4 Week Gym Workout Plan

For one reason or another, a lot of women find themselves concerned about lifting weights. This can be especially true of beginners to fitness training. Whether they believe they will unintentionally bulk up (extremely unlikely), or simply find the process too daunting or intimidating, far too many women steer clear of strength training.

This can be problematic because strength training is one of the best ways to burn fat, build strong bone, and maintain a strong and healthy body overall.

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Weight training with dumbbells

Weight training; one of the best ways to get toned and burn fat

Getting Over Gym Anxiety

Perhaps one thing holding you back from hitting the gym is feeling like you do not fit in there. While it’s true, the weight lifting zone can often feel a little one-note in terms of who is in attendance, it is extremely important to understand that weight lifting is for everyone. Women. Beginners. Everyone.

If you feel like you're not the right body type or personality type to join the weightlifters, it can be difficult to work up the nerve to dive into a weightlifting routine. Just remember, everyone in there was once nowhere near as strong or well-versed in weight training as they are now, and, just like with anything, a little practice goes a long way.

So, we are here to help you with a routine that is simple to follow and sets you up for success in the gym. Perhaps best of all, this routine should easily fit into your weekly schedule.

Have A Plan

Having a plan of what you’ll do ahead of time can eliminate gym anxiety. You already know what you’re going to do, so there’s no standing around feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing.

On top of that, there’s the added bonus of accountability that comes with having your workout pre-planned: you’re more likely to see it through to completion. And finally, if you’ve got your workout ready to go, and you’re busy getting it done and sweating, you aren’t focusing on what anyone else is doing. There’s no need to compare what you’re doing to what anyone else is doing.

Get in the gym, get your workout in, and move on. Do this a few, or even just one time, and you’ll say goodbye to gym anxiety.

Let’s talk about the workout…

This workout routine is designed for women who are beginners to fitness training to increase strength and tone.

You should be able to easily find the equipment listed at any fitness center. If not, substitutions can easily be made. You can add this workout to an existing cardio routine in order to get better results. If done consistently, you will see gains in strength in just a couple of weeks. From there, you’ll be able to tailor your schedule and routine for maintenance or continuing strength gains.

You’ll be using all the major muscle groups in this routine. We try to make the workout efficient and effective by targeting bigger muscle groups as well as zoning in on smaller ones that can use the extra attention. You can get the entire workout done in roughly 30 minutes meaning you don’t need to commit a large part of your daily schedule.

The best part? This workout is effective for several goals you may have. If you want to lose weight, burn fat, gain strength, increase tone, or some combination of these things, you can accomplish these goals here.

Weight training at gym with fly machine

Have confidence

One final note before we get down to the nitty gritty...

Believe in yourself! We are giving you the tools you need to take the plunge into a workout routine that will help you reach all your goals. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing at the gym. You aren’t there for them. You are there for you.

Gym Weight Training Workout Plan

Each body section begins with a pyramid targeting a certain muscle group before supersetting opposing muscle groups.

A pyramid basically just means upping your weight and lowering your rep count for each subsequent set.

For example: you might start with 100 pounds of weight and 15 reps, then up to 120 pounds at 12 reps, and finally, up your weight to 145 pounds at 8 reps.

Supersetting simply refers to performing two separate exercises back to back to back, because they work different muscle groups and therefore require no rest in between. This maximizes your workout in a shorter amount of time.

Keep in mind that the amount of weight you use is going to be completely personalized to your strength level and how you’re feeling any given day.

Chest & Triceps

Pyramid 1

Dumbbell Chest Press

3 sets of 10-15 reps

  • Using hand-held dumbbells, lay back on a workout bench and hold weights over your chest. With wrists facing toward your feet, lower weights down toward your armpits, pressing your elbows toward the floor. Press the weights back up and together over your chest.

Pyramid 2

Incline Bench Press

3 sets of 8-12 reps

  • Find the incline bench press and apply appropriate weight plates. Starting with the barbell at your chest, press up and outward, raising the barbell over shoulder height and out away from your chest. Lower the weight back toward your chest before repeating.

Pyramid 3

Tricep Pushdowns (cable)

3 sets of 8-12 reps

  • Using the cable tree, attach the appropriate handle and apply appropriate weight plates. Starting with the handle at chest height, tuck your elbows in toward your ribs and push the handle down until your arms are fully extended. Slowly allow handle back up to your chest before repeating.

Superset 1

1. Standard Bench Press

12 presses

Using a flat bench press station, lift barbell directly above your chest with arms fully extended. Lower the barbell toward your chest before pressing upward again. Ensure that your grip is safe and comfortable by spacing your hands shoulder or more distance apart and rolling wrists slightly forward.

