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November 16, 2018

26 Great Beginner Home Weight Training Exercises – Smart Fitness Results

What is weight training ?

Research published in the National Library of Medicine has shown 10 weeks of resistance training can increase lean muscle by 1.4 kg, increase the metabolic rate by 7 % and reduce fat by 1.8 kg.

 

Weight training is resistance training with the aim of building lean muscle, strength and reducing body fat. Resistance can be achieved thought the use of weights, resistance bands or bodyweight exercises.

 

Can I do weight training at home ?

The weight training workouts you will follow will depend on your level of experience and your overall fitness goals.

 

You can do weight training from the comfort of your home using weights, resistance bands or bodyweight exercises to increase strength, build lean muscle and lose body fat. 

How many days a week should I lift weights as a beginner ?

Research published in the US National Library of Medicine compared 2 groups training 3 times a week. One group did low frequency training, which is training each muscle group once a week, and the seconf group did high frequency training, which is training each muscle group 3 times a week. On average they found no significant differences in lean muscle and strength gains between the 2 groups.

 

Beginners should train at least 3 days a week and workout each muscle group once a week. This helps to maximize muscle and strength gains based on research undertaken and allows for recovery days.    

6 Weight Training Tips for Beginners

Look, strength training is one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll ever take in your life. You’ll get stronger, possibly lose body fat, get better health markers, and there really aren’t better friends than those big bulky dudes in the gym; they’re really nice actually. Regardless, here are a few tips that might help you in the beginning:

  1. Always maintain proper form. This will ensure you achieve maximum gains form the exercise performed and reduces the risk of injury. If you are struggling to maintain proper form reduce the weight or number of repetitions per set.
  2. Your first set is your lightest weight. Your first set should be the lightest weight as this is your warmup set to prepare your muscles for the more challenging sets to come.
  3. Do no more than 4 sets of 10 repetitions. As a beginner 4 sets is sufficient to receive the maximum benefits from the exercise. This will also ensure you avoid muscle fatigue from over-training a muscle group which can result in injury.
  4. Have at least a 30 second break between sets. This helps you regain your strength and the muscles groups to recover to gain the optimal benefits from doing the for the next set of the exercise.
  5. Do not train the same body area in consecutive days. Recovery days are needed after a weight training sessions to allow the muscles groups trained to heal and repair.
  6. Maintain a balanced diet. Dieting is just as important as exercise and you can achieve your fitness goals faster by focusing on both.

8 Great Beginner Home Weight Training Exercises with Dumbbells

We now give you 8 beginner exercises you can do form home. All you need is a pair of dumbbells. This step-by-step beginners guide for weight training that will work perfectly for both men and women.

1. Dumbbell Squat

Doing it right:

  1. Stand up with your feet a shoulder-length distance apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, straighten your back with head up and squat until the dumbbells are about an inch away from the floor.
  3. As you drop down, your position should not be leaning forward or backward. Rather the position should be like sitting down on a chair.
  4. Inhale as you go down.
  5. Exhale before going up to the starting position.
  6. Rinse and repeat but don’t overdo on your first day.

Why you need to do it:

If you want to build overall strength in your body, and also build muscle the dumbbell squat is a great all-around exercise to go for. In fact, all strength workouts (at least good ones) have some form of squatting, as it is the best way to develop the lower body. In fact, even if you don’t have dumbells, your bodyweight workout should contain the bodyweight squat too. Building strength is not possible if you don’t start with your legs. Still, many make common mistakes over and over again, neglecting the lower body in their workouts.

The low weight of the dumbbells is an excellent way of improving your range of movement. The technique of doing squats while holding on to two dumbbells is a good introduction to weight training that gradually builds your confidence to handle barbell squats later in a gym. Plus, dumbbell squats are much safer than barbell squats, and mastering them takes far less time.

2. Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Doing it right:

  1. Stand straight with both hands holding a dumbbell.
  2. Curl the dumbbells until shoulder level with the upper arms in a stationary position.
  3. Your elbows should not be moving as well, only the lower arms.
  4. At the point of contraction, squeeze your biceps tightly.
  5. Slowly lower down the dumbbells and repeat.

