Weight training is important for everyone, as it offers so many benefits to suit everyone’s individual fitness goals. Strength training workouts give a big boost to your metabolism both for 1-2 days after your session, as well as improving it in general. The improved muscle strength and tone helps prevent injury and keeps your body in peak condition as you age. As well as helping you look your best, weight training’s health benefits can lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
However, it can be daunting to start this beneficial exercise for the first time, especially when you see massive guys at the gym who could comfortably bench you as a warmup. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to weight training for beginners.
Top 4 Weight Lifting Exercises for Beginners
Squats are great for beginners because your legs are already fairly strong from carrying around your own body weight all day. Your back and abs will see gains from squats too, so get to it!
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand. To find the right weight for you, start off just doing bodyweight squats and increase the weight when it feels too easy.
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
- Squat down (not too fast, or you can injure your knees and back) as low as you can, keeping your back straight and your abs tight.
- Push back up through your heels, tensing your glutes as well as you return to the start position.
This classic compound exercise engages multiple muscle groups at once, making your body work harder for better results. Here’s how to do a pushup correctly:
- Assume a prone position, your hands placed on the floor just outside shoulder width.
- Tighten your abs. This is important, as you need to actively engage muscles for your body to use them. You’ll feel the difference.
- Keep your body straight and lower your chest to just above the floor.
- Push back up to the starting position, your arms straight but not locked at the elbow (as this takes the weight off your muscles).
What’s harder than lifting weight? Holding it there! The plank proves it takes a lot of effort to look like you’re doing nothing. Here’s how it’s done:
- Get into a pushup position, then lower onto your forearms. Shift your weight forward or back so it feels even across your legs, core and arms.
- Straighten your back so your body is in a straight line from heel to shoulder, and tighten your abs.
- Hold for 60 seconds, or as long as you can, then have a short rest before going again.
Standing Dumbbell Press
Be wary of dropping weight onto your head with this exercise. If you feel like you can’t safely perform the lift, don’t do it.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, your feet shoulder width apart.
- Raise the dumbbells to head height with your elbows out.
- From this starting position, brace your abs and push the dumbbells straight overhead.
- Pause at the top and carefully lower the dumbbells back down.