Strength training for women: Our Plan is Part of Your Normal Life

Strength training or weight lifting can be intimidating for women, especially for beginners! Many women have never picked up a dumbbell or ventured into the weights section of the gym – often because of old, completely inaccurate ideas that it’s not the “right” sort of training for women, that it’s dangerous for our joints to lift heavy weights or that it will make you look “bulky”.

Our team is passionate about the incredible impact that strength training offers to women. Whether you’re looking to achieve fat loss, build strength, grow lean muscle or simply feel fitter and more capable in your daily life activities, then incorporating resistance training into your fitness routine is an absolute must.


Want a “toned” or “lean” body? Strength training is the way to achieve results

Many of our female clients arrive at the gym wanting to “tone up”, saying that after months (or even years) of sweating their way through cardio workouts and HIIT classes, they still haven’t obtained the results they want. This is where we introduce them to the idea of strength training to build muscle mass and strength.

To achieve this toned aesthetic, there are two basic steps: strengthening your muscles and losing the body fat covering them. The result is that you build more lean muscle and your muscles become more visible and defined.

A common mistake for women with these goals is do loads of cardio exercise. While this will help you to achieve a calorie deficit and therefore lose weight, it will not guarantee that this weight loss comes from fat, and it will not build muscle. Therefore, you might find yourself with a smaller body, but not a lean one. Lifting weights is all about shaping your body and creating strength.

But wait… Won’t lifting weights make me look bulky?!

No! Please don’t let this old myth bother you. Building a significant amount of muscle takes a lot of hard work and time! Adding weights into your fitness routine will not see you suddenly develop huge amounts of muscle. It takes time, commitment and a well-designed training programme that includes progressive overload and an effective nutrition plan.

While it’s certainly possible to add mass and grow your body through weights, that’s just one outcome. With proper programming, you can use weight training to simply shape your body and create a toned, lean look.

Thanks to hormonal differences between men and women, it’s much more difficult for women to get “bulky” when strength training. Men have between 240-950 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood, whereas women only have between 8-60. Since testosterone is a key driver of muscle strength, logic follows that men will find it relatively easier to pack on muscle mass. So, instead of worrying about putting on unwanted mass, focus on the fact that lifting heavy weights will help to strengthen your bones and give you increased muscle definition.

Finally, to build a really serious amount of muscle, you also need to eat a serious amount of food! Bulking up in a noticeable way not only takes time and heavy weights, it also requires you to eat a lot more. You would need to be in a consistent calorie surplus with a high amount of protein to put on serious bulk. If building mass that’s your goal – great, weight training can help you to achieve this. If not – no worries. Weight-lifting can be incorporated intelligently into your training to achieve a wide variety of goals.

Benefits of strength training for women

Strength training exercises have so much to offer women, beyond just aesthetic goals. One of the most important benefits of weight training for women is the positive impact it has on bone health.

As we age, both men and women lose bone density. For women however, this happens particularly rapidly once we enter the menopause. This loss of bone density is a key factor in the increased frailty and risk of fracture that we see in older women. Strength training for women is therefore incredibly important to help prevent osteoporosis and stay strong well into later life.

Strength training for women is also key for…

  • Helping to build lean muscle > building lean muscle means you become stronger and more capable in your day-to-day life. The skills and strength you developing in weight training transfer to your daily activities – think about running for the bus, carrying heavy things, lifting your kids, climbing stairs… Weight training makes all of this much easier
  • Building stronger, more mobile joints
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness
  • Helping your body prepare for motherhood > if you’re planning on having a baby, strength training can help your body develop the strength it needs to cope with the demands of pregnancy and labour
  • Improving your mental health
  • Boosting confidence > Pushing past your comfort zone and learning a new skill can be incredibly empowering. Plus, lifting something the equivalent of your body weight feels pretty damn good
  • Enhancing cardio health
  • Driving your performance in running and other sports

What does a strength training workout look like?

If you’re completely new to strength training, working with a personal trainer is highly recommended in order to ensure you are lifting properly, with technique that is both safe, to avoid injury, and effective, to ensure you’re working what you actually want to work. The key is to build confidence and nail your form across the fundamental patterns of movement, before gradually adding load to increase the challenge and provide the body with the stimulus it needs to build muscle. In short, don't worry - we won't be starting you on a workout designed for female fitness models!

