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By Kat Ottobre
Dare Product and Lifestyle Specialist

If you’re searching “strength training for beginners” we have good news for you. As a beginner, you’re going to make gains a lot more easily than those who have been training for years. In this sense, you have an advantage!

The start of a training journey can be really fun, as you gain muscle and change shape more rapidly than at other times. Strength training for beginners is all about learning movements and loading the muscles to grow.

As you’re new to building muscle, any weight exercises will grow your muscles but knowing where to start is usually the tricky bit. This short guide to strength training for beginners will walk you through how to get going.

The basics: Understanding strength training

Strength training focuses on building strength and increasing muscle mass. 

It involves performing exercises that target specific muscle groups, using resistance to challenge and overload the muscles. This resistance can come from various sources, such as free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or even your own body weight.

One of the key principles of strength training is progressive overload. This means gradually increasing the intensity or difficulty of your workouts over time to continue challenging your muscles and stimulating growth. 

It’s important to start with a weight or resistance level that allows you to perform the exercises with proper form, and then gradually increase the load as your muscles adapt and become stronger. As a beginner, you’ll be able to build muscle with relatively low weight, but proper form is vital as it will set the foundations for your future lifting career.

Essential strength training exercises for beginners

Now that you have a better understanding of strength training, it’s time to learn about some essential strength training exercises that can be great for beginners.

  1. Squats: Squats are a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles in your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body by bending your knees, and then push through your heels to return to the starting position. You can start this movement body weight and build up to adding weight.
  2. Deadlifts: Deadlifts are another compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including your back, glutes, and hamstrings. To perform a deadlift, stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend at your hips and knees to grip the barbell, and then lift the weight by extending your hips and knees.
  3. Bench Press: The bench press is a classic upper body exercise that primarily targets your chest muscles, as well as your triceps and shoulders. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor, grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and lower the weight to your chest before pushing it back up to the starting position.
  4. Overhead Press: The overhead press is a compound exercise that targets your shoulder muscles, as well as your triceps and upper back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a barbell or dumbbells at shoulder level, and press the weight overhead while keeping your core engaged.
  5. Plank: The plank is a core-strengthening exercise that targets your abs, back, and stabiliser muscles. Start in a push-up position, with your forearms on the ground and your body in a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.

Proper technique and form in strength training

When it comes to strength training, proper technique and form are crucial for maximising results and preventing injuries. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Start with light weights: When learning a new exercise or movement pattern, it’s important to start with lighter weights or resistance to ensure you can perform the exercise with proper form. This will help you establish good movement patterns and prevent unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints.
  2. Focus on breathing: Breathing is essential for maintaining core stability and maximising performance. Inhale before you begin the movement, exhale as you exert force or lift the weight, and inhale again as you return to the starting position.
  3. Engage your core: Your core muscles, including your abdominals and lower back, play a crucial role in stabilising your body during strength training. Focus on engaging your core by drawing your belly button towards your spine and maintaining a neutral spine position throughout the exercise.
  4. Use a full range of motion: Performing exercises through a full range of motion allows you to target the muscles more effectively and improve flexibility. Avoid partial reps or using momentum to lift the weight. Instead, focus on controlled, smooth movements, and aim to go through the full range of motion for each exercise. This might mean that you need to use bodyweight to start with, and that’s okay.
  5. Seek professional guidance: If you’re new to strength training or unsure about proper technique, it can be beneficial to seek guidance from a coach. DARE. coaches start by assessing your form and guide you towards safe and effective workouts as a beginner.

Ready to kickstart your strength training journey? Contact us now to learn more.