Why you need to do it:

When most people think about bodybuilding, the first thing that comes to their minds is doing biceps curls. This simple exercise is the iconic musclehead movement. It is simple to use, but it is incredibly effective. The biceps reach maximum growth when the upper arms are stationary as the lower hands do all the work. While lifting heavy is the goal, if you use too much weight, you will compromise form, lifting with other parts of your body, but not biceps.

3. Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Doing it right:

You can do this exercise in many ways, but we will choose the standing version.

  1. Stand up straight, holding a dumbbell in your hand raised above your head.
  2. Bend your elbow, and let the dumbbell slowly fall behind your head.
  3. Then, extend your elbow until your hand is straight.
  4. Complete the prescribed number of reps and switch hands.

Why you need to do it:

While many people focus on biceps, triceps are a much bigger muscle group, which is why they need more attention, as training them will get you better results when it comes to size.

The triceps extension is a very simple exercise to perform, which will hit your triceps hard, and help you develop thicker, better looking arms. Also, having strong triceps will help your other pushing movements, including bench and shoulder press.

You can also do triceps extension, as well as other strength training exercises, with resistance bands. They are great because they challenge your muscles in both ways, with more tension being created near the top of the movement, which is not the case with regular weights. Also, bands are fantastic as they are lightweight, making them an excellent traveling partner.

4. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Doing it right:

  1. Stand straight, feet a shoulder-length distance apart with each hand holding a lighter weight dumbbell.
  2. Slowly lift the hands with the dumbbells to the side of the body up to shoulder height.
  3. The dumbbells should not be raised above the shoulders. If you swing the weight of the dumbbells, you are not doing it properly.
  4. Let the strength of the arm carry the weight of the dumbbells up to shoulder height.
  5. Let this workout gain more lean muscles for you by making a perfect form by slow movements rather than letting the weights and gravity work for you.

Why you need to do it:

Shoulder strength and an overall toned upper body are what you gained from a lateral raise. The muscle building of the shoulders is worked and developed with this weight workout.

5. Dumbbell Step-up

Doing it right:

You need a strong bench or large box that can provide safety and stability before you do this workout.

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand, stand before a bench.
  2. Start with either your right or left foot, whichever is comfortable for you.
  3. Lift up the chosen foot to the bench and push your entire weight up using the strength of your foot’s heel.
  4. Step down on the opposite foot and repeat the workout using the other foot.

Why you need to do it:

Stepping up is a low-impact workout that works on all the muscles of the legs to include hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Since it’s a low-impact exercise, injuries that readily happen to the knees with some explosive and high-impact activities are avoided. Including this home workout as part of your training programs provides the optimum leg workout in just one move. If you want to challenge yourself, try doing this exercise with lighter weights, but for higher reps. You will really feel your heart racing, and you will lose fat while simultaneously building muscle. Because of this, and because step ups target hams ad glutes, they are perfect for any workout for women that aims to tighten the lower body.

6. Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk

Doing it right:

  1. The key to this workout is to hold heavy dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Heavy means that the dumbbells should be half your body weight if possible.
  3. All you need is to hold these heavy dumbbells on the sides as you stand straight, chest out, and shoulders straight.
  4. Take short but quick steps forward.

Why you need to do it:

This super easy workout strengthens your grip and stabilizes your shoulders and chest as well. Lifting heavier weights will be a lot easier when this workout is made part of a daily routine. Maintaining proper posture while walking will counter the all-day sitting, and holding heavy weights in your hands will also make your forearms much bigger. Plus, this exercise will turn on a calorie burn furnace, helping your weight management efforts. And because it is so simple to perform, it is one of the best exercises for beginners, and you should definitely add it to your strength training workout.

7. Dumbbell Calf Raises

Doing it right:

  1. Stand straight with each hand holding dumbbells at the sides.
  2. Contract the calves by raising the heels from the floor with the toes pointed forward.
  3. Return to the beginning position slowly and repeat.

Why you need to do it:

The legs get a better definition when the calves are particularly worked on. Strengthening the glutes and hamstring are also helped with this workout. Plus, calves are more often visible, as you are wearing shorts/skirts the whole summer, and developing them will get you better visual results than most lower body movements.

8. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses

Doing it right

  1. Stand straight or kneel with a straight back.
  2. Holding dumbbells in each hand raise them overhead.
  3. If your arms are fully extended, pause before slowly returning to the original position.
  4. Repeat and keep proper form.

Why you need to it:

Shoulder presses are probably the best exercise you can do at home in order to hit all shoulder heads. And, having broader, more defined shoulders will have a major impact on your overall physique, giving you a more balanced, symmetrical look. Also, training shoulders will make your waist appear slimmer, which is a plus if you are a bit overweight. Plus, because you are pushing weight above your head, shoulder presses also hit your triceps hard. Toned arms, shoulders, and abs are the end result of this workout that can either be done standing or kneeling. This workout also enhances grip strength.

Beginner Dumbbells Home Weight Training Workouts

Workout Day 1 – Lower body

Workout Day 2 – Upper Body

Workout day 3 – Full Body

8 Best Body Weight Exercises for Beginners

1. Squat

Doing it right:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and your toes slightly pointing outwards, about 20 degrees.
  2. Then, by bending the knees and around the hips. You will squat down until you reach a depth you are comfortable with.
  3. Then, complete the squat by standing up straight. That’s one rep.

* If you need more mobility, you could raise your heels by placing your heels on a block or another object, which will allow more depth.

Why you need to do it:

The Squat remains one of the best compound exercises available, meaning it will target multiple muscle groups whilst being performed. You will be squatting in one way or another for your entire life, sitting on the bus, or standing up from a meeting. It is important to keep the leg muscles active and functioning to cope with the stressors of daily life.

Squats can also help with core and back strength, and could potentially help relieve some back pain if performed correctly.

 

2. Glute Bridge

Doing it right:

  1. Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Slowly raise your hips off the ground, keeping your body straight.
  3. Once your body reaches a flat line with your knees, and only your upper back and feet are on the ground, you can lower your body back to the starting position.

* For stability, you can place your palms flat on the floor next to you.

Why you need to do it:

Glutes are not only the largest muscles in the body, but also important for keeping the core and hips stable. We use the glute muscles all day every day, walking, running, sitting up or down, and even when bending over to pick something up. It is thus imperative to keep them as healthy and strong as possible.

 

3. Stationary Lunge

Doing it right:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, whilst keeping one foot in the same position, step forward with the other.
  2. Step forward a bit further than a normal stride, and bend the stationary leg down deep until that knee touches the ground.
  3. The front leg’s knee will be bent at 90 degrees at this point.
  4. At this point, return the front leg to its original position, and repeat with the other leg. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

We take strides every single day, and having stronger muscles is going to allow you to remain injury free for longer. Lunges are extremely rewarding by strengthening all the muscles involved with everyday walking and striding, and could also help with core stability and lower back pain.

 

4. Push Up

Doing it right:

  1. Lie flat on the floor, your stomach on the floor.
  2. Place your hands (palms) on the floor beside your chest (10cm from either side), and whilst keeping your body straight, press your body upwards.
  3. Your Toes will ballast the other end of the body. In the end only your palms and toes should be touching the floor.
  4. Once your arms are straight, lower your body down again until you lie on the floor once again. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

Push ups are the movement most people start off with in their lives, and for good reason. We use our shoulders and arms every single day, all day long. Shoulders can get injured incredibly quickly, so strengthening them to handle the stress and force of everyday living is important. Push ups will not only train the shoulders, but the chest and triceps as well.

 

5. Pull Ups

Doing it right:

  1. Once you’ve founded a stable and secure object to do pull ups on, grab the bar slightly wider than shoulder width (Palms facing away from you).
  2. Then, as the name implies, pull yourself up.
  3. Draw the elbows towards the base of the spine.
  4. Once you can pull no further, or once your chin reaches the bar, lower your body the starting position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

A vast amount of people suffers from back pain daily, and an even larger amount of people work at computers or in an office. This means sitting slouched over, which could be very bad for the back muscles. Pull ups can help strengthen and maintain good posture, as well as build a great amount of muscles which can help protect you in daily life.

