It can be hard to know where to start if you're new to strength training. Searching around for advice brings up an intimidating mix of complex terminology and advanced routines for experienced lifters.
It's worth investing in one of the best kettlebells, as these cast-iron weights are incredibly versatile. But once you've got the equipment, it's crucial to find a workout that'll build muscle sustainably without injury.
Fortunately, Dr. Hazel Wallace's three-move beginners strength routine is ideal for practicing your form, working your muscles, and building up to more intense moves like barbell lifts.
In an Instagram video posted alongside the routine, she demonstrates each move, so you can perfect your form to train effectively and avoid injuring yourself, which is a common problem for newcomers.
Wallace, also known as the Food Medic, advises new strength trainers to practice goblet squats, kettlebell deadlifts, and push ups. These are compound exercises, moves that work multiple muscle areas.
Using these, you get stronger more quickly than if you only performed isolation exercises, those working a specific area like your arms, abs, or legs. As you're roping in your entire body, they burn more calories too.
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Kettlebells are ideal for this style of training. As the weight isn't centered around the handle, as a dumbbell would be, kettlebell exercises activate your core and develop stability.
Your core is an area of mid-body muscle around your abs, vital for progressing to more advanced strength training moves. Alongside better stability, a stronger core improves your performance, promotes blood flow, and prevents injury.
The push up also turns up in this three-move routine. Learning how to do a push up is an essential skill, but the full-body exercise also has strength training benefits.
According to Dr. Wallace, the push up "allows you to first master moving your body (and lifting your own weight!) before mastering a barbell or dumbbell."
If there's a heavy emphasis on easing into weights training, that's because it's all too easy to hurt yourself when starting, especially if you reach straight for heavy barbells without focusing on your form.
Learning how to lift weights is an integral part of any strength training program. Even if you've trained this way before, it's worth a refresher because minor adjustments to your posture can make a big difference.
Once you've mastered the basics, you can pick up one of the best adjustable dumbbells. You use these to make bodyweight moves more challenging or for building upper-body strength.
That's true of most dumbbells, but adjustable varieties allow you to change the weight quickly. So, as you get stronger, you can increase them or change them mid-routine if you prefer different loads for each move.
James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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