The Top Exercises for Women to Gain Weight (and Curves)

May 27, 2019


Here is what I know as fact as a personal trainer and from my own experience: The women that are trying to gain weight aren’t just trying to put on a few extra pounds. That’s just what they THINK they are trying to do.

What they really want is the look that they think they will achieve from gaining that weight.

They want the curvy figure and the flat stomach. They want the booty and the abs and there’s no shame in admitting it. All of the before and after pictures that show women who have gained weight, including my own results, show that curvy figure. So of course that’s what women would equate gaining weight with. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I was one of those women too.

But the problem is that the logic is flawed.

It’s missing a valuable piece of information that a lot of women haven’t grasped yet. Yes IT IS POSSIBLE, that with just gaining weight that you’ll get the curves and the body that you want to achieve. But more often than not, that’s not the case. Let me break it down to you.

When you’re solely focused on weight gain only, eating as much as you can healthy or not, the majority, if not all of that extra weight, is going to be fat. That’s the real.

Now if you’re genetically blessed, all of that weight will go to all the right places and you’ll be set. Some in the booty, some in the hips, maybe even the boobs, and barely any in the stomach.

But it doesn’t usually work like that. When women come to me asking me to train them what I usually hear is that they’ve gained weight but it didn’t go where they wanted it to. And that’s when I have to explain that because the weight they gained is fat, their genetics dictates where that fat goes.

So sure, you may be thinking that a few extra pounds would be great, until those extra pounds go to your arms, your face, your stomach and your back. And not in a way that you’d like.

So what’s the solution? What’s the valuable piece of information that’s missing?

Exercise. And not just any exercises. If you want to see results like this:

Then you need to do exercises that specifically target the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Basically all of your legs. And not just that, because body weight exercises only get you so far. If you want to add mass aka get thick, you need to exercise with resistance and weight. And not 5 to 10lbs but real weight. Weight that makes your muscles burn. That’s the secret. That is what’s going to help you get that curvy body that you’re seeking for.


And that’s the reason it’s not only important to know the best foods to eat, or the best shakes and smoothies, but it’s important to know the best exercises to do and how to do them correctly in order to really see that growth that you want.

Related posts on gaining weight:

How to Gain Weight Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide)

The Best Weight Gain Tips for Skinny Girls

3 Secrets to Gain Healthy Weight Without the Gym

I’m going to give you the help that I needed when I was still trying to figure this all out. Because there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Here are the BEST exercises for women gaining weight and wanting more curves.

The Top Exercises for Women to Gain Weight (and Curves)

(This post may contain affiliate links to products that I truly recommend, at no extra costs to you, if you decide your interested in anything mentioned. Feel free to check out the disclosure for more info.)

Side Note

Just before I get into those exercises I want to talk about something just as important which is glute activation and mind to muscle connection. I don’t see this talked about often and I really wish it was. To get the most out of these exercises it’s so important to warm up your legs and your glutes and really focus on the muscles that you’re using.

You can activate your glutes with a few light weight squats and lunges or with some resistance bands, my personal favorite. You want to “wake up” those muscles to get them ready for some real work.

Click here to see the brand that I recommend.

As for mind to muscle connection, in order to see the most growth you should focus your mind on the muscle that you want to be working. Slow down and really think about and feel the muscles contract during each movement. Got it?

Last thing to remember is that this thing takes time. I’m not going to lie to you. But if you are consistent you WILL see results.

Okay, let’s continue.

*Each exercise in the upcoming videos are done without weight for demonstration purposes of proper technique. Excuse my choice of footwear.*

Glute Bridges and Hip Thrusts

Just so you know, these exercises are very similar. The best way to describe a hip thrust is that it is a glute bridge with your back elevated. They both target your glutes and hamstrings. But what I’ve noticed is that for some beginners it’s much easier for them to feel the muscles working during the glute bridges than it is while they’re doing hip thrusts. Try both out and see what works best for you!

The main points to note:

  1. Always keep your neck and spine neutral, you don’t want to overextend your back.
  2. Your heels should be under your knees. If you feel more of your legs working than your glutes, bring your feet closer to your butt.
  3. Every time you lift up, brace your core and keep it tight.
  4. When you lift your butt up make sure to squeeze those cheeks! You want to really feel them working.
  5. Once again, to protect your lower back make sure not to over extend and to keep your spine neutral instead.
  6. Always move deliberately and controlled.