2. Overhead Tricep Extension

12 reps

  • Using either a single dumbbell or kettlebell, hold your weight behind your head. Ensure that your elbows are tucked in close to your head before pressing the weight up over your head and lowering back to starting position.

Superset 2

1. Tricep Pushup

12 reps

  • Start in a standard pushup position but with hands only shoulder distance apart. When pressing down toward the floor, aim your elbows straight backward so that they brush against your ribs. Press upward in the same fashion.

2. Chest Fly

12 reps

  • Using two dumbbells, lay your back across a bench and hold your weights directly extended over your chest. Slowly part your hands and lower the weights toward the floor. Bring the weights back together over your chest to complete the move.

Legs & Abs

Pyramid 1

Leg Press (machine)

4 sets of 12-20 reps

  • Position your body to fit in the leg press machine so that your knees are at 90 or slightly fewer degrees of bend and your feet are spaced about hip distance apart. Press the weight outward or upward depending on the machine. Between each rep, come back to the 90 degree knee bend.

Pyramid 2

Lateral Lunge

3 sets of 12-20 reps

  • While holding dumbbells either down at your sides or up near your shoulders, lunge sideways so that your lunging leg bends straight forward and your other leg is fully extended. Come back to standing and repeat on the other side.

Pyramid 3

Crunch Cable

3 sets of 12-20 reps

  • At the cable tree, select an appropriate hand grip and weight. While kneeling on both knees, grip the handle to your chest and bend downward while crunching.

Superset 1

1. Assisted lunge 12 each side

  • Hold one or two weights either at your chest or sides. Place the top of one foot on a bench behind you. Lunge down on one leg while keeping your opposite foot rested on the bench.

2. Glute Kickback Machine

12 reps on each leg

  • Position your body in the glute kickback machine so that one foot is planted firmly on the ground and the other is able to press backward against the weight. Keeping a slight bend in both knees, press the weight back and up.

Superset 2

1. Toe Touch Crunch

12 reps

  • With or without a handheld weight, lay back on a mat and raise your feet straight up toward the ceiling. Crunch your hands or weight upward toward your toes.

2. Dumbbell Glute Bridge

12 reps

  • Laying on your back with feet positioned below your knees, you can use one or no weights laying across your hips. Press your hips up toward the ceiling while squeezing your glutes and hamstrings.

Back & Shoulders

Pyramid 1

Lat Pulldowns

4 sets of 12-20 reps

  • Position your body on the lat pulldown machine so that your feet are firmly placed on the floor. Using a wide grip on the handles or bar, pull the weight toward your chest before slowly allowing the weight to return upward.

Pyramid 2

Bent Over Rows

3 sets of 12-20 reps

  • Using a set of dumbbells, stand with feet hip distance, a slight bend in the knees, and hinge forward at the hip. Hold your weights near your knees, keep your chest lifted, and pull your weights up toward your armpits. Squeeze your elbows together behind your back.

Pyramid 3

Shoulder Shrugs

3 sets of 12-20 reps

  • Stand with dumbbells held down by your sides. Keep your back straight and shrug your shoulders up as high as you can. With each shrug, finish by rolling your shoulders forward or backward before releasing, alternating each time.

Superset 1

1. Upright Rows

12 reps

  • Using dumbbells or a kettlebell, stand with your weight in hand at your stomach and wrists facing inward. Raise the weight up toward your chin by bending your wrists and elbows. (Imagine a classic ho-down move)

2. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

10 reps

  • Select a preset barbell weight. Hold the weight at your chest with wrists facing outward. Press the barbell up over your head and slightly in front of you. You should be able to see the barbell the whole time.

Superset 2

1. Bicep Curls

12 reps

  • Using a set of dumbbells, stand or sit with your back straight and weights held down by your sides. Curl the weights up toward your shoulders by bending at the elbow.

2. Lateral Raise to Ventral Raise

8 - 10 reps

  • Holding a set of dumbbells at your sides, first, raise them straight out to the sides stopping at shoulder height. Lower the weights back to starting position before raising them straight out in front of you, stopping at shoulder height.

4-Week Workout Plan

With a 4-week workout plan, the goal is to increase the weight you can lift while simultaneously increasing your endurance. The pyramids and the supersets are designed to help you accomplish these goals. Here is a general plan for how to perform this workout over the course of a 4 week period.

