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Strength Training for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide with 4 Proven Strategies

Break Your Workout Rut: Simplify your workouts, improve your energy and start seeing results.

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut and unsure of where to begin, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with strength training for beginners.

The constant distractions and lack of structure make it hard to know where to begin.

In this post, we’ll break down strength training for beginners and make it easy to understand.

We’ll provide proven strength training strategies, simple warm-up routines, and tips for building long-term consistency.

In This Article

4 Strategies for Effective Strength Training for Beginners

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of starting a strength training routine?

Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. With some effort and dedication, you’ll be able to achieve your fitness goals.

Here are four simple steps to help you start a beginner strength training routine that fits your busy schedule.

1. Build A Personalized Strength Training Workout

A crucial aspect of strength training for beginners is customization. Tailoring a workout to your fitness level and goals and adding a solid warm-up is critical to seeing real progress.

A well-rounded strength training program should:

  • Include a thorough warm-up routine including whole body, mobility, and dynamic exercises
  • Slowly increases in difficulty over time with progressive overload programming
  • Include compound exercises from each category: hip hinge, squat, push, pull, rotate
  • Use exercise options that match your current skill level
  • Focus on improving weak and inflexible areas of your body

2. Pick The Right Equipment (For Your Environment)

If you’re new to resistance training and working out at home, there are many equipment options.

  • Resistance Bands
  • TRX Suspension Straps
  • Dumbbells
  • Barbells
  • Kettlebells

You’ll probably have these options if you’re using a commercial gym.

In this case, the equipment you choose will depend on the strength training program you’re following, your goals, and your current fitness level.

But if you’re working out at home, I’ve listed some pros and cons of different types of strength training equipment.

Resistance Band Training uses elastic bands for strength training
exercises with varying resistance levels.
Budget-friendly Versatile and can be used for a full-body workoutLimited resistance range Not as durable as other equipment
TRX Suspension Training uses adjustable straps anchored to a
stable surface for bodyweight strength training exercises.
Versatile and can be used for a full-body workout It can be set up
anywhere with a sturdy anchor point
More expensive than other equipment Limited resistance range
Barbell Training uses long metal bars for weight lifting
exercises, available in various weights.
Versatile and can be used for a full-body workout Adjustable resistance
It can be bulky and take up more space More expensive than other
Dumbbell Training involves handheld weights used for resistance
training, available in various weights.
Versatile and can be used for a full-body workout Adjustable resistance
It can be bulky and take up more space More expensive than other
Kettlebell Training involves cast-iron weights with handles used
for dynamic exercises, available in different weights.
Versatile and can be used for a full-body workout Compact and
More costly than other equipment Require proper form and technique to
avoid injury

You don’t need a lot of equipment to have a successful workout routine. You can use one type of equipment and still get great results.

Keep your budget and available space in mind, and start working out!

3. Review and Improve Your Form In Strength Training

Proper form is a cornerstone of strength training for beginners.

Although, as a beginner, it can be tough to know if you’re doing a strength training exercise correctly, even with online resources.

Hiring a professional coach or trainer is never a bad idea to ensure you’re moving safely and getting the best results. This way, you won’t get hurt or frustrated and will see progress faster.

However, if you can’t hire a coach, here’s a checklist for reviewing and improving your exercise form:

  1. Choose one exercise you’d like to improve.
  2. Record 3-5 reps of the exercise from the side with a lightweight phone or camera.
  3. Change the camera position to a rear or front view and repeat step #2.
  4. Review that footage & compare it against the correct exercise execution

Focus on improving the critical movement patterns like hip hinge, squat, push, pull, and rotation.

By focusing on these movement patterns, you’ll be able to perform most exercises more effectively and confidently.

4. Slowly Make Your Workouts Harder

Progressive overload is when you make your workouts harder over time to make your muscles stronger.

We’ve broken it down into a few simple steps for beginners in strength training.

1. Pick One Thing To Change – You can change how many sets you do, how many reps you do, or how heavy the weight is.

We use total training volume (TTV) to see how hard you work out. This is the total weight you lift during all your sets for one exercise.

Total Training Volume = Sets x Reps x Weight.

To keep making progress, you should slowly increase the TTV over time.

2. Slowly Make It Harder – Increase the intensity by 2-5% every few weeks.

Follow the “two-for-two” rule.

When you can do two extra reps with good form, it’s time to make it harder.

3. Train Close To Failure – Instead of pushing yourself to the limit every time, stop a few reps before failure.

This way, you’re still challenging yourself, but you’re also allowing your muscles to adapt and become stronger.

Gradually make your workout harder by leaving 2-4 reps in the tank and using slow, controlled movements to improve muscle tension.

Warm-Up 101: Essential Techniques in Strength Training for Beginners

An essential element of strength training for beginners is a proper warm-up.

Warming up properly before a workout is crucial for setting yourself up for success. We’ll review some simple and essential warm-up techniques to set you up for success!

To learn more about warm-up techniques, check out our post “3 Steps To Warm Up For The Perfect Workout.

1. Full-Body Cardio Exercise

A full-body cardio exercise helps get your blood flowing to all your muscles. As part of our comprehensive approach to strength training for beginners, warming up is key to prevent injuries.

Here are a few examples of full-body cardio exercises you can try:

  • Rowing
  • Jogging
  • Plyometrics
  • Power Walking

The goal is not to use up all your energy but to get the blood moving to your muscles and your heart rate elevated so you’re ready for the workout.

Coaching Tip: Select your preferred exercise and spend 2-5 minutes gradually increasing your heart rate.

2. Foam Rolling

Foam rollers are a way to give yourself a massage.

They help break up the tight layer of tissue that surrounds your muscles called fascia.

