If you want to learn about strength training without all the confusion, this guide to beginner’s strength training exercises is for you.
You’ve heard about all the life-changing rewards of strength training and the promise of a stronger, healthier body has got you thinking.
Maybe it’s time to give this whole lifting thing a try? After all, who wouldn’t want to be fitter, happier, and live longer? Not to mention empowered by strength and fat loss.
You’re ready – gym pass in hand – to take the leap.
But, you’re not quite one with the barbell yet and starting out in a loud, industrial factory sounding gym of experienced lifters still seems daunting.
Plus, you want to know exactly what you’re doing – no one wants to come across as the day one newbie.
Are we right? Save the sweat for your session later; we aren’t reading your mind right now. Everyone starts strength training in your shoes, so we know precisely how you’re feeling.
Luckily for you, years of research into lifting has already laid out the beginner’s blueprint. So, let’s get started with the best strength training exercises for beginners.
What is strength training?
Whenever we hear strength training, we typically imagine someone lifting weights.
It might be a strong, muscular hulk of a man dragging a double-bodyweight deadlift at the mercy of an arching, bending bar.
Maybe you see a professional athlete in the squat rack working through a complicated program – headphones on and laser-sharp focused.
The truth is, these scenarios are more for the serious specialist. Strength training is the simple idea of moving weight, then combining your movements with increasing intensity.
This is called employing progressive overload, a primary driver of musculoskeletal adaptations.
See strength training as the combination of movement with load. You’re even a load yourself because of the mass you carry, you don’t always need weights.
If you hit ten body squats right now, you’d be working toward strength training. Weights add a convenient way to challenge certain areas and increase how hard you must work. Go on, why not get started right away?
Why strength training?
Strength training isn’t just about getting stronger – it’s about improving almost every aspect of life. Health, happiness, and hormones can all be boosted by embracing lifting. The lean, powerful physique is also a plus.
1. Muscular strength
It should come as no surprise that strength training makes muscles stronger.
After all, the clue’s in the name. But stronger muscles aren’t just for the gym. They make everyday activities like unloading the trunk or picking up your kids easier and safer.
Strength training is also shown to increase testosterone, a vital hormone responsible for muscle growth and fat loss.
Play a sport? Being stronger could elevate your game. Getting a little older? Sarcopenia – aka muscle wastage – can be delayed.
It really is use it or lose it when muscle is involved.
2. Bone and connective tissue health
Strength training also holds some hidden secrets too. Not many people know it can increase bone density and connective tissue strength, making you less prone to injury.
You’ll be better prepared for whatever the world throws at you.
3. Live longer
Want to live forever – or just longer? Recent research suggests people who are weaker die younger, with overall strength being a key indicator of mortality.
Stay stronger to live longer, that’s our motto.
4. Stop obesity and lose weight
Plus, the simple act of lifting weights can burn fat both during and after a workout.
Muscle has a high energy demand compared to fat, meaning the more you have, the faster your metabolism (resting metabolic rate).
Constant calorie burning and lower obesity risk just from lifting? Count us in.
5. Healthier mind
Mental health is the talk of today, for good reason too.
How we feel about ourselves and our lives has a huge impact on our overall wellbeing, making looking after our mind just as important as our physique, if not more.
Who’d have thought lifting could help here too?
Strength training has been proven to help improve mental health markers; warding away depression, calming anxieties and creating a sense of empowerment.
Exercise is a great way to release energy, be in the moment, and prove to yourself just how powerful you really are.
What are the best strength training exercises for beginners?
By doing your research before striding out onto the gym floor you’re one step in front.
Starting out with advanced exercises or a pro bodybuilding workout lifted from a magazine is never a smart move, especially when the dreaded DOMS or injury kicks in.
But we’re with all the advice you need to stay safer.
Mastering these best beginner moves will give you a solid foundation to develop on for years to come.
Strength training is like building a house – first you set a faultless base; next you expand on top, again and again.
You’ll be setting yourself up for future success right from day one.
Feel free to turn this list into your own workout. Complete 8-15 reps of each exercise for three sets, around three to four times per week.
Rest as long as you need between each movement and choose a weight that’s challenging without compromising form.
Want to lose weight? Combine these exercises with a conservative calorie-controlled diet.
The importance of progressive overload
Progressive overload forces your muscles work harder and creates positive changes inside them.
One of these adaptations is making you physically stronger, which explains why weightlifting is often called strength training too.
If you didn’t keep challenging yourself, you’d hit a level of strength and stay there. Progressive overload ensures you keep getting fitter and stronger, faster!
Pushing your body to new heights is also a great tool for weight loss.
If you were to complete the same workouts time and time again, your body would adapt to it.
After a while it’d no longer be difficult, which means you’d probably need less energy to complete it.
Keep challenging yourself, on the other hand, and you should continue to bag a decent calorie burn.
Similarly, you’ll carry on building muscle, which will speed up your metabolism and promote fat loss.
Look to progressively overload in small (<10%) increments around each week or so.
Don’t worry if you’re not ready to step up, it’s always better to stay safe and wait until you’re strong enough.
Take a de-load week every sixth week or so to allow recuperation.
You don’t have to completely stop strength training, just pull back the volume slightly and lower the load.
The bottom line
Starting strength training could improve almost every aspect of life. What you’re deciding to do will not only make you fitter and healthier, but potentially happier and stronger in mind too.
You can even take what you’ve learned today and get started right away.
Remember – everybody starts somewhere. Forget any loud lifters clogging up the free weights section, this is now your domain.
Start steady and use a journal to track your progress. It’ll ensure you’re using progressive overload and act as a great motivator over the years.
There’s nothing quite like looking back and seeing all your hard work in black and white.
Combine these exercises with a calorie-controlled diet if you want to lose weight.
Compound exercises usually burn extra calories compared to isolation moves, so make them the bulk of your workout. As always, get in touch if you have any questions – we’re with you every step of the way.