Start Strength Training With These 5 Exercises

When I walked into the weight room at the gym for the first time five years ago, I felt completely uncomfortable. Overwhelmed by the amount of equipment and unsure where to begin, I quickly backtracked to the cardio section of the gym and returned to my old standby, the treadmill.

Like many gym-goers, I didn’t have a clue where to start when it came to weights. Determined to try again, I consulted my friends who lift and came up with a list of beginner strength training movements to try.

With a plan ready, I stepped into the weight section the next day with more confidence. Since then, I’m happy to report that I’ve learned even more exercises and have increased my strength and flexibility substantially with one to two strength training sessions per week.

Not only do I love the look of my toned arms and abs (something you just can’t get no matter how many miles you run), I’m also proud that I’m reaping the long-term health benefits of consistent strength training.

Are you also wary of the weight section? Practice some of the exercises below and feel stronger — both mentally and physically — next time you hit the gym.


One of the most time-tested and classic exercises, the push-up is a versatile full-body exercise perfect for all fitness levels. If you’re unable to complete a full push-up on your feet, try starting with your knees on the floor.

As you improve, consider elevating one leg, putting your feet on a Bosu ball, narrowing the width between your hands, or trying another variation.

For a demonstration of this exercise, click here.


Use dumbbells or a barbell to complete this complex yet simple exercise and feel the muscles in your core, back and hamstrings fire up with each repetition. Be sure to keep your shoulders back, feet stable and spine straight as you slowly bend down and up at your waist.

Keep your weight back in your heels, not in your toes — and don’t be afraid to ask someone to check your form as you try this functional movement that requires solid form.

For a demonstration of this exercise, click here.

Kettlebell Swing

Boost your core strength and stability with this beginner strength training movement. Kettlebell swings will strengthen your abs, back and shoulders while also getting your heart rate up.

Make sure to start with light weights until you’re confident that your hips and shoulders are opening properly during each repetition.

For a demonstration of this exercise, click here.


Build back and bicep strength with this classic exercise. Most gyms have assisted pull-up machines that allow you to slowly work toward completing a pull-up on your own. Try alternating your grip (with palms facing inward and outward) to work different muscles.

For a demonstration of this exercise, click here.

Back Squat

The squat is a classic exercise that you can modify in dozens of ways. Start by practicing the movement with just your body weight, and then add dumbbells as you build strength.

Work your way up to using a barbell balanced across your shoulders for a more full-body workout that targets your back and legs. Switch things up by incorporating unweighted jump squats, which will boost both strength and cardio.

For a demonstration of this exercise, click here.

Ready to get started? Try completing three sets of ten reps of each of these beginner strength exercises next time you’re at the gym and see your fitness level improve. Paired with the proper nutrition, you’ll boost your overall health and well-being in no time!

Consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.

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