Four Easy Ways to Get into Strength Training  

by | May 16, 2022 | Health

There are so many amazing benefits to strength training, other than just looking shredded. It’s great for your heart, bones, and is an amazing stress reliever. But if you’ve ever seen a weight room full of machines, you know it can look intimidating when you don’t know how to use everything (or anything!).  

Fear no more! Strength training isn’t just weight machines and rippling muscles in tank tops. It’s whole-body exercises that strengthen your muscles, bones, and heart. And the best part is you don’t need machines to do it (although they do allow for more variety). Read on for four easy ways to start weight training. 

Bodyweight Exercises 

The easiest way to start your weight training journey is to use the weight you already have … your own body! This is a great first step for anyone who has been wanting to try strength training. It requires no added storage space, and it’s totally free … a win-win all around. 

Bodyweight exercises are often debated in the world of fitness. Many people who prefer using free weights (more on that later) to isolate muscle groups feel bodyweight exercises can’t achieve the same results. However, most everyone concedes that bodyweight training is better for a strong core, overall fitness, and is just plain convenient.  

Bodyweight exercises to try: 

  • Push-ups 
  • Lunges 
  • Planks 
  • Sit-ups 
  • Squats 
  • Step-ups 
  • Tricep dips 

As you progress in your fitness journey, weights can be added to all of these for added resistance if you feel you need it or just increase the number of reps you’re doing. Here’s a 30-minute guided video to help you through it.

Simple Circuit 

Circuit training is when you choose four to six exercises and perform them for a certain amount of time (usually 30 seconds to a minute) rather than count reps. During your workout session, you’ll perform each set back-to-back with as little rest time as possible (great for getting your heart rate up!). Once you’ve finished one circuit, you’ll rest for a few minutes and do it again. Most trainers recommend doing these for a set time, like 30 minutes, for maximum benefits.  

These are great for strength training as you can pack in as many of your favorite moves as you’d like, with any amount of equipment. Have no equipment? Choose a bodyweight circuit. Want to do it outside? Tailor it around your environment. There’s no reason to let your equipment or location stop your training. 

Here’s an example circuit to get you started: 

  1. 30 seconds of push-ups 
  2. 30 seconds of lunges (hold hand weights to take it up a notch) 
  3. 30 seconds of mountain climbers 
  4. 30 second plank 
  5. 1 minute of jump rope 
  6. 1 minute rest 
  7. Repeat 

Free Weights 

Using free weights (or hand weights, also known as dumbbells) are a great way to customize your workout to fit your needs. Fortunately, many of us have a set of dumbbells hanging around our home from the last time we made a New Year’s resolution, but they’re also found in every gym near you. 

The benefit of free weights is you can change how much you’re lifting depending on the muscle group you’re using. For example, you’ll likely be able to lift more doing biceps curls than shoulder flies, so switch weights depending on your exercise.  

Here are a few dumbbell-friendly exercises

  • Bicep curls 
  • Shoulder presses 
  • Bent-over rows 
  • Hammer curls 
  • Dumbbell presses 

Follow along with an example here.

Focus on Form 

The most important thing to remember when strength training is to always have good form. Before completing any exercise, do a quick search on YouTube™ to see how professionals recommend doing an exercise. While lifting heavy weights might seem easy, there are lots of ways you can accidentally hurt yourself. Never sacrifice form for lifting more weight. Your workouts might feel good now but can really hurt later if you strain a muscle. 

Strength training isn’t just for body builders … its benefits far outweigh just looking ripped. Strength training fortifies bones, strengthens your heart and lungs, and can keep your mind sharp into your older years. Don’t worry if you aren’t benching 200 pounds. Listen to your body, and you will be a master of muscles in no time. 

Did you know that exercising can help you sleep better? It’s true! Here are some more ways to catch more zzz’s!