Strength Training For Beginners

tricep dip exercise

Where Do I Start?

Getting started with new exercise plans like strength training can be confusing and may seem overwhelming at first. How many exercises should I do, and which many sets and reps are much weight should I try to lift?

  • You want to strength train two to three times a week, with at least one day of rest in between sessions. Start each session with a five-minute cardio warm up at an easy pace. This will help to get your blood flowing and reduce the chance of injury. 

  • There are many basic strength training exercises to choose from. The list we have provided below breaks the exercises down to their respective body parts. You should pick a total of six to eight exercises with at least one from each group. When you feel comfortable with your workout routine, you can challenge yourself by adding more weight or repetitions to make it more challenging. 

  • To build lean muscle and burn body fat, we recommend you try ann do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise. Use a weight heavy enough that you feel slightly tired when you are at your last 1-2 reps. You want to rest no more than 30 seconds between exercises and about 1 minute between sets.

  • If you are just trying to add muscle mass, you want to do 2-3 sets of heavier weights with less reps (8-10). 
strength training for beginners cartoon

Strength Training Exercises

Choose 6-8 Exercises from the list below. Make sure to select at least one from each area.

Muscle Group


Shoulders & Back



Core & Full Body


Dumbbell Fly - Push-Ups  

Chest Press

Bent Over Row - Overhead Press 

Lat Exercises

Bicep Curls - Hammer Curls

Tricep Kickback - Tricep Extension

Lunges - Front Squat

Dumbbell Squat  

Plank Exercise

Kettlebell Swing - Deadlift

If you haven't done any strength training exercises before, it is a good idea to start with a personal trainer for your first few sessions. They will help you with some important weight lifting fundamentals like proper breathing and using correct posture while you lift. They can also introduce you to popular and widely used exercises to help get you started.

Benefits of Strength Training for Beginners

  • Fat & Calorie Burning. Strength training will increase your metabolic rate. Studies show you can burn up to 20 calories a minute while you are strength training. But, as an added bonus, the new muscle you are building will help to keep your metabolism at a high level when your workout is over. This will have your body burning extra fat and calories for hours.
  • Strength and Muscle.  As you become more comfortable lifting weights, it's important to add new strength training exercises to your routine. Switching your exercises will confuse your muscles and keep them working at a high level.

  • Avoid Injuries. As you get stronger, you won't fatigue as fast, which will reduce the chance of you hurting yourself. 

  • Stronger Bones. We all lose bone mass as we age. Strength training can make your bones stronger and reduce the risk of osteoporosis (especially for women). 

  • Time Management. Strength training has been gaining popularity as people are seeing how much faster they can get done with their workouts. For many, the two-hour workout days at the gym are gone.
  • Balance and Posture: Strength training improves the coordination of muscles working together. The added strength will have a positive impact on your overall balance, especially as you get older. With the added shoulder and upper back strength, there will also be improved posture.

  • Anyone Can Strength Train: Whether you are a teen just starting out or a senior citizen deciding to try and prevent further muscle loss, strength training is good for everyone at any age and fitness level.

Other Tips

  • Begin with Light Weight - Many people, especially men, are tempted to choose a heavy weight thinking this will give them better results. But, the opposite is actually true. If you begin too heavy and haven't mastered proper form, you are going to hurt yourself. You can always move up as your skills improve.

  • Master Proper Form - Posture and stance are critical, using improper form can lead to serious injury. That is why it is important to begin with lighter weights and slowly increase over time. If you try to attempt new exercises with weights that are too heavy, you could end up hurting yourself.

  • Breathing - Don't hold your breath when you are doing an exercise, you need the extra oxygen in your bloodstream. Try and inhale on the easier phase, and breathe out on exertion.

  • Rest and Recovery - The rest days are just as important as the workout days. Strength training causes micro tears in your muscle fibers that actually repair themselves bigger and stronger, but the process will take 48 hours. 

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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