A Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training

man doing strength training with dumbbell

Ask anyone who does it and they’ll tell you that strength training is a transformative journey that both sculpts the body and straightens the mind. It offers numerous benefits, from improved muscle tone to a better metabolism, and is truly a cornerstone of any fitness regime. 

If you’re interested in exploring strength training but have no idea where to start, look no further than our handy guide. Read on to learn more about weight lifting for beginners and how you can find success in the journey, no matter where you’re starting from.

What is Strength Training?

Man and woman doing strength training in gym

Weight training is a form of strength training in which participants use weights to engage and strengthen different muscle groups. It typically involves equipment like dumbbells and weight machines, which are incredibly effective for resistance.

The idea behind this is progressive overload, where muscles are gradually challenged with increased weight or resistance over time to surpass your starting strength. The end result? Everything from bigger muscles to higher endurance.

Many people think that weight training is just for athletes and bodybuilders, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter your age or fitness level, you can benefit from incorporating some weight training into your regular exercise routine.

What Equipment Do I Need?

woman doing exercise for arms

Each type of weight training equipment designed to target specific muscle groups. Strength training for beginners typically involves: 

  • Dumbbells: These small, handheld weights can use for many different types of weight training exercises, including lunges and bicep curls. The best dumbbell workouts target multiple muscle groups. 
  • Barbells: Barbells are long bars loaded with weight plates. They’re ideal for heavy lifting and any sort of compound movements that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. These are an excellent choice for any beginner gym workout. 
  • Weight Machines: The bread and butter of weight training, weight machines help guide your movement path and isolate specific muscles. Popular machines include the leg press, lat pulldown, and cable rows. 
  • Resistance Bands: These elastic bands offer resistance when stretched. They are lightweight, portable, and extremely useful for resistance training and stretching alike. 

While this list is far from exhaustive, it’s a great place to start if you’re jumping into weight training for the first time. 

But I Don’t Have Access to a Gym!

woman training with dumbbells

That’s perfectly okay. Engaging in weight training without access to a gym or specialized equipment is entirely possible—the key is in leveraging your body weight to create resistance. This can be done using everyday objects around the house.

For example, you can use filled water bottles in the place of dumbbells, or a loaded backpack as a weight vest for squats and lunges. With a little bit of creativity, you can perform just as well as you would at the gym.

And don’t forget about the bodyweight exercises! Activities like push-ups and pull-ups utilize your body weight to build strength and don’t require any special equipment. Resistance bands are a cost-effective alternative that can likewise simulate the resistance produced by heavier weights.

A good beginner weight lifting routine that doesn’t require gym equipment involves basic push-ups. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, then push back up to your starting position.

The Benefits of Weight Training

Man doing exercise using big tire

It should come as no surprise that weight training is good for you. But how exactly can it benefit your body and mind? 

Greater Muscular Strength and Endurance

The primary—and most obvious—benefit of weight lifting workouts is that they systematically challenge the muscles, boosting your strength and endurance. Regularly lifting weights will allow your muscle fibers to adapt and grow stronger over time.

To maximize growth potential, experts recommend performing a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions or taking the working muscle to fatigue. 

Improved Bone Density

In addition to muscle growth, weight-bearing exercises are great for increasing bone density. This can be especially beneficial for those suffering from age-related bone loss, as it can help prevent osteoporosis and fractures.

Higher Metabolic Rate

Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even when at rest. By increasing lean muscle mass through weight training, individuals can boost their basal metabolic rate (BMR), making it easier to maintain or lose weight. 

Chronic Disease Prevention

Weight training can have a positive impact on chronic disease prevention and management. It improves cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol levels, and boosting good cholesterol. 

Mental Health Benefits

Man and woman doing strength training with dumbbells

Believe it or not, weight training and weight lifting can work wonders for your mood. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve your self-esteem. In fact, one study found that strength training reduced anxiety by up to 20% in participants.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you need to be some exceptional athlete or have a gym membership to start weight training. You can get started today using nothing but your own body and common household objects.

Starting any new exercise regime can be a little scary, but don’t let fear hold you back! Whether you’re interested in weight training for women, weight training for beginners, or anything in between, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.

With some time and practice, you can be well on your way to a fitter body and improved mental health.

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