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15 Office Strength Training Exercises for Women

Finding time to hit the gym can be a challenge for many women, especially in a fast-paced work environment. However, incorporating strength training exercises into your office routine can be an efficient way to stay fit and healthy. 

Not only does strength training help build muscle and increase metabolism, but it also improves bone density and reduces the risk of injury. Here, we’ll explore some effective office strength training exercises tailored specifically for women.

What Strength Training Should Women Do?

When it comes to strength training, women should focus on exercises that target major muscle groups such as the legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms, and core. Compound exercises, which involve multiple joints and muscles, are particularly beneficial as they provide a more comprehensive workout in less time.

Some examples of compound exercises suitable for women include squats, lifting weights, lunges, deadlifts, pull-ups, chest presses, push-ups, rows, and overhead presses.

What Is the Most Effective Strength Training Exercise?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, one of the most effective strength training exercises for women is the squat. Squats engage multiple muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. 

Additionally, squats help improve lower body strength, enhance balance and stability, and promote functional movement patterns essential for daily activities. Variations such as goblet squats or bodyweight squats can easily be performed in an office setting with minimal equipment.

How Much Weight Should a Woman Lift for Strength Training?

Determining the appropriate weight for strength training can vary depending on an individual’s fitness level and goal. As a general guideline, women should choose a weight that allows them to complete 8-12 repetitions with proper form while still feeling challenged by the last few repetitions. 

When weight training, it’s essential to start with lifting weights on the lighter side and gradually increase the resistance as strength improves to avoid injury and promote progress. Using resistance bands or incorporating household items such as water bottles or books can also provide effective resistance for strength training exercises for women in the office.

How Many Days a Week Should a Woman Strength Train?

The frequency of strength training for women depends on factors such as fitness levels, schedule availability, and recovery time. Ideally, women should aim to engage in strength training exercises at least 2-3 days per week, allowing for rest days in between sessions to allow muscles to recover and rebuild. 

Always listen to your body and avoid overtraining, as adequate rest is crucial for muscle growth and overall performance. Incorporating other forms of physical activity such as cardio and flexibility exercises can complement a well-rounded workout routine for women.

Strength Training Exercises for Women

Strength training exercises are a cornerstone of fitness for women, offering a multitude of benefits. Check out these exercises that you can incorporate into your strength training workout. Several of them will require the use of fitness equipment like a resistance band or dumbbells but for some, you’ll only need to workout with just your body weight.


This exercise is great for core stability but many women avoid push-ups as they can be tough but with the correct form and some practice, this can be mastered by anyone. Start in a high plank with your palms on the floor at shoulder width. Keeping a tight core, bend your elbows, descending until your chest grazes the floor. Push yourself back up while exhaling, maintaining a straight back.

Weighted Squats

Squats are a vital part of any strength workout regimen. Pair it with some weight training and you’ll be able to build lean muscle, increase your muscle mass, and lose weight to achieve your fitness goals. 

To do this, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower your hips back and down as if sitting in a chair. Keep your knees aligned with your toes. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.


Hold two dumbbells in your hands and stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Position your weight in front of your thighs, palms facing your body. This is your starting position. Next, keeping your knees bent, press your hips back as you hinge at the waist and lower the dumbbells toward the floor. Squeeze your glutes to return to a standing position. That’s one rep. Complete 15.

Kettlebell Swings

Grab a kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Push your hips back as you bend your knees and hold the weight out in front of you on the floor. Then, bring it between your legs, immediately squeeze your glutes, and thrust your hips forward to swing the weight to shoulder height. 

Keep your arms in a straight line and your core muscles tight. Reverse the movement, bringing the kettlebell back between your legs. Complete 15 reps.

Upright Row

Stand with your feet at shoulder-width distance. Grasp the barbell and allow it to hang in front of you at the length of your arms. Your palms should be facing your body and your hands in line with the thighs. Breathe in and brace the abdominals. Keep your back straight, chest up, and eyes focused forward. 

