lifted and keeping track of the minutes ran or biked, you will start to see improvement which can be inspiring.
  • Make goals. Making and achieving athletic performance goals is rewarding.
  • Have fun. Making your workouts fun is key to maintaining drive. Find a gym where you feel welcome and supported or a route you think is beautiful.
  • Take rest days! Rest days are incredibly important for our muscle fibers to recover to get the most out of our next workout.  


Establishing a consistent and effective workout routine can be made easy with our comprehensive workout program designed specifically for women. By blending strength training and cardio exercises, we provide an ideal solution to help you achieve your fitness goals. With a focus on empowering women and targeting specific muscle groups, our program promotes strength, lean muscle development, improved cardiovascular endurance, and overall fitness enhancement. We also offer alternate workout options to keep you motivated and add variety to your routine. Take charge of your fitness journey and embrace the benefits of our expertly crafted program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can the workout program help women achieve their fitness goals?

The program combines strength training and cardio exercises to cater to various goals like increased strength, lean muscle development, improved cardiovascular endurance, and overall fitness enhancement.

What considerations should women keep in mind when starting a workout plan?

Women should be mindful of their menstrual cycle and its impact on energy levels. They should also choose a safe and welcoming workout environment that supports their progress.

What are the benefits of regular exercise on mental health?

Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, positively impacting mental health. Both cardio and strength workouts can increase energy levels in the short and long term.

Can women achieve a toned body through strength training?

Yes, strength training helps build muscle and tone the body. Contrary to the misconception of becoming bulky, weightlifting can lead to improved muscle definition and increased metabolic rate.

How does exercise contribute to improved sleep?

Regular exercise, even as little as 30 minutes of aerobic activity, can enhance sleep patterns, efficiency, and quality. Establishing a habitual gym routine has been shown to improve sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness.

How should women approach their strength training workouts?

Women are advised to use relatively heavy weights and aim for a rep range of 6-12 per set. This promotes optimal muscle growth and strength development.

What are some tips for maintaining a successful fitness plan?

Finding a workout buddy for accountability, being patient with yourself during the initial stages, investing in the appropriate gear, tracking progress, setting goals, and making workouts enjoyable are all helpful in staying on track.

Why are rest days important in a workout routine?

Rest days are crucial for muscle recovery and optimal performance. Allowing muscle fibers to rest and repair after intense workouts helps prevent injuries and maximize the benefits of subsequent workouts.


  1. Schöenfeld, B.J. (2010). The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, [online] 24(10), pp.2857–2872. doi:
  2. Hillman, C.H., Erickson, K.I. and Kramer, A.F. (2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, [online] 9(1), pp.58–65. doi:
  3. Aurélio, M. and Laura Helena Andrade (2005). PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MENTAL HEALTH: THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN EXERCISE AND MOOD. Clinics, [online] 60(1), pp.61–70. doi:
  4. Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior. (2013). The effect of a single bout of exercise on energy and fatigue states: a systematic review and meta-analysis. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Nov. 2023].
  5. Willis, L.H., Slentz, C.A., Bateman, L.A., A. Tamlyn Shields, Piner, L.W., Bales, C.W., Houmard, J.A. and Kraus, W.E. (2012). Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. Journal of Applied Physiology, [online] 113(12), pp.1831–1837. doi:
  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. [online] Available at:
  7. Mikaeli Anne Carmichael, Thomson, R.L., Moran, L.J. and Wycherley, T.P. (2021). The Impact of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Athletes’ Performance: A Narrative Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 18(4), pp.1667–1667. doi: