From strength training to yoga, these sessions are the most popular among female members.
For women of all ages, exercise—and strength training in particular—is a proven method for reducing stress, improving heart health, and boosting bone density, which lowers your risk of osteoporosis. In terms of body composition, lifting weights increases lean muscle mass, which research shows can decline by 10 percent every decade past 30.
Strength training also has plenty of practical benefits for women. Tonal Coach Allison Tibbs, a certified personal trainer, wants women to see the connection between exercises and daily movements, whether it’s lifting a suitcase into the overhead bin on an airplane or carrying around kids.
“There’s always some translation into our everyday lives,” Tibbs says, “so we can move through life with more ease and more confidence, feeling strong throughout the day, not just when we’re working out.”
Don’t let the myth that strength training can make you “bulky” stop you from getting in on the action. Women produce far less muscle-building testosterone than men, and more progesterone, which actually breaks down muscle tissue. It becomes even harder for women to build muscle as they approach menopause.
“What I always tell my female clients in particular is, be afraid of losing muscle mass, don’t be afraid of gaining muscle mass,” says Jenna Moore, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and Fitness Programming Specialist at Tonal. Because losing muscle mass after menopause can slow metabolism and negatively impact body composition, it’s never too early—or too late—to start strength training.
As for where to get started, the programs and workouts below are some of the highest-rated and most popular on Tonal among female-identifying members.
Multi-Week Workout Programs for Women
Four Week Fast Track – Coach Gabby Sansosti
According to Moore, it’s not surprising that Sansosti’s name pops up a few times on this list, as many women enjoy her positive, relatable vibe. “She does a great job of motivating you to work hard, while also keeping it real and being in it with you,” says Moore. The workouts in this four-week program include plenty of core moves, plyometrics, and lifts that target every major muscle group.
Beginner Heat – Coach Amy Schemper
All of the workouts in this two-week program are around 25 minutes long, so it’s a good place to get started if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to training—or find it hard to get motivated for longer sessions. Each workout includes just a handful of different exercises so it’s perfect for beginners learning each move through repetition. “You’re focusing on learning and mastering fewer exercises within a workout,” says Moore. “That makes anybody who’s taking those workouts feel more confident at the end of it.”
Shaped and Shredded – Coach Gabby Sansosti
With her signature high-energy style, Sansosti gets your muscles sculpted through heavy lifting, focused core work, and cardio bursts in this program. “Shaped and Shredded lends itself to someone who’s looking to transform their body from head to toe,” says Tibbs. “It’s a phenomenal program.”
20-in-20 Ignite – Coach Tony Horton
Like Beginner Heat, one of the main draws of this program with Coach Tony Horton is its quick workouts (all 20 minutes or less). “For women who are intimidated by strength training or haven’t had a lot of exposure to strength training, small digestible bites are going to be an easier place to get started,” says Moore. She adds that Horton’s fun, quirky personality also makes his workouts popular among all members.
HIIT The Beach – Coach Gabby Sansosti
The exercises in this program are done for time instead of reps, which may feel more approachable for beginners. “In those duration-based workouts, you’re working at your own pace and you’re not held to a certain amount of reps,” says Moore. “As you keep coming back to that workout, if you’re getting more reps in the same amount of time, that’s a huge sign of improvement.” Of course, if you’re going at a quick pace, you’ll ratchet up the intensity and burn some serious calories.
Total Body Knockout – Coach Tony Horton
Horton’s standalone workouts also top the list of women’s favorite Tonal sessions. “Everybody loves Tony,” says Moore. “People really relate to him, and they just love him as a coach.” This full-body workout includes heavy, barbell lifts including squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. It’s a safe way to try out barbell exercises even if it’s your first time. “A lot of women will shy away from barbell work,” says Coach Allison. “The beautiful thing about Tonal is that the digital weight makes it so easy to build confidence in bigger lifts. If you feel uncomfortable, you can turn the weight off immediately.”
Upper Body Blaster – Coach Tony Horton
Here’s another Horton workout that’s a hit among women with different goals and experience levels. It combines pushing movements (bench presses, push-ups) with pulling ones (seated rows and bicep curls) to strengthen and balance all the upper body muscles. Even though it’s an intermediate-level workout, it’s very popular among beginners as well, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot if you’re just getting started.
Bodyweight Ab Blaster – Coach Nicolette Amarillas
Using just your body weight, this on-the-go workout lets you work your core even when you’re away from your Tonal. In only 12 minutes, Amarillas challenges your abs with moves like sprinter crunches, dead bugs, and pillar bridges.
Tonal isn’t just about building muscle. With additional types of workouts for women such as barre, Pilates, and cardio, you can create a well-rounded fitness routine including activities you already love. Tibbs recommends doing full-body strength training at least three days per week and mixing in these supplemental exercises on your off-days to support your strength gains and add variety. These are the highest-ranking workouts among female Tonal members across the different disciplines .
Cardio: Low Impact Cardio – Coach Amy Schemper
This workout shows that you don’t need to do high-impact moves that stress your joints to get in a cardio challenge. The bodyweight moves in this workout will get your heart rate up without putting pressure on your joints.
Barre: Barre Fix – Coach Frances Flores
By emphasizing isometric contractions in which you hold a movement for several seconds, barre workouts are excellent for learning how to activate small muscle groups. This workout includes moves to improve mobility and flexibility, which will help you in your lifting and daily life.
Yoga: Stretch and Flow – Coach Jake Ferree
As relaxing as an hour-long yoga class may be, struggling to find time for one might leave you feeling more stressed out than before. As Moore says, “When you’re hustling, you’re working, and you’re a mom, making yourself a priority is the first thing that goes out the window.” This 11-minute flow makes it easy to briefly slow down during a busy day.
Pilates: Pilates Abs: Series of Five – Coach Frances Flores
Moving through five classic Pilates exercises, like straight leg lifts, Flores lights up your core in this quick-paced workout.
Mobility: Hip Mobility Clinic – Coach Liz Letchford
If you’re feeling hip tightness from your workouts, or from sitting in a chair all day, this mobility session is perfect for loosening up the muscles around the hip joint. With a PhD in kinesiology and rehabilitation science, Letchford expertly explains why we get tight in this area and what we can do about it. “If you’re really trying to understand the why behind each movement, she is so educational and insightful in that way,” says Moore.