 

6. Mountain Climbers

Doing it right:

  1. Assume the push up position, standing on your hands and toes.
  2. Brace your core.
  3. With one leg remaining in place, bring the other knee up and towards your chest.
  4. Once you can no longer bring it any further, return the leg to the original position.
  5. Repeat on the other leg. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

Mountain Climbers are a great way to target the entire Abdominal muscle, and could even help with back pain. Having strong abdominals can help protect not only your organs, but also your spine. In the modern world we make use of chairs all day long, and training the core to be able to handle sudden changes is important.

 

7. Plank

Doing it right:

  1. Assume the push up position, but instead of standing on your hands, let your weight rest on your elbows and toes.
  2. You should feel tension throughout your body, but specifically on your stomach and lower back.
  3. Hold this position for an extended period of time.

Why you need to do it:

The Plank enables you to train not only the entire Abdominal muscle, but the Transverse Abdominals as well. The Transverse Abdominals can not only help keeping you upright and injury free, but some even claim it could help you appear slimmer.

 

8. Burpees

Doing it right:  

  1. Stand upright, with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. In one motion, squat down, kick or place your legs back, and assume the push up position, standing on your hands and toes.
  3. Do a push up.
  4. In one motion, stand upright again, and jump as you do so. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

There are multiple benefits to doing cardiovascular exercises, ranging from decreased cardiovascular disease, to lowering depression. Burpees are an excellent way to increase the heart rate, but also to train the whole body in one simple motion.

Beginner Bodyweight Home Weight Training Workouts

Workout Day 1 – Legs

Workout Day 2 – Upper Body

Workout Day 3 – Full body

10 Best Resistance Band Exercises for Beginners

1. Resistance Band Romanian Deadlift

Doing it Right:

  1. Stand on the band, with your feet shoulder width apart from one another.
  2. Grab the sides of the band, grip firmly, and stand up straight. There should be tension in the band.
  3. Then slowly drive your hips backwards, without bending your knees. Keep your back straight, and bend down as far as you comfortably can.
  4. It should feel like you’re sticking your butt out.
  5. Then, simply apply pressure through your hamstrings and glutes to push your hips forward and bring your body upright again. That’s one rep.

* The other way to do the RDL is by attaching the band to something solid in the ground, like a pole, and attaching the other end of the band around your hips. Move forward until the band has significant tension, and then execute the exercise in the same way.

Why you need to do it:

The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is the king of Posterior Chain exercises, and will build your back, hamstrings, and glutes. We live lives that place a great amount of stress on the posterior chain, sitting for multiple hours per day, and thus strengthening and bullet-proofing those muscles are important.

 

2. Resistance Band Deadlift

 

Doing it Right:

  1. Stand on the band, with your feet shoulder width apart from one another.
  2. Grab the sides of the band, grip firmly, and stand up straight.
  3. Then, squat down to a sitting position whilst still holding the band.
  4. Then, brace the core and stand up straight without bending the back. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

While the RDL is the King of Posterior exercises, the Normal Deadlift is the King of All exercises. This will also target your back, hamstrings, glutes, and your quads as well. If you do ever transition to free weights, the Deadlift is also very easy to overload, and see positive results from.

 

3. Resistance Band Squat

Doing it Right:

  1. Stand on the band, with your feet shoulder width apart from one another.
  2. Place the ban over your shoulders, like you would place a barbell across your shoulders.
  3. Then, squat down to a sitting position.
  4. Then, brace the core and stand up straight without bending the back. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

The Squat still remains one of the best exercises, especially if you want to target your lower body. You will undoubtably be squatting your entire life, whether it be sitting on a bus, or standing up from a meeting, having the functionality to be able to sit down and stand up pain free is vital.

 

4. Resistance Band Bent Over Row

Doing it Right:

  1. Stand on the band, with your feet shoulder width apart from one another.
  2. Grab the sides of the band, grip firmly, and stand up straight.
  3. Then, with a slight bend in the knees, extend the hips backwards so you bend over; make sure to not let the back round or bend. When you reach about 45 degrees, stop.
  4. Then, pull either side of the band towards your body; your elbows should be aiming towards the base of your spine.
  5. When you cannot pull any further, return your arms back to their straightened position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

Few exercises are hard to master, but have such a great feedback and reward when done correctly. Training the back is super important as any movement of the body does require the back in one way or another. Strengthening the back can help with functionality as well as safety.

