Strength Training for Beginners: 4 Must-Do Exercises

You’ve set the goal: You’re going to get stronger, so you can push, pull, lift and carry anything like it’s nothing. The problem is, if you’ve never picked up weights before, the look of dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells could leave you a little intimidated. Well, we’re here to save you some stress with the perfect set of starter exercises from Daily Burn’s Live to Fail trainer, Ben Booker. This strength training for beginners workout will help make everyday movements easier — all while building a more sculpted physique (win, win).

Keep both a heavier and lighter set of weights by your side, Booker suggests, so you can switch up or down depending on the difficulty of the movement. As a general kick-off point, Booker recommends women grab 5- to 10-pound weights and men pick up 10- to 20-pounders. If you can crush 14 reps no problem, it’s time to reach for the heavier set. Find your right size, then set yourself up for strength-building success with the four exercises below.

RELATED: Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First?

Strength Training for Beginners: 4 Exercises to Get Started

Grab your dumbbells and get ready to escalate your strength. These strength training for beginners moves form a solid foundation for weightlifting newbies. Booker recommends doing six to 15 reps, four sets each. If you’re lifting lighter weights, opt for the higher end of the rep range and if you’re going heavy, stick to lower numbers.

1. Squat

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead or just slightly outward. Grab a barbell and hold it on your back, grip dumbbells up by your shoulders or go straight bodyweight (a). Keeping your weight in your heels, send your hips back and your butt down toward the ground for the squat. Aim to keep your chest up (b). Press through your heels to stand back up (c). Repeat.

RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

2. Chest Press Glute Bridge

How to: Lie on the ground, knees bent and feet planted firmly on the floor (a). Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended overhead about shoulder-width apart and palms facing away from you. Push into your heels and raise your hips up toward the ceiling (b). Lower one arm to the floor, bending your elbow 90 degrees. The other arm stays straight overhead and hips remain lifted (c). Push the weight back up to the starting position (d). Repeat the movement on the opposite arm to complete 1 rep (e). Continue alternating.

RELATED: 8 Arm Exercises You Haven’t Done Before

3. Seated Tricep Extension

How to: Sitting on a bench or box, hold one dumbbell in each hand overhead, with palms facing each other and biceps by your ears (a). Keep your chest and head up and your back straight as your lower the weights behind your head, keeping your elbows in place (b). Straighten arms back up (c). Repeat.

RELATED: 3 Quick Triceps Exercises for Sculpted Arms

4. Single-Arm Row

How to: Stand behind a box or next to a bench, your right knee placed on top of it and the other foot behind you. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and hinge at the hips to place your right hand on the box or bench, so your back is almost parallel to the floor (a). Pull the weight back, elbow in close to your side, until it reaches your rib (b). Straighten it back out (c). Repeat, then switch sides.

For more strength-building exercises and full workouts, check out Daily Burn’s Live to Fail program at dailyburn.com/ltf. Sign up for your FREE trial today!

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