I love deadlifts. If  I was only able to do one exercise for the rest of my life it would be deadlifts. They work the entire lower body along with your core and there’s so many variations that you can do. They are amazing for your glutes and especially your hamstrings. You can do them with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, and even just a resistance band if you really know how to contract your muscles with the mind muscle connection I talked about earlier.

The main points to note:

  1. Be sure to hinge at the hips not the knees. It’s a thrusting motion much like the glute bridge and hip thrust.
  2. Your feet should be hip width apart.
  3. You should have an over hand grip on the bar (or dumbbells).
  4. Always keep your spine neutral aka keep your back flat.
  5. When you pull the bar, pull through your legs not your arms. Think of it almost as if you’re trying to push the ground away from you with your feet.


I’ll be honest with you. Squats are not one of my favorite exercises. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, because they work, I just don’t prefer to do them. Alas, they’re necessary for this list because they are amazing for your quads. Contrary to popular belief they aren’t the best exercise to grow your hips and glutes but they do a nice job of toning them.

Everyone swears up and down that they know how to squat properly but I’ve seen beginners make some very common mistakes when training. So I still want to address points to look out for.

The main points to note:

  1. Feet should at least be shoulder width apart.
  2. Brace your core.
  3. When you squat, your body weight should be in your heels not your toes. It helps to imagine that you are sitting down in a chair. Alternatively you can put a board or flat weights beneath your heels to elevate them and improve your squat form.
  4. Your knees should be in line with the second and third toes.
  5. Remember to squat down at least parallel to to floor.

Leg Press

Ah the leg press! The only machine in the gym that I absolutely love. There’s so many different ways that you can use the leg press to hit all of the muscles on your lower body. Sometimes I would be on the leg press for 30 minutes just to make sure I’m really putting in work on my sets. Putting your feet wide and toes pointed out is great for inner thighs and hamstrings. Feet narrow and straight are perfect for working on your quads and glutes. And lets not forget that you can actually do calf raises on the leg press too!

The main points to note:

  1. Your knees should always be in line with your feet.
  2. Feet should be  in the middle area of the plate or higher. Any lower and it will put too much stress on your knees.
  3. Brace your core.
  4. Always keep a slight bend in the knee, even when the legs are extended.

Hip Abductions

This is one of my favorite movements and it helped to give me some hips when mine were no where to be found. You can’t really “grow” hips because that’s based on your bone structure and fat distribution, but what you can do is grow the muscles around your hips and this is perfect for that. I prefer to do hip abductions with a resistance band but it is also possible to use the hip abduction machine at your gym.

The main points to note:

There really are no major points to know as this is a very basic exercise. Just place the resistance band above your knees and simply take sideways steps. You can also squat down while you’re doing the exercise as shown in the video.

Alternatively you can sit down on a bench with the resistance band above your knees and simply push your knees out for however many reps you need to feel the burn.

Kettlebell swings

Kettlebells are awesome. I usually include some type of exercise with a kettlebell when I’m doing my workouts. I love them because you can pretty much do the same things with them as you would with dumbbells and then some. Kettlebell swings are great for glutes and hamstrings, core, and shoulders depending on how high you swing the weight.

The main points to note:

  1. You’ll want to bend the knees slightly but most of the movement is going to come from hinging at the hips like you would during a deadlift.
  2. Swing back between your legs first to get momentum, then drive your hips forward to lift the kettlebell.
  3. The majority of the power in the swing comes from the lower body not the upper body.
  4. Be sure to brace your core and squeeze your glutes at the top of the swing.


Last but definitely not least is the most popular staple exercise, besides squats that is. Lunges work all of the same muscles as squats but they are slight more difficult because the weight is distributed on one leg and not two. It also requires a little bit of balance. But with a little practice you’ll be a lunge fanatic in no time. Whether you’re doing forward lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges, or curtsy lunges, expect to really feel them in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

The main points to note:

  1. Start with feet hip width apart.
  2. Take a big step forward, backward, or to the side and shift your weight in the same direction.
  3. The foot that you shift your weight on should stay flat on the ground, your heel shouldn’t rise.
  4. If doing forward or reverse lunges, lower you body until both legs form right angles.
  5. Engage your core and keep your chest up.


Have you tried any of these exercises before to get some curves? If so, leave a comment and let me know how they worked out for you. 

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2 responses to “The Top Exercises for Women to Gain Weight (and Curves)”

  1. Dwauna J says:

    This post was so helpful. I didn’t get lost or bored while making my way through this post. I enjoyed the video demos to go along with each exercise. Great work!

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