Keyword(s): Primary keyword: strength training for beginners Secondary keywords: beginner dumbbell workout, buying weights, how much should i lift, weights for beginners, beginner dumbbell workout routine
Strength training is one of the biggest fitness trends right now.
As well as building muscle, it also gives you stronger bones, improves your metabolism and even helps you live longer. Whether you're looking to improve your health or simply look better naked, there are lots of reasons to start lifting weights.
Before you do, take a look at our checklist for strength training for beginners.
You'll need more than just a pair of dumbbells to get a great workout. Read on to find out what else you should have before you start.
The Best Equipment for Strength Training for Beginners
With these essential items, you'll be ready to get started on your strength training journey.
The first step for strength training newbies is buying weights.
A set of dumbbells can be surprisingly versatile. You can perform a huge variety of exercises with them.
They're great for joint isolation exercises like bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, shoulder presses, chest flyes and upright rows. However, they can also be used for more complex movements, such as dumbbell snatches, cleans, jerks, and lunges.
With a little bit of research and planning, you can put together a varied beginner dumbbell workout routine with these weights alone.
2. A Dumbbell Rack
You'll need somewhere to store your dumbbells, so make sure you purchase a dumbbell rack, too.
Without one, your gym space will look messy and cluttered. It will also pose a safety risk. If dumbbells are left lying around on the floor, they can easily be tripped over.
In many cases, a rack sold with the weights as part of a package. Shop around for a good deal.
Kettlebells are entirely different from dumbbells. Not only because of their shape but also because they pose a new set of challenges and enable you to perform different types of lifts.
Unlike dumbbells, kettlebells are unbalanced. This makes them more functional and means that they are more challenging for balance and core strength.
Their smooth handles allow you to move them easily through your grip, which is perfect for dynamic movements like Turkish get-ups, and kettlebell swings.
4. A Foam Roller
All that lifting is bound to make your muscles tight and sore.
In an ideal world, you'd be able to get a massage for that. However, most of us don't have the time or money for that luxury. That's why you'll need a foam roller.
A foam roller allows you to apply pressure to your muscles using your body weight. This will smooth out the knots and tension, so you can recover more quickly. This process is called myofascial release and has huge benefits for your body.
5. A Medicine Ball
If you get bored of free weight exercises, try using a medicine ball.
This handy tool is great for core workouts. You can incorporate into just about any ab exercise to make it more challenging. Grab one for sit-ups, leg raises and Russian twists, and you'll feel the difference.
To test your muscular endurance, try doing an L-sit against a wall while holding a medicine ball out in front of you, and hold that position for as long as you can.
6. A Pull Up Bar
Pull-ups are one of the most important exercises for strength training. They're also one of the most difficult.
No matter how heavy you can lift or how often you train, you won't be able to do them unless you practice. Install a pull-up bar in your home gym, and you can work on it as often as you need to.
Once you master the strict pull-up, you can move on to more complex variations.
7. Floor Mats
No gym is complete without floor mats.
Lifting heavy weights can be dangerous without proper flooring. You need something that will reduce impact and protect against damage while still being strong and stable.
If you can, lay down some interlocking foam mats throughout your workout area. If that's not doable, you can use thick yoga mats to make bodyweight exercises more comfortable.
8. A Barbell
As well as dumbbells and kettlebells, you'll also need a barbell.
The most fundamental lifts, squat, bench press and deadlift, all require this essential equipment. These exercises should be the foundation of your workout routine.
9. Weight Plates
Of course, you'll need some plates to put on your barbell.
There are a variety of types out there, including cast iron plates, vinyl plates, Olympic plates, round plates, and plates with cut-outs for grip.
The right type for you will depend on the type of lifting you prefer to do, as well as the aesthetic of your gym.
10. A Protein Shaker
To make the most of your strength training, you'll have to get your diet in check. Most importantly, you'll need to make sure you get enough protein.
If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet through food alone, you should be supplementing with whey protein (or plant-based protein powder, if you prefer). Add it to milk or water, and you can drink it as soon as you finish training.
You can only do that if you have a protein shaker. These specialized bottles distribute the powder evenly through your shake, so you don't get any clumps at the bottom. They also have a tight protective seal to stop any leakages while you're shaking.
Build a Stronger, Better You with a Home Gym
You don't need to shell out for over-priced gym memberships or personal trainers in order to get jacked.
When you go to a gym, you have to spend time and money commuting, and once you get there, wait around to use the equipment. Instead, just buy what you need, and you'll have free reign to work out how you want and when you want.
With the equipment on this list, you can put together a great program of strength training for beginners. You can build endless combinations for full-body workouts, all in the comfort of your own home.
For more information, read our post on why you should buy home fitness equipment.