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Women have often shied away from strength training in fear of becoming too bulky. Thankfully that is becoming a thing of the past and women are starting to find their strength, both inner and outer. This is largely due to social media and programs like Crossfit.

If you are woman looking to build muscle, where do you start? The first thing to do is to set a goal. Figure out what you want to accomplish from your workout and what steps you want to take to get there. Once you have set your mind on a certain goal it will be easier to develop a routine that works for you.

Many women can only workout in the early morning hours before work, or after they have just completed a long day at work. If you are finding yourself in a slump before your workout, try some caffeine before lifting for an energy boost (but stay away from energy drinks). You might find that just a small dose of caffeine can really impact your muscle building performance.

Many women don’t strength train properly. When they are in a particular mindset or working out hard, there is a lot of excitement about adding more weights to take that workout to the next level and it can be difficult to stop when the adrenaline is going. But be careful not to push yourself too hard, if you add too much weight too quickly you are at risk for injury.

Form is another area where you want to be precise in your workouts. If you aren’t able to maintain proper form, you will not only be at risk for injury, you will hinder your muscle building progress. In fact, it is a good idea to start practicing new muscle building workouts without using actual weights. This will train your body to get used to the movements.

Even if your workout requires only a 2 pound dumbbell, it is still a good idea to start with no weights and get your body used to the movements of your new workout. It might seem silly to go through all of this trouble when you can easily lift a 2 pound dumbbell, but when it comes to your body it is better to be safe than sorry.

For women, a strong core will change your entire appearance and will increase your ability to do all exercises. Many people think that a strong core means lots of sit ups and ab workouts, and that is true. But a strong core requires a strong back more than anything else. Because of this, women should focus on building strength in their upper back and shoulders, which will help to prevent poor posture and will allow you to achieve a nice foundation for your core.

If you’re stuck in the old mindset of aerobics and cardio, it’s time to rethink it. Strength training moves like deadlifts, squats, pullups, pushups and lunges should be the foundation of your workout. Adding on 5 to 10 minutes of cardio at the end of your strength training session is enough. For an added bonus, try adding some brisk outdoor walks during your week.

Don’t forget to listen to your muscles. You should feel burning in the muscles that you’re targeting. If you get sore someplace else or you begin experiencing pain, you are probably doing something incorrectly.

Above everything else, stick with it. Even if it seems hard at the beginning, when you make the choice to keep going and not give up you are setting yourself up for amazing changes.