 

5. Resistance Band Upper Back Row

Doing it Right:

  1. Sit down with your legs straight in front of you. Wrap the band around your feet, and grab either end of the other side of the band.
  2. Keeping your body upright, pull the band towards your chest, making sure the upper back is contributing to the pulling movement.
  3. When you can pull no further, return your arms to their straight position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

A strong upper back is not only a great tool against the battle of poor posture, but it can also help with daily life and habits, such as working at a desk or picking up various objects. The only way to train the upper back effectively is by doing a rowing motion which allows the scapula to contract fully.

 

6. Resistance Band Upright Row

Doing it Right:

  1. Stand on the band, with your feet shoulder width apart from one another.
  2. Grab the sides of the band, grip firmly, and stand up straight.
  3. While keeping the body upright, simply pull the band as high as you can. It is important that your elbows remain higher than your hands at all time. Also, a wider grip might be easier to do.
  4. Once you’ve rowed the band up as high as you safely can, return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

Shoulders can be very fragile, as since we use them all day every day, it is important that we train them. The Upright Row is an effective movement to train the shoulders, building muscle, and keeping you safe.

 

7. Resistance Band Shoulder Press

Doing it Right:

  1. Stand on the band, with your feet shoulder width apart from one another.
  2. Grab the sides of the band, grip firmly, and stand up straight.
  3. Then, bring the band up to your shoulders, and hold it within your hands and your palms facing upwards.
  4. Keeping the back straight, press the band overhead.
  5. Once your arms are straight, return to the original position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

A shoulder press movement or variation is another great tool to bulletproof your shoulders against injury. This movement is also the only variation that effectively trains the front part of the shoulders effectively.

 

8. Resistance Band Chest Press

Doing it Right:

  1. Lie down flat on the floor, with the band around your upper torso, chest area.
  2. Grab either ends of the band, and simply press them away from the body in a smooth fashion.
  3. When your arms are straight, return your arms down to their starting position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

Building a great chest isn’t as simple as it seems, and making sure you get a great mind to muscle connotation is key. Training with a band will allow you to build this connection, as well as allowing you to overload the muscle, enabling it to grow.

 

9. Resistance Band Bicep Curl

Doing it Right:

  1. Stand on the band, with your feet shoulder width apart from one another.
  2. Grab the sides of the band, grip firmly, and stand up straight.
  3. Without rocking the body or moving the elbows forward, simple curl the band upward toward your chest.
  4. When you reach the chest and can curl no further, return your arms to their original position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

Having big biceps don’t come cheap, you need to put in the work. Biceps, just like all other muscles, need to be trained in a full range of motion, and progressively overloaded in order to elicit growth. This movement will allow you to do both of those.

 

10. Resistance Band Triceps Extension

Doing it Right:

  1. Hang the bar over a fastened object overhead, like a pole or handle.
  2. Grab the sides of the band firmly, and without rocking the body or moving the elbows backwards or forwards, extend your arms downwards until your arms are straight.
  3. Then, return your arms to their original position. That’s one rep.

Why you need to do it:

The Triceps make up 70% of the upper arm, so it’s really important to strengthen them. Having strong triceps will allow you to carryover to a greater bench, shoulder press, and any other pushing movement you can think of. It’s also just very aesthetic when someone has larger triceps compared to their biceps, you just know they mean business.

Beginner Resistance Band Home Weight Training Workouts

Workout Day 1 – Pull Day

Workout Day 1 – Push Day

Workout Day 1 – Leg Day

Conclusion

Trying on weights can be a bit intimidating when you are new to strength training. The first thing that usually baffles novices is the proper weights to use along with the contortions that go with the weights. However, doing it at home slowly and gradually overcomes the initial fear about strength training. Doing further strength training at a gym will not be an overwhelming experience should you want to evolve into heavier equipment. But, if you still feel intimidated, it is the best approach to hire a personal trainer at the gym. They will show you how to execute the movements with proper form, and also help you develop a proper workout and meal plan.

 

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Joe (Qualified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist)


Joe Martin is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC) and Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-PST) with over 15 years’ experience in personal training and nutrition. Joe was also a former New York Giants Football Player and has his own fitness website Jerseyjoefitness.com

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