Muscle Fascia is a fibrous connective tissue surrounding your body’s muscles, bones, and organs. When the fascia becomes tight, it can restrict movement and cause pain.

This can help you move better and increase your range of motion during your workout because it helps to loosen tight fascia and increase blood flow.

Coaching Tip: Use a foam roller for 1-2 minutes on any muscle that feels tight or sore from a previous workout.

3. Movement-Specific Exercise

A movement-specific warm-up exercise is a way to prepare your body for a specific type of physical activity or movement. It helps to prevent injuries and improve your performance.

Here are some examples of movement-specific exercises you can do before your workout:

Upper Body Mobility Exercises:

Lower Body Mobility Exercises:

Don’t worry; you don’t have to do all these exercises before every workout.

Coaching Tip: Select 1-2 exercises that fit your needs and goals, and perform 1-2 sets of each.

Building a Sustainable Routine: Strength Training for Beginners

So you have some big goals in mind; that’s awesome! But it can take time to figure out where to start.

One helpful strategy is to break down your future goal into a smaller, actionable habit.

How To Turn Future Goals Into Habits

Let’s say your goal is to do a Spartan race, and you’re not really into long-distance running;

Here are some example habits you can start with:

  • 2x per week, go for a walk and complete 1 mile
  • 2x per week, jog a 0.25 mile
  • Do two lower-body mobility exercises 3x per week to move better

Doing these things every week (and making your distances longer little by little) will make you that much closer to being prepared for your first Spartan race!

Remember, it’s all about taking small steps to get there.

Coaching Tip: Instead of just thinking about your goal, break it down into small, daily habits that you can do.

3 Simple Tips for Staying Consistent in Strength Training for Beginner

Let’s be honest; we all have a lot going on. But consistency is still crucial for getting things done and reaching our goals.

No matter how busy life gets, these strategies will make it easy for you to stay on track and make consistency a habit.

1. Tell People Closest To You (Family, Friends, Partner)

It’s essential to let the people closest to you know what you’re doing.

Here’s why:

  • Let them know what you’re up to so they can understand your schedule and plan around it.
  • By telling them what you’re doing, you’re showing that it’s important to you and you’re serious about it.
  • Talking about your goals with your partner can help you stay accountable and on track in the long run.

So, make sure you let your family, friends, and partner know what you’re up to, so they can support you and you can stay on track.

2. Pick A Workout Frequency That Fits Your Schedule

I see it all the time. Beginners try to go from 0 to 100 with their strength training routine.

It’s easy to get excited and try to do too much, but this often leads to burnout and quitting altogether.

If you’ve never strength trained before, or you only workout a few times a week, don’t try to workout 4 or 5 times a week suddenly.

Remember, it’s better to start small and work your way up than to try to do too much at once and burn out.

Active Recovery is a type of exercise that is not very intense; it’s more like a low-key activity. It’s different from your regular strength training. Do something you like (I like to take long walks outside while listening to a podcast).

3. Make It Easier To Start Working Out By Eliminating Excuses

Sometimes, it’s easy to make excuses for why we can’t workout.

“I don’t have the right clothes,”

“I’m hungry but don’t know what to eat,”

“I don’t feel like coming up with a workout plan.”

Here are a few tricks to make getting started a breeze:

  • Lay out your workout clothes the night before
  • Prepare your coffee the night before (if you like to have coffee before working out)
  • Pack some snacks that you can eat before your workout
  • Queue up a playlist before you start your workout
  • Have a pre-planned workout routine so you don’t have to think about it

It might seem small and simple, but these little things can make a big difference in whether or not you workout.

Frequently Asked Questions About Strength Training for Beginners

Looking for more help getting started with strength training? I’ve curated answers to the most common questions here.

What Are Basic Strength Training Exercises For Beginners?

Master these five movement patterns: hip hinge, squat, push, pull, and rotate. Some exercises for each pattern include overhead presses, bench presses, front and back squats, split squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and rows. These will create a strong foundation for your strength training journey.

How Much Weight Should I Start With For Strength Training?

Aim for a weight that challenges you in the last 2-3 reps of a set. Start with a comfortable weight and increase as you get stronger. Consult a personal trainer or coach if unsure about the starting weight.

How Do I Know If I’m Using The Right Form For Strength Training Exercises?

To check your exercise form, record and review yourself, compare it to the correct form, and email me for a professional opinion. Consider hiring a certified personal trainer or coach for expert guidance.

You can also check out trusted online resources like Squat University or Biolayne Blog.

When Should I Increase Weight During My Strength Training Routine?

To increase weight during strength training, follow the 2-for-2 rule: add weight when you can do two extra reps with perfect form on two consecutive sets. Increase by 2-10% every few weeks based on progress.

How Important Is Nutrition For Strength Training?

For strength training, your nutrition plan should align with your goals. Aim for 1.8-2.4g of protein per kg of lean body weight, 14g of fiber per 1,000 calories, add more veggies, drink more water, and take a daily walk.

Don’t know your lean body weight? Use this range of 0.6g – 0.8g per pound of total body weight to calculate your estimated daily protein.

Ready To Start Your Strength Training Journey?

Find a structured routine that fits your schedule and stick to it for a few weeks. As you get stronger and more confident, you can add complexity.

Don’t try to go from couch potato to Olympic athlete overnight, or you’ll end up burnt out and back on the couch.

Keep it simple and focus on progress, not perfection. Embrace the journey of strength training for beginners and you’ll see how much you can achieve!

author avatar
Ant Mancini Founder, BS, CPT
I'm Ant, and I've worked in the health and fitness industry since 2010. I've successfully trained & helped hundreds of people get stronger, feel & move better. I love coaching others to their strongest self, and I'm pumped you're here.
Strength Daily does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.