Chest & Triceps

Pyramids

  1. Dumbbell Chest Press - 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  2. Incline Bench Press - 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  3. Tricep Pushdowns (cable) - 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Superset 1

  1. Standard Bench Press - 12 presses
  2. Overhead Tricep Extension - 12 reps

Superset 2

  1. Tricep Pushup - 12 reps
  2. Chest Fly - 12 reps

Legs & Abs

Pyramids

  1. Leg Press (machine) - 4 sets of 12-20 reps
  2. Lateral Lunge - 3 sets of 12-20 reps
  3. Crunch Cable - 3 sets of 12-20 reps

Superset 1

  1. Assisted lunge - 12 each side
  2. Glute Kickback Machine - 12 reps on each leg

Superset 2

  1. Toe Touch Crunch - 12 reps
  2. Bridge Press-ups

Back & Shoulders

Pyramids

  1. Lat Pulldowns - 4 sets of 12-20 reps
  2. Bent Over Rows - 3 sets of 12-20 reps
  3. Shoulder Shrugs - 3 sets of 12-20 reps

Superset 1

  1. Upright Rows
  2. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

Superset 2

  1. Bicep Curls - 12 reps
  2. Lateral Raise to Ventral Raise - 8 - 10 reps

Week 1

Perform the entire routine twice separated by at least 2 days of rest or light other forms of exercise. Use about 60-70% of your max lifting abilities for each exercise and pyramid appropriately during the pyramid sections.

What this will look like:

Monday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of each body segment to fully warm up and begin working your muscle groups.

Go back through each body segment and perform Superset 1 and 2 consecutively for each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Tuesday: Rest day. Try steady state cardio like walking or light jogging for about 30-45 min.

Wednesday: Recovery and stretch day. Focus some time and attention on stretching any sore muscles and walking to loosen any stiffness.

Thursday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of each body segment to fully warm up and begin working your muscle groups.

Go back through each body segment and perform Superset 1 and 2 consecutively for each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Friday: Rest day. Walking or light jogging recommended for recovery and calorie burn.

Saturday: Try a yoga class or similar stretching and toning style workout.

Sunday: Full rest. No more than some walking if desired.

Week 2

Perform the entire routine twice separated by at least 2 days of rest or light other forms of exercise. Use about 75-80% of your max lifting abilities for each exercise and pyramid appropriately during the pyramid sections.

What this will look like:

Monday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of each body segment to fully warm up and begin working your muscle groups.

Go back through each body segment and perform Superset 1 and 2 consecutively for each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Tuesday: Rest day. Try steady state cardio like walking or light jogging for about 30-45 min.

Wednesday: Recovery and stretch day. Focus some time and attention on stretching any sore muscles and walking to loosen any stiffness.

Thursday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of each body segment to fully warm up and begin working your muscle groups.

Go back through each body segment and perform Superset 1 and 2 consecutively for each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Friday: Rest day. Walking or light jogging recommended for recovery and calorie burn.

Saturday: Try a yoga class or similar stretching and toning style workout.

Sunday: Full rest. No more than some walking if desired.

Week 3

Split the routine into 3 separate workouts: 1 day on chest and triceps, 1 day on legs and abs, 1 day on back and shoulders. Perform each section 2 times through at 70-80% of your max lifting abilities.

What this will look like:

Monday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of the Chest & Triceps section 2 times through.

Then complete the Supersets for Chest and Triceps 2 times each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Tuesday: Rest day. Walking or light jogging recommended for recovery and calorie burn.

Wednesday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of the Legs & Abs section 2 times through each.

Then complete the Supersets for both the Legs section and the Abs section. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Thursday: Rest day. Walking or light jogging recommended for recovery and calorie burn.

Friday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of the Back & Shoulders section 2 times through.

Then complete the Supersets for Back & Shoulders 2 times each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Saturday: Try a yoga class or similar stretching and toning style workout.

Sunday: Full rest. No more than some walking if desired.

Week 4

Split the routine into 3 separate workouts: 1 day on chest and triceps, 1 day on legs and abs, 1 day on back and shoulders. Perform each section 2 times through at 75-85% of your max lifting abilities.

What this will look like:

Monday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of the Chest & Triceps section 2 times through.

Then complete the Supersets for Chest & Triceps 2 times each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Tuesday: Rest day. Walking or light jogging recommended for recovery and calorie burn.

Wednesday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of the Legs & Abs section 2 times through each.

Then complete the Supersets for both the legs section and the abs section. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Thursday: Rest day. Walking or light jogging recommended for recovery and calorie burn.

Friday: Begin your workout with a light warm up. Complete the Pyramid section of the Back & Shoulders section 2 times through.

Then complete the Supersets for Back & Shoulders 2 times each. Cool down and stretch afterward.

Saturday: Try a yoga class or similar stretching and toning style workout.

Sunday: Full rest. No more than some walking if desired.