Beginner Barbell Workouts for Women

Beginner Barbell Workouts for Women

Staff Writer
7 minute read

Beginner Barbell Workouts for Women

Women often forget the modest barbell at the gym. Instead, many women opt for flashier cardio machines or group fitness classes. But don't be misled; whether you're a novice or an experienced athlete, the barbell is a versatile and very effective tool for strength training. Despite what many women think, the barbell is a great way to get in shape and won't bulk you up like many people are afraid of. Instead, it will help give you the lean and toned physique you want. Integrating the barbell into your workout routine can increase your strength, build muscle, and improve your general fitness.

How to build strength and gain muscle with barbells

You can perform the following two types of exercises with a barbell:

Compound Exercises

Multi-joint exercises called compound motions engage several muscle groups at once. These exercises allow you to move big weights and engage more muscles than isolated exercises, which makes them very beneficial for gaining strength and muscle. They also have a functional nature, which means they come in handy when you are performing everyday tasks. 

Variations of the squat, deadlift, overhead press and bench press are the most popular compound exercises. Any barbell workout program should start with these movements as the cornerstone.

Isolation Exercises

Exercises that isolate a muscle group use single-joint movements. They are frequently used to round out a workout by focusing on muscles that the compound exercises may not have sufficiently engaged. Bicep curls, tricep extensions, and lateral raises are typical isolated exercises.

Getting Started with Beginner Barbell Workouts

One of the most important first steps is choosing the right weight. You can pick a suitable starting weight for your new training regimen by using the method below:

Step 1: Work on getting the correct form

By keeping your form correct throughout your workout, you can avoid being hurt and get the most out of your training. Work on your form with bodyweight exercises before adding weight to any movement.

Exercises that use "zero weight" or "empty bars" can also help you improve your form. These workouts are carried out with a barbell that has no additional weight. Perfecting your form before adding weight will prevent injury and help you get used to using a barbell.

Step 2: Determine Your Base Weight 

Find a weight that allows you to do 12–15 repetitions without losing form with safety and effectiveness. This should be your starting point; most people refer to this as their base weight.

Step 4: Gradually Increase the Load

Once you've established a beginning weight that is comfortable for you, it's critical to slowly increase the weight you are lifting in order to overload your muscles gradually. This will help you get results and prevent plateaus.

The next time you hit the gym, up the weight by 5–10 pounds each time you reach your maximum rep range (12–15 reps). For instance, if you are currently bench-pressing 50 pounds for 12 to 15 repetitions, your following workout should be 54 to 60 pounds for 8 to 10 repetitions.

Take at least 1-2 weeks between weights to allow your muscles to become accustomed to the increased tension.

The Beginner Barbell Moves You Need to Know

Are you ready to start using barbells at the gym? Here are the top moves that every woman should know and practice. 

Rear Squat

The rear squat is a wonderful workout for beginners because it targets the largest muscles in your body—the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to execute:

  • Put the bar across your shoulders by slipping under it. It should rest on your traps (these are the muscles between your neck and shoulders).

  • Put your hands shoulder-width apart and grasp the bar. Your elbows should be extended, and both hands should be facing the front.

  • Set your feet and ensure your stance is steady. When you are ready, unrack the bar.

  • Step back with both feet until they are shoulder-width apart.

  • Drive up through your heels to go back to the beginning position by bending your knees and bringing your hips down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

  • Maintain a straight spine and a tight core throughout the movement.


Beginners should start with the deadlift since it is an excellent exercise for working the posterior chain (the muscles on your back).

How to execute:

  • The bar should be directly over your feet as you approach it.

  • Grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width hold while bending your hips and knees.

  • Drive your heels into the ground and raise your torso until you stand upright while maintaining your lower back's natural arch.

  • Arc your lower back and pull your shoulder blades back and down.

  • At the peak of the lift, squeeze your glutes.

  • Lower the bar to the ground by reversing the action.

Bench Press

The bench press is a great workout for the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

How to execute:

  • Place your feet flat on the ground and recline on a bench.

  • With your hands shoulder-width apart and your back slightly arched, grasp the bar.

  • Pull the bar out of the rack with your elbows tucked in at 45 degrees to your sides and lower it to your sternum.

  • Drive your feet firmly into the ground when the bar reaches your body, then force the bar back up.

Barbell Row

The barbell row is a terrific workout for the lats, traps, and biceps.

How to execute:

  • Bending at the hips, lower your torso until it's parallel to the floor while holding a barbell with an overhand grip.

  • As you do this, allow your knees to bend gently.

  • Drive your heels into the ground and raise your torso until you stand upright while maintaining your lower back's natural arch.

  • Using your elbows to help you, pull the bar up to your upper abdomen.

  • Lower the bar to the ground by reversing the action.

Overhead Press

The overhead press is a good movement for the shoulders, triceps, and core.

How to execute:

  • Set up the barbell in the rack at a height roughly equal to your shoulder.

  • Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and looking forward while you hold the bar.

  • In order to reach your collarbone, unrack the bar and drop it while tucking your elbows around 45 degrees to your sides.

  • Press the bar up while extending your elbows and locking out your arms from this position.

  • Lower the bar to your collarbone by reversing the action.

Glute Bridges with a Barbell

The barbell glute bridge is a fantastic workout for the hamstrings, core, and glutes.

How to execute:

  • Place a barbell across your hips while lying flat on your back with your feet flat on the ground.

  • To lift your hips and lower back off the ground, flex your knees and press your heels into the ground.

  • At the peak of the lift, pause, then gradually return the hips to the starting position.

Barbell exercises are a fantastic technique to increase strength and muscle. They are appropriate for all levels of fitness and can be done at home or in the gym. It's crucial to start a barbell workout with the correct form and technique. Before beginning your workout, it's also crucial to stretch and warm up your muscles. Doing so will help you stay safe, avoid injuries and get the most out of every workout. 

Another way to get the most out of every gym session is by fueling your body properly. The foods you eat before and after a sweat session can significantly affect how well you can achieve your fitness goals. At Clean Eatz Kitchen, we know the importance of sticking to a healthy diet. We have various meal plans to choose from that can help you transform your body and meet your body recomp goals. Contact us today to find out how we can help you transition to a healthier meal plan.

« Back to Blog