Depending on your goals and your training schedule, your trainer might choose to do full body workouts with you, or do a split for example alternate between upper body and lower body workouts.

When you first start resistance training, the key will be to learn and master the fundamental patterns of movement (e.g. squat, lunge, hinge, pull, push…) before gradually adding a weight load to these movements to increase the challenge. Effective weight training relies on the principle of progressive overload; in other words gradually increasing the challenge to make sure your muscles continues to receive enough stimulus to grow and become stronger.

Why not take a look at our facilities?


A Word From Our Clients

Based on 139 reviews
Fi Kim
Fi Kim
Great, clean facilities and tailored programs that have helped me with my fitness and health goals. Everyone is very kind & supportive, which makes for the perfect environment to train in. My PT Matt has helped me build strength as well as aid with the recovery of longterm muscle injuries. Highly recommend Fitness Lab.
tom graham
tom graham
Brett and Soho Fitness Lab are quite simply the best PT team I have trained with. Professional, knowledgeable and fantastic at tailoring a very tough work out with adaptions for my various historical injuries. The results speak for themselves. I can't recommend them highly enough!
Simon Purton
Simon Purton
Unbelievable professional in everything they do and it feels like the client is at the centre of everything with the strength and conditioned tailored specifically to goals and needs. Would recommend them to everyone
Darryl Samaraweera
Darryl Samaraweera
I've been training with Olivia at Soho Fitness Lab since the beginning of December and the experience has been brilliant. As a newbie to working with a P/T I was nervous going into it, but from the first session I saw I had nothing to worry about. The space is unlike your usual gyms - it’s private and just the right size, and has a smart feel to it. It's a perfect spot for pre-work workouts if you are in or around Soho, or live there like I do. Never thought I'd be happy getting up at 6am to go to the gym but always look forward to it as I see the progress I am making!
Michael Ash
Michael Ash
My experience with the FitnessLab team has been great. They listened to my ailments and put together an excellent program so that I can get on the road to recovery. Can’t recommend enough!
Sean S
Sean S
I’ve recently started training with James after a bit of a hiatus with my fitness. He really gets where I’m coming from, as I’m working around old injuries. The sessions are a lot of fun and I feel great afterwards. He really know what he’s doing and I’m excited to be back on the right path.
Matt Black
Matt Black
Going to miss this place! Rhys was a top trainer 👏 highly recommend for those looking to progress in succeeding and living a healthy lifestyle 💪
Elio Elia
Elio Elia
I've found the team at Fitness Lab to be very professional, knowledgeable and flexible based on my capabilities and fitness goals. My PT, Rhys has been a great help in tailoring sessions and even adapting them whilst I had some sporting injuries. He has also taken the time outside of sessions to send tips on diet, demo videos of exercises to do at home and just generally communicate with me outside of the hourly sessions to keep me motivated, which is not something you normally get from past experiences elsewhere. I would highly recommend Fitness lab if you're serious about improving your fitness and/or have hit a brick wall with your 'run of the mill' PTs out there. It's well worth it in my opinion.
Max Lom-Bor
Max Lom-Bor
Professional, knowledgeable and personal. I had a really brilliant trainer in Rhys who helped me achieve and even surpass my fitness goals while making the whole thing seem fun and manageable. No idea how. Class act, class gym 👍

Frequently Asked Questions

This will vary depending on your goals, but generally speaking our clients see great results by strength training with us 2 or 3 times a week.

The only way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit. Strength training exercises can be used to a) make sure that this weight loss comes from body fat, and b) build lean muscle. Achieving both goals at the same time is the way to build a strong and lean body (body recomposition).

Book in a free consultation with one of our personal trainers. They will spend an hour with you, to go over all of your goals, hear about your training experience, assess your movement patterns and talk to you about your lifestyle and nutrition. From here, they’ll put together a tailored plan for you.

It’s essential to get some guidance from a personal trainer if you’re new to strength training. Your trainer will be by your side in every strength training workout, to ensure you’re lifting weights with proper form.

One of the most common mistakes we see is beginners making misjudging the amount of weight they load up with. All-too-often people go too heavy, too quickly, without first mastering the basics. This is a recipe for injury. Your trainer has the expertise to know exactly when it’s appropriate to make an exercise more challenging, and how.

We’re here to help. Complete the short form below and one of the team will be in touch

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