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Top 10 Exercises For Women To Gain Lean Muscle

Women who want to know how to get a lean body are always searching for the very best workout for targeting and toning. But the truth is that there is no single best way for females to get lean and fit. However, there are some simple and powerful exercises that can be mixed and matched to boost motivation and maximize impact.

These ten movements are perfect because they don’t require intense time commitments, expensive gym memberships, or special workout equipment. All it takes is a little bit of effort and a lot of self-love. We get out of our bodies what we put into them. And success takes time. So just start. And then keep going. A healthier you is just ahead.


Running is an absolutely great way to gain lean muscle, especially for females seeking a toned body. Most everyone knows how to run, but there are some important tips to keep in mind to get the most out of your effort. Maintain good posture and lean slightly forward as you run. Hold your arms at roughly waist level and move them to counterbalance your leg movements. Always keep a slight bend in your knees and aim for a mid-foot landing rather than on your toes or heels. Proper form ensures your running will not only be easy and enjoyable, but also effective and injury free! 

Jumping Squats

Jumping squats combine the power of strength training with heart smart cardiovascular exercise. Start standing with your feet wide. Bend into a squat position, hands out in front of your chest. Then, jump upwards pulling your hands down and back past your sides as you rise. As you come down, bring your hands back forward, keep your knees bent, and return to a squat position. Jumping squats are a fabulous workout move for focusing on your booty, hips, legs, and hamstrings.

Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are very similar to floating on your back in a pool and kicking your legs. Start by lying on your back and lifting your legs twelve to eighteen inches off the ground. Keep your arms straight by your side, or slip them under your glutes for extra support! Then, lift your head and shoulders off the ground, point your toes, and lower and raise each straight leg in alternating order. Be sure to keep your core engaged. The lower your legs are to the ground the more your back will be engaged, so simply raise your legs higher if you need a break. Flutter kicks really target your core, abs, hips, and back.

High Knees

High Knees can be super for gaining lean muscle. They’re low-impact and cardio-intensive if you just keep the speed up! Start from a standing position with your elbows at your side bent so that your arms are sticking out in front of you for balance. Begin stepping in place, raising your knee 90-degrees or higher before putting it back down and then doing the same with the opposite leg. High knees really engage your core and target your booty, hips, and legs.

Criss Cross Lunges

Lunges are challenging in the way the very best workouts always are. Start by standing up straight, legs apart. Then move your right leg to the left, behind and past your left leg, with your right foot landing on the toe of your foot. Bend your knees to lower your body, shifting left as you go down. Straighten back up again, keeping the weight on your front heel and opposite toe, engaging the glutes not the knees. Then, alternate sides and repeat. Criss cross lunges really focus on the booty, hamstrings, and legs.

Total Body Pushups

Pushups are a great exercise for females, but they are better to do on our knees if our arms aren’t strong enough. Start on all fours, hands flat on the floor just in front of your shoulders, knees extended back just a bit from your hips. Bend your elbows to go down and push back up again. Then, lift your right leg up and bring it back down. Repeat the process, lifting the left leg up at the end of the next rep. Total body pushups are a lean body workout staple that tightens and tones your arms, shoulders, back, chest, abs, booty, and legs.

Hip Thrusts

Often, when women ask how to get lean, hip thrusts don’t even cross their mind, despite being an amazingly effective movement. Start by sitting on the floor, legs extended straight in front of you, and raise your right knee so that your foot is flat just in front of your left knee. Place your hands on the floor behind you for support. Point your left foot forward and reach up with your right arm leaving your left arm on the floor. Then, thrust your hip upward pushing into the right foot and reaching up as high as you can and returning to your original position. Once your reps are completed, switch sides and repeat. Hip thrusts is an intense mid-body workout that targets the lower back, abs, booty, and upper legs. 


Burpees are the one best workout exercise that I often say I love to hate! They may not be my favorite, but they are definitely great for getting lean and toning the body. With burpees, it’s important to keep your core tight throughout the workout. Start by standing with your feet about hip-width apart. Then, squat down, placing your hands about shoulder-width apart on the ground and, jump your legs back into a plank position. Next, jump your legs back into the squatting position. Stand and jump straight up. Burpees target your whole body from arms and shoulders, to chest and abs, to booty and legs!

Weighted Russian Twists

Weighted Russian Twists are a great exercise to tone and get lean. They can be done with a medicine ball or small weight. Start by sitting on the floor (a yoga mat will provide a little cushion and prevent you from slipping), knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor. Then, lean back into a 45-degree angle keeping your back straight. Hold your light weight out in front of your chest, raise your legs up off the floor, and rotate as far as you can to the left and then the right. Weighted Russian Twists are a fantastic core workout that really targets your abs, obliques, and lats.

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