The Easiest Lifts For Beginners To Start Strength Training

Strength training, resistance training, weight training ... All of these exercises are similar types of workouts that focus on building up your muscles. As strength and conditioning coach Kate Whapples of Yumi Nutrition explained to Women's Health, these movements can help you "build muscle mass and can use many different types of training." 

The traditional form of this type of exercise "relies on isolating muscles one at a time, to take them to fatigue," trainer and Total Body Studio founder Chiara Lewis said to Women's Health. When you're just starting out, though, it's a good idea to focus on compound exercises, which use multiple muscle groups until you've built up enough strength.

People who are looking to begin a strength training routine may want to consider these lifts. The movements are fairly simple to execute, but they're also super effective for gaining muscle and overall strength. And who doesn't want that?

A row and a chest press hit your shoulders, upper back, chest, and more

Two go-to movements are a popular push and pull: the row and the chest press.

For a single-arm dumbbell row, put one hand and/or knee on a bench, with your opposite hand holding a weight below your shoulder. Pull your elbow up towards your rib, squeezing your back and shoulder muscles, lower it, and repeat. After one set, switch sides/hands, explains Healthline. This move, as stated by Shape, works your back, lats, and traps. "Just remember that there should be zero momentum or swinging," Beachbody Super Trainer Joel Freeman said to Shape. You also need to keep your back flat, with a 45-degree bend at your hips.

You can use dumbbells for a chest press, as well, by lying on a bench with one in each hand. Push them up, extending your arms directly above you/over your shoulders. Bring them back down and repeat, per Healthline. "It's a compound movement, meaning that it's also working your anterior deltoids and triceps throughout the movement," Freeman said to Shape.

A curl and a tricep extension work the fronts and backs of your arms

Of course, you'll probably be doing some tri and bi work when strength training, too.

For a bicep curl, hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms up, and bring them up towards your shoulders. Extend your arms back down, and repeat, advises Healthline. To target the triceps, sit or stand, while holding a dumbbell around the handle, with both hands. Lift it up over your head, with your elbows by your ears, bend your arms to a 90-degree angle, straighten your arms back up again, and repeat, per Healthline.

Beachbody Super Trainer Joel Freeman's advice for both of these lifts is to not swing your arms. "Think about trying to pin your elbows at your sides and lift the dumbbell up completely with your biceps," he explained to Shape. When discussing a tricep extension, he added that "the only thing that should be moving is your elbow to straighten your arm, squeezing your triceps at the top."

A lunge and a squat both strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes

When focusing on the lower body during strength training, many opt for a lunge and/or squats.

For a lunge, you'll stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then you'll take a big step forward with one leg. You'll lower down, making your thigh parallel to the floor. You'll then return back to your starting position, and repeat with the other leg (per Healthline).

A squat also starts with feet shoulder-width apart and involves you bending down (while keeping your chest up) so that both thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat.

As stated by Beachbody Super Trainer Joel Freeman, these can be done without weights and should be at first. "If you're newer or returning to exercise, it's often best to start with bodyweight only and focus completely on flexibility and proper form," Freeman explained to Shape. After a while, you can add dumbbells in one hand each or both hands.