Strength Training for Beginners

Welcome to the world of strength training, where the weights might be intimidating (at first), but the rewards are massive. If you’re looking to boost your sports performance, prevent injuries, or just get stronger, you’re in the right place. Let’s break down the basics of strength training in a way that’s simple, fun, and totally doable. No muscle-mania required—just a willingness to learn and grow those muscles!

What is Strength Training?

Strength training, also known as resistance training, involves using resistance to induce muscular contraction, which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. 

From free weights to machines to bodyweight exercises, there are plenty of ways to engage in strength training. And the best part? You can tailor it to fit your goals, preferences, and lifestyle.

Why should you care about lifting weights?

Before we dive into the "how," let's talk about the "why." Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders or athletes; it’s for everyone. Here are a few reasons why you should make it a part of your routine:


Improved Muscle Strength and Tone

Who doesn’t want to feel stronger and more capable in everyday life? By implanting a progressive overload in your strength training, you will create the stimulus for increased muscle size, strength, and endurance.

Boosted Metabolic Rate

More muscle means your body burns more calories at rest – they are greedy like that which in turn has a positive effect on your overall metabolism whilst at the same time, having a negative effect on your bank balance! That extra food must be bought with something.

Enhanced Sports Performance

Strength training can improve your speed, power, agility, and endurance in various sports and activities. This could be the difference between achieving a new PB, or making the team; plus, it’s always handy to have an edge on the competition!

Injury Prevention

Stronger muscles support your joints better, reducing the risk of injuries in the short and long term. You can also offer your muscles and connective tissue extra support with a daily collagen supplement like our Active Collagen – the UK’s No.1 Prehab & Rehab Collagen Supplement.

Take just 1 gel a day to support ongoing maintenance and injury prevention or 2 per day to enhance injury recovery. It’s as simple as that.

Increased Bone Density

This is super important, especially as you age, to combat osteoporosis. Any form of resistance training puts stress on both your muscles and bones which causes a positive adaptation – increasing strength and bone density.

It’s often thought that running decreases bone density, but this in fact a misunderstanding, as over the long-term running can have a profoundly positive effect and increase bone density. What gets people confused is that in the short term, dramatic increases in either the volume or intensity of your running can have a negative impact on your muscles and bones as there hasn’t been the necessary adaptation and progressive overload for the bones and muscles to be resistant to that load, which in turn can increase injury risk.

Getting Started

Starting a strength training program can feel like learning a new language or simply starting a brand-new sport. We’ve complied over 50 years of combined experience in the sports and human performance industry to give you some simple tips to help you get started on a strength training journey, no matter your goals, or chosen sport or activity. Here’s how to begin:


Set Clear Goals

What do you want to achieve? More strength? Muscle tone? Weight management? Setting clear, achievable goals can guide your training choices and ensure that the strength training is tailored to your needs, circumstances, and ability level.

Choose Your Tools

Free weights, machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises? Each has its benefits, and you might enjoy a mix. If you are ever unsure, head to your local gym or fitness space and ask an instructor or personal trainer and they will be best placed to support you in finding the right equipment and routine for you.

Learn the Basics

Focus on learning proper form for a few basic exercises before diving into more complex routines. Again, ask a trusted expert for help in these initial stages. Proper form is crucial for safe completion of your strength training and will set you up for success as your strength improves in the future.

Essential Exercises for Beginners

There are countless exercises out there, but some foundational movements form the core of strength training. These exercises work multiple muscle groups and teach you about body mechanics.


The ultimate lower body exercise that targets your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and even your core.


Great for your back, glutes, and legs, deadlifts are a powerhouse move.


Start on your knees if you need to. Push-ups work your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.


Not just an internet challenge, planks are fantastic for your entire core.


Using a barbell, dumbbells, or a machine, rows strengthen your back and improve posture.

Safety Tips: Lift Smart, Not Hard

The last thing you want is an injury to sideline your new fitness journey so make sure to keep these safety tips in mind:


Always start with a warm-up to get your muscles ready and reduce the risk of injury.

Start Light

Begin with lighter weights to master the form before adding more resistance.

Rest and Recover

Your muscles need time to repair and grow stronger, so ensure you’re not working the same muscle groups two days in a row.

Listen to Your Body

Pain is not gain. It’s a signal that something might be wrong. If an exercise hurts, stop and reassess.

Consider a Trainer

Even a few sessions with a certified personal trainer can be invaluable in learning proper technique and form.

Building Your Routine

A well-rounded strength training routine should include exercises that work all the major muscle groups. As a beginner, aim for two to three strength training sessions per week, allowing for rest days in between. Here’s a simple structure to get you started:

  • Start with one exercise per major muscle group.
  • Begin with two sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise. This range is ideal for building strength and muscle endurance.
  • As you get stronger, you can add more sets, increase the weight, or try more challenging exercises. But it is important to only change one of these ‘variables’ at a time – the aim is a progressive overload.


Staying Motivated

Embarking on a new fitness journey is exciting but maintaining that enthusiasm can be challenging. Tracking your progress is a great to way to manage your training load over time. Depending on how detailed you are, you might even start to see trends (ups and downs) in your performance, with a clear picture of what may have caused it and what steps you might need to take to get back on track.

Lastly, mix it up and train with a friend! Keep your body and mind guessing and accountable by trying new things and training with a friend or personal trainer. Both are great ways to make the journey more enjoyable and sustainable in the long term. 


Strength training is a journey, not a sprint. It’s about building a stronger, healthier you, one rep at a time. Remember, every pro was once a beginner. So, embrace the process, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the gains that come both inside and out.

Welcome to the strength training community—you've got this!

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