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5 Weight Lifting Exercises for Absolute Beginners

The month of fitness is January. Despite the fact that gyms are closed in the majority of countries due to New Year’s Resolutions, more people than ever are hopping on the exercise and weight-loss bandwagon.

Since the gym-phobia pandemic, the majority of people have switched to home-training (many of you Lifehack readers may even have bought my Busy Yet Fit Home Workouts video course), and now, eager for faster results, they are stocking up on dumbbells and barbells to spice up their workouts at home.

The natural next step to promote muscle growth, burn more calories, and improve overall strength is to incorporate beginner-friendly weight lifting exercises into a straightforward bodyweight regimen.

The flip side of the coin is that improperly performed weightlifting exercises can result in severe injuries, and some workouts may not be very efficient, wasting your time while doing something that doesn’t actually benefit you.

For the aforementioned reasons, I’ll share with you my top 5 weightlifting moves that are also the easiest to learn and that every novice should master before moving on to more difficult routines.

Nothing beats having a trainer watch your movements, so take note. When I sign up a new client for one of my programs, I frequently have to spend a lot of time correcting risky movement patterns or sore, tight joints. Please refrain from attempting to carry big weights on your own if you have neck, shoulder, or lower back pain or are concerned about your posture.

Weight Training Fundamentals You Should Know

If you intend to lift weights, you should become familiar with the following fundamental “gym lingo.”

“Repetition” or “rep” for short is the term used to describe one weightlifting motion or exercise movement. A “set of reps” or simply “a set” refers to a set of repetitions.

Three sets of ten repetitions of an exercise, sometimes represented as 310—for instance, three sets of ten squats—is a typical exercise prescription for beginners.

To gain a feel for the exercise at first, try one or two repetitions with a light weight. Then, attempt performing up to 10 reps in a row (one set).

For comfort with useful intensity, experiment with lighter or larger weights. You might be lifting too much weight if you can only complete less than eight reps. Even though some programs for strength endurance use this many reps, if you can perform more than 12 repetitions without exerting yourself, say 20, you might need to increase the weight. This is true for all exercises mentioned.

In order for your body to restore its energy system for the following round, you need take a break in between sets. Depending on the weight and intensity, the interval between sets can be as little as 60 seconds or as long as five minutes. For a ten rep set with a moderate to low intensity, one to two minutes of rest is typically sufficient.

Safety Basics You Need to Know

You must take caution when engaging in strenuous exercise, particularly weight lifting exercises, as poor techniques can result in accidents.

Back rounded

Exercises like the squat, leg press, and deadlift call for motions that exert pressure on the spine in ways that can lead to injury, especially to the lumbar or lower spine. It cannot be overstated how crucial it is to maintain the neutral position of the spine throughout such activities, especially for novices. Please, no rounded backs.


Pushing a joint beyond its usual range of motion is known as hyperextension. When ligaments and tendons are overstretched due to excessive joint movement, this could result in damage. Due to this worry, it is frequently advised against locking out the knees or the elbows when performing any number of weightlifting exercises.

Okay, enough of the dull details. Let’s get to the meat now, or should I say “get to the iron,” shall we?

Movement Compounds

These are the main exercises that you would typically use a bar or dumbbells for. Compound movements are those that involve many joints at once and a significant number of muscles, making them the exercises of choice.

Compound movements are the major focus of every effective weight lifting training program for beginners in order to develop a strong foundation of overall strength and muscular growth.

1. Squat

The squat lift exercise is undoubtedly one of the best weight lifting exercises overall for enhancing the power and strength of the legs and lower body. It takes significant coaching and experience to safely master this compound exercise because it works several muscles and joints at once.

Squats increase the power, endurance, and strength of the lower body muscles. In addition, they strengthen the trunk and upper body as well as engage the core.

2. Chest Press

The pectorals, the primary chest muscle, are the focus of this workout. Additionally, it makes use of the triceps brachii and the anterior deltoids of the shoulder.

Building chest support and definition is desirable for a fit appearance, but it also serves practical purposes. For sports requiring the use of a bat, racket, or club, strong pecs are a necessity for power. You benefit from the chest press in all daily tasks that involve pushing or carrying.

3. Deadlift

The deadlift is a fantastic exercise for developing attractive legs and a flat back. In a deadlift, you lift the weight from the floor to thigh level with the help of most of your body’s main muscular groups, primarily your leg and hip muscles.

Although dumbbells can be used, the deadlift is often performed using a bar and plates or a stationary barbell. Weight training for general fitness should not disregard this powerlifting specialization. Make the deadlift a component of your strength training routines to develop muscle and functional fitness.

4. Overhead Press

The dumbbell overhead press works the shoulders more intensely while also including the core for stability. Dumbbells can be rotated in a hammer grip or held horizontally at the shoulders to perform it while standing or seated. While standing engages a broader variety of muscles, sitting assists in stabilizing the back.

Beginners should begin with small weights and gradually increase them until they discover a weight that they can lift ten times with proper form before becoming weary. Men and women may begin with 10-pound weights and 5-pound dumbbells, respectively. This exercise can be incorporated into any upper body strength routine.

5. Lat Pulldown

Since the majority of novices won’t be able to pull themselves up, the lat pulldown machine is a wonderful place to start when trying to develop your back muscles. The pulldown exercise targets the latissimus dorsi, also known as the “lats,” which are back muscles. It is carried out at a desk with a variable resistance—typically plates.

You pull a hanging bar toward you until it is at chin level while sitting with your upper thighs restrained beneath a thigh pad. You then controllably raise the bar back up again for one repeat. You can perform this workout to get a V-shaped back.

What About Exercises for Body Sculpting?

How do I get rid of my flabby arms? is a common query I receive. or “how can I get rid of my love handles or inner thighs?”

The harsh reality is that despite valiant efforts, concentrating on minor body parts is ineffective. Spending a lot of time working your biceps, stomach, or obliques as a novice won’t give you the body you want.

Long-term improvement can be ensured by concentrating on developing a lot of strength and a strong base of muscle with compound motions while also including some posture corrective exercises. Therefore, for the first six to twelve months of weight training, your primary concentration should be on the five weight lifting exercises I described above.

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