7 Best Full Body Resistance Training Exercises for Women

Seven of my favorite, full body resistance training exercises — combined into one challenging workout! This pyramid workout uses a set of dumbbells to challenge every muscle in your body. Get a total body workout in 20 minutes by going up the 7-move pyramid, or go up and down the pyramid for a total body, 40 minute workout.

*If you’re having trouble seeing the 7 Best Full Body Resistance Training Exercises for Women video above, try turning off or pausing your ad-blocker. If you prefer, you can also view this Full Body Workout video on YouTube here.

Full Body. Resistance Training. Pyramid Workout.

Three phrases you’ve been consistently requesting, so I combined them into one sweaty, 20 or 40 minute dumbbell workout!

When I asked what you wanted to see more of on the blog, you said pyramid workouts. So here’s another full body pyramid workout you can do with just a set of dumbbells.

If you’re new to the pyramid format, check out these pyramid workouts on the blog: 

In these full-length workout videos I coach you through the each exercise, and keep track of the timed intervals so you don’t have to. But I’ve also had requests for a non-full length video pyramid workout. So this ones for my friends who like to screenshot a workout and do it at home, at the gym, or where ever you can get your hands on a set of dumbbells to sweat.

All that said, if you ever have requests for workouts you want to see featured on the blog, drop a note in the comments below!

Full Body Workout | Prenatal Strength Training

What is Resistance Training?

When you hear ‘resistance training’, you may think ‘resistance bands‘ — which is PART of resistance training, but resistance training encompasses a whole lot more.

Resistance training simply means any kind of exercise that involves moving your body against some form of resistance, whether that’s your own bodyweight, a resistance band, dumbbells, or barbells! Therefore, resistance training is essentially synonymous with ‘strength training’.

This full body workout uses dumbbells as the specific form of resistance.

Additionally, this workout for women consists of seven compound exercises; meaning that one exercise engages multiple muscle groups. For example, ski swings with overhead tricep extensions require the glutes, hamstrings and core muscles to fire on the ski swings portion of the exercise. Then, targets the triceps and core on the overhead tricep extensions.

These compound exercises are major metabolic burners. Meaning you’re strengthen multiple, major muscle groups at one time, while also burning major calories which is great for weight loss. 

The goal of this full body workout is to fatigue every muscle group in 20-to-40 minutes.

full body workout | dumbbell snatch exercise

Why is Resistance Training so important for women?

I’m an advocate for resistance training exercises for many reasons, but two of the main reasons include:

  1. Weight training helps women see the ‘toned’ results they’re often striving for.
  2. Building muscle through weight training is important to moving through everyday activities and injury prevention {which is even more important as we age, see the shocking stats below — we start losing muscle mass at age 30}.

Training with resistance is also one of the few ways research has shown we can make our bones stronger — which especially important for women, who are more likely to get osteoporosis during their lifetimes than men are {TIME}.

If the risk of osteoporosis seems too far in the future to convince you to pick up some weights, there’s also research that suggests that resistance training can help offset the age-related decline in muscle mass and strength that hits right around ages 30 to 35 {SELF}! 

If you’ve been follow me for any amount of time, you know I love adding heart-pumping cardio to my strength training workouts. Small cardio bursts mean that you burn more calories during the workout. I’m all about short, effective workouts!

Therefore, a couple of the exercises have options to jump to increase intensity, but as always, feel free to substitute a low-impact option {such as air squats instead of jumps}.

The Workout: Full Body Resistance Training

7 Resistance Training Exercises for Women

Equipment: Medium-to-Heavy Set of Dumbbells {8-20 lbs, I’m pictured using 10 lb dumbbells for this workout}

Instructions: This workout is performed in a stack-on, pyramid format. Which means you’ll perform each exercise for 30 seconds, adding on moves as you climb up the pyramid.

So it will look like this:

  • Set 1: Perform Move 1 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 2: Perform Move 1 for 30 seconds + Move 2 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Set 3: Perform Move 1 for 30 seconds + Move 2 for 30 seconds + Move 3 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.

Continue this stack-on, pyramid format until you complete moves 1 through 7. Then you have the option to go back down the pyramid in reverse order, dropping off Move 1, then Move 2, then Move 3 and so on.

This is approximately a 20-minute workout if you go up the pyramid, and a 40-minute workout if you come back down the pyramid.

Note, this workout is performed in timed intervals. I personally love using the Tabata Pro Timer App on my phone.

Warm Up — I suggest this 5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts

  1. Squat Hold Press Out + Press Overhead
  2. Burpee + Alternating Snatch
  3. 4 Push Ups + 4 Shoulder Press
  4. Front Rack Lunge and Lunge + Squat
  5. 3 Ski Swings + 3 Overhead Triceps
  6. Deadlift + Back Fly
  7. 2 Bicep Curls + Set Down Squat or Jump

Cool Down — I suggest flowing through these 8 Mobility Exercises

Squat Hold Press Out + Press Overhead

Resistance Training | Squat Hold Exercise

Burpee + Alternating Snatch

Burpee + Alternating Snatch Exercise

4 Push Ups + 4 Shoulder Press

Push Ups and Shoulder Press Exercise
Front Rack Lunge and Lunge + Squat

Front Rack Lunge and Squat Exercise
3 Ski Swings + 3 Overhead Triceps

Ski Swings and Overhead Triceps Exercise
Deadlift + Back Fly

Deadlift + Back Fly Exercise
2 Bicep Curls + Set Down Squat or Jump

2 Bicep Curls + Squat Jump Exercise

See the workout video at the top of this post for a demonstration of each of these upper body exercises.

What I’m Wearing:

Fit Pregnancy | Best Athletic Apparel for Women

This post does include an affiliate links, and I do receive a small commission for items purchased using the above links. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible. 

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7 Full Body Resistance training exercises

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  1. I love your full-length videos! You are so encouraging, and I feel extra motivated when you’re telling me what to do and for how long. Thank you for the time you put into making these videos.

    • Tawny! Thank you so much for the feedback, always love to hear from the women doing the workouts! So glad you’re loving the full-length workout videos (they’re my favorite to film too)! Thank you so much for following along and giving the workouts a try! -Lindsey