It takes a lot of courage to start something new. I love nothing more as a trainer than to see individuals surprise themselves by lifting more than they thought or becoming fitter than they anticipated.
Hopefully, this beginner’s strength routine takes the intimidation out of starting.
Beginner Strength Workout
Do each movement for 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. Take 30 – 60 seconds in between sets and complete all sets of one exercise before moving onto the next exercise. If you are brand new to exercise, work your way up to 2-3 sets. Start with one set the first week, then progress to 2 sets the second week.
This workout can be completed 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days. Try not to go more than 72 hours without some resistance training.
If you are new to strength training or have knee issues, a chair serves as a good guide for squat depth. Squats are a functional movement, and they use large muscles that’s why they rock.
We have to be able to get up from a seated position. Once you feel comfortable, remove the chair and continue to work on getting your hip crease at or below your knees (see picture below).
2. Incline Push-ups
Push-ups from the floor are very challenging when done correctly. So, find a chair, bench, or step to elevate your upper body.
Using an incline (instead of starting on our knees) keeps your abs and legs involved. Push-ups target more than just the chest and shoulders; that’s why they are so effective (and hard). Once you build that upper body strength, your goal is to gradually lower your starting position. A good way to do this at the gym is to use the Smith machine bar and track which notch you use.
3. Three Point Stance Row
To balance out the “push”, now you’ll perform a “pull.” The 3-point stance forces more core engagement than if you simply let your knee rest on the chair or bench.
It’s a slight variation, but I think you’ll appreciate the burn. Place your right hand on the chair and hold the dumbbell in your left. Lead with your left elbow, raising to about your shoulder. Then, lower back down. Do 10-12 reps on the left, then switch to the right. This exercise targets back and biceps in addition to abs.
4. Reverse lunge with dumbbell
Again, use a chair as a guide if you are new to strength training or need additional support balance.
Start with the dumbbell in your left hand, and hold the chair for support with your right. Step straight back with your left leg, then press through your right heel to return to standing. Do 10-12 reps with the left left leg, then switch sides. Lunges are a fabulous way to work the posterior chain (back side) of the leg!
4. Single Arm Shoulder Press
Another variation on a standard movement here. Instead of starting with the dumbbells resting on your shoulders, begin with them raised overhead.
Lower your left hand to your shoulder and raise back to starting position. Then, switch to the right side. With this slight variation, “resting position” just got a little bit harder! Do 10-12 reps on each arm for one set.
6. Single Arm Bicep Curl
Using a similar technique to the shoulder press, you are going to start with both dumbbells curled.
Start by lowering your left hand, then raise to starting position before alternating with your right. Again, “resting position” makes you work a little bit harder than starting with the dumbbells at your sides.
So, there you have it. Six moves targeting the upper and lower body as well as the core with a balance of push and pull.