best women's strength training books

WOW is it hard to find good women’s strength training books.

And I really mean that. In 2021, I’m still finding female fitness books written mostly by men, many with sexist language, that are outdated, poorly formatted, or just don’t use good exercises.

As a certified personal trainer who knows what good training looks like, I was very picky about these book selections. These are strength and conditioning books I’d feel comfortable recommending to a friend or family member, as well as use myself. And, of course, have exceptional reviews from others.

While every book here focuses on women’s strength training, you will see some different approaches. Some require no equipment at all, while other require dumbbells or even gym equipment. I kept it versatile so you could find at least one book that fits you and your lifestyle.

You ready to see the best women’s strength training books that made the cut?

Keep reading!


Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise routine or starting any particular diet. See this Disclaimer for more details. This post may contain affiliate links. For details, please visit my Disclosure page. Thank you!

5 Best Women’s Strength Training Books of 2021

best women's strength training books

1. The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises

I don’t think I’ll ever bump this fitness book from the top of my list.

I received this book as a gift a couple years ago from a very knowledgable exercise physiologist I worked with, but don’t worry – you definitely don’t need a science degree to appreciate this one. While chock-full of information and facts, the writing is perfect for exercisers of all levels.

The book’s exercises are organized based on which body part you’re working. It gives loads of exercise variations and tons of workout plans. From “The Wedding Workout” to “The Best 15-Minute Workouts,” there’s a plan that will fit your lifestyle. Plus this book answers pretty much any strength training question you may have.

As a working personal trainer, I reference this book frequently to get new exercise ideas. This is, without a doubt, the best strength training book for women. You really can’t go wrong.

The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises

2. You Are Your Own Gym

I first stumbled across this book at Barnes and Noble. I knew right away I had to buy it because I legitimately couldn’t put this book down.

Mark Lauren, a Special Ops military trainer, has impeccable story-telling skills. While I loved reading about his military experiences, I was even more intrigued by the training plans he put together. His philosophy is that you can truly work out anywhere. You don’t even need classic weights to develop elite level fitness. Just your own bodyweight (and maybe a few common household items).

I truly wish I’d gotten this book at the start of quarantine. Mark Lauren knows his stuff, and as someone who doesn’t plan to get a gym membership anytime soon, this has become my new go-to.

You Are Your Own Gym

3. Fitness for Everyone

As soon as I read the foreword for this book, I knew I had to buy it too (on that same trip to Barnes and Noble haha). And when I saw the list of models who demonstrate the exercises, I wanted to buy it all over again.

This strength training book shows that anyone – and I mean anyone – can strength train. You just have to know what to do.

The foreword is written by Martinus Evans, a man who started his fitness journey “after my doctor called me fat and told me I was going to die.” Thoroughly upset, he got a gym membership and quickly realized he had no idea what to do. Even his personal trainer didn’t know how to work with a client his size.

This book shows men and women of different ages, sizes, and ethnicities demonstrating the moves. One is pregnant, another has a prosthetic, and one model is even in a wheelchair.

This is also the first book on this list that’s actually written by a woman.

There is nothing not to love about this strength training book. I highly, highly recommend it!

4. Fit Gurl: The Total-Body Turnaround Program

This is another book written by a woman. Melissa Alcantara is an impressively fit human and celebrity trainer. While I don’t exactly “keep up” with them, she’s actually Kim Kardashian’s personal trainer.

Her book reads like she’s talking just to you, a friend. She’s got a bit of a sailor’s mouth, but I actually find it endearing haha.

The workouts and moves are great. I get really frustrated when I find workout books that just hop into hardcore training. Her moves are tough and will still get you strong, but many also incorporate stabilization (such as one-sided movements). This is the mark of a good trainer. She knows that core strength helps prevent injuries and is beneficial long-term.

The ONLY downside of this book is that some of her moves do require gym equipment. While she does share some alternatives on her Instagram, if you don’t have a gym right now, this may not be the best strength training book for you.

Fit Gurl: The Total-Body Turnaround Program

5. 100 No Equipment Workouts

I’m such a huge fan of this book. At the end of the day, we all just need a good, no-nonsense workout to follow. This book will give you endless possibilities – none of which require equipment.

The only thing I didn’t love about this book was the paragraph writing. There are a ton of run-on sentences and grammatical errors, making me think that English isn’t the first language of the author (and maybe editor?).

But I still think the book’s workouts more than make up for the writing. You’ll never run out of workout ideas or ways to keep your body challenged.

This was an easy addition to the list of best women’s strength training books out there in 2021.

100 No-Equipment Workouts

Choosing the Best Women’s Strength Training Book for You

If you’re having a hard time selecting just one of these books to get and follow, I recommend asking yourself these questions:

1. Do I need workouts WITHOUT equipment?

2. Do I have dumbbells at home but no gym equipment?

3. Do you have access to gym equipment?

4. Do I have any particular exercise limitations and need safe guidelines/ideas for how to work with them?

5. Do I like the idea of more intense training and pushing my body to achieve tough things?

6. Do I like hearing other peoples’ fitness stories and want that motivation in my workout book?

7. Am I not really interested in a plan, just need exercise/workout ideas to switch things up?

5 best women's strength training books of 2021

These are the 5 absolute best women’s strength training books in 2021.