Before I started strength training regularly, I was pretty terrified of the weight room at the gym. I had no idea where to start, and I felt like everyone was staring at me and judging me for the exercises I was doing. When my previous trainer designed a beginner weightlifting plan for me, I was sure that I would hate it. But it was so simple and easy to follow — and it was the perfect introduction to strength training. I was hooked!
This program was what made me fall in love with weightlifting, and it was the very thing that sparked my weight loss. The best part is, it only requires dumbbells, so you don't have to worry about using a barbell or kettlebell as a beginner. If you want an introduction to strength training, this plan is perfect for you.
It's only three strength training sessions a week. You spend two days working on your lower body and one day on your upper body. The movements are pretty basic, so you don't need any prior experience in the gym to do them. Here's what the plan looks like. Keep in mind that 4x8 means four sets of eight reps. Rest in between each set for about 60-90 seconds.
Monday: Lower Body
You'll target the major muscle groups in your lower body, including and especially hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
- Alternating Step Back Lunge: 4x10 (10 reps on each leg)
- Goblet Squat: 4x10
- Dumbbell Deadlift: 4x12
- Split Lunge Jumps: 4x12
During the step back lunges, just hold the dumbbells at your side. As for the split lunge jumps, this is meant to get your heart rate up, so you don't need weights for that. Just use your bodyweight — trust me, it'll be enough!
Wednesday: Upper Body
There's a lot of ground to cover in the upper body, and these exercises will either target your shoulders, back, or chest. You're going to feel so strong and toned after you're done with this session!
Friday: Lower Body
This is your last lift of the week, and you're going to feel really accomplished after it's all over. The only additional equipment you'll need is a step or bench to elevate your back leg in the Bulgarian split squats. There are plenty of those at your gym. If you're doing this workout at home, just use a chair.
- Plie Squat: 4x12
- Bulgarian Split Squat: 4x12 (12 reps on each leg)
- Glute Bridge: 4x10
- Squat Jumps: 4x20
For the plie squat, hold one dumbbell at your chest, like you would with a goblet squat. You'll also use one dumbbell for the glute bridge exercise. Hold it on your lap as your push your hips upward. Finally, the squat jumps are meant to be performed with only your bodyweight. Enjoy the burn!
You don't have to do these workouts on the exact days listed above, but make sure you're giving your body at least one day rest in between the sessions (like Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). And if you can, fit in a couple cardio sessions as well. Your body needs both strength training and cardio to stay healthy and feel its very best.