Lift the barbell up toward your chin as you exhale. Lead with the elbows and keep the bar close to the body. Pause at the top of the lift. Lower the barbell as you inhale, returning to the initial position.

Military Press

This exercise targets the shoulders, triceps, and chest muscles for upper body strength and stability. To do this, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your hands into the air above your head, palms facing forward with biceps by your ears. Keeping your back straight and core engaged, slowly lower your arms by your sides until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees.

Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades at the bottom of this movement. Next, bring your arms back to the starting position, resulting in one rep. Complete 15.

Bent-Over Rows

Hold dumbbells in each hand, hinge at your hips, and lean forward slightly. Pull the weights towards your hips while squeezing your shoulder blades. Lastly, lower the weights back down. Repeat for 15 reps.

Prone Pull

This movement is great for building strength in the upper back and the shoulder muscles. Start lying face-down on the floor with legs extended straight, forehead resting on a mat or towel, and arms bent with palms flat on the floor close to the ribs and elbows pointed toward the ceiling. 

Lift your palms off the floor, squeezing the blades of your shoulders. Extend your arms overhead until your biceps are by your ears. Bend your arms to bring your palms back in with the chest.

Single-Leg Box Squat

Start standing facing away from a box or a chair with your weight on your left foot, your right foot hovering, and your arms at your sides. Engage your core as you bend your left knee and push your hips back to sink down until your bottom touches the box, simultaneously extending your arms straight in front of your body. Position your right foot forward for balance. Press through your left foot to return to the standing position. 

Glute Bridge Hold and Chest Press

A chest press targets the upper torso and when you do it in combination with a glute bridge, you can target the upper legs, thighs, hips, and hamstrings as well, making it one of the best strength training exercises for women. 

To do a chest press with a glute bridge, lie flat on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the ground. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, fully extend your arms so the dumbbells are directly overhead, palms facing from your body. Drive through your heels, squeezing your butt to lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Perform an isometric hold at the top of your glute bridge.

Next, bending at the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells towards your chest. Exhale, pushing the dumbbells back overhead to return to the starting position.

Lateral Lunge and Single Arm Back Row

Stand with your feet under your hips, holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Step your right leg out to the side as you push your hips back, bending your right knee while leaving your left leg straight. Hold at the bottom of the lateral lunge, then pull your left elbow back towards your left hip, performing a single arm row. 

With control, lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Then, drive off your right heel to reverse the movement, stepping back to the center.

Push-Up and Side Plank Hold

Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly, with your feet positioned hip-width apart. Slowly lower your chest down to the ground as your elbows fall back toward your hips.

Once at the bottom of your push-up, exhale as you push back up into a high plank. Pull your right arm up and over your body, expanding your arms in a T-shape, performing a side plank. Hold for a 3-count, then return to the high plank. Repeat on your left side.

Alternating Reverse Lunge

To do a reverse lunge, stand with your feet at hip distance apart, hands on your hips, chest up, and shoulders back. Next, keeping your upper half still and your core tight, take a large step back with one foot, then bend both knees to lower into a lunge. Press through your left heel to return to the initial position. Continue alternating.

Goblet Squat

This exercise is great for building core strength. To do this, grab a dumbbell or kettlebell. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed slightly out. Pin your elbows to your rib cage and hold the weight under your chin. Keep your arms close to your chest and elbows pointing down, and bend your hips and knees to lower your body as far as you can slowly, over three seconds. 

When you’re in your deepest squat, pause for two seconds, then drive through your glutes, legs, and heels to stand back up to the initial position.

Bicep Curl

You can do this sitting or standing. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your side, palms facing forward. Bend your elbow, pulling your hand towards your shoulder slowly and with control. Your upper arm and wrist should stay still; only move your forearm from the elbow joint. Curl all the way up, leaving little space between your hands and shoulders. Pause, and lower down slowly all the way to the bottom.

Final Note

Women’s health is just as important as men’s health. Building muscle, reducing body fat, and enhancing overall health is possible by incorporating resistance training exercises into your daily routine. With dedication and consistency, women can achieve their fitness goals and thrive both in the office and beyond.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.