For my FAQ: How do I start lifting?
First of all, men and women can do the same workouts perfectly fine (if you are worried about getting bulky, read the next question). If you want results from lifting, you should be lifting heavy (=challenging).
Using the machines at the gym can be good enough, especially for beginners, but in the long run you should strive towards learning free-weight, mainly compound movements (deadlifts, squats etc). Remember to learn the correct form before you start adding too much weight. If you need inspiration or instructions for exercises, see above.
If you feel intimidated by the weights room at the gym, read my post How to be more confident in the gym.
For a beginner, it’s best to do a full body workout every time (one exercise for each body part), or a split between lower and upper body.
- 1-5 reps for strength (1-10sets)
- 8-12 reps for hypertrophy (building muscle) (3-4 sets)
- 15+ reps for endurance and low-mid intensity cardio (8-12 reps builds endurance just as well)
Use weights you find challenging, while still being able to perform the exercise with proper form.
Remember rest days are as important as workout days, especially when you are starting out, because you will get very sore at first. Tag: ‘Rest’.
Being sore after a workout doesn’t necessarily mean it was a good workout - No pain no gain is a lie. Tag: ‘DOMS'
If you want to gain muscle, you also need to be eating right; adequate protein intake + good fats, carbs for energy, and a calorie surplus.
Bonus tip: Don’t go for workouts in the typical magazines for women only (like this). They are not effective (in 9 out of 10 cases) - you have to challenge yourself.
Helpful post: How to make a strength training plan (and keep at it), How to be more confident in the gym
Tag: ‘Lifting Beginner’, ‘Lifting Benefits’, ‘DOMS’