How to Start Weight Training at Home: The Best Exercises

When you think about exercise, you probably think of running, and other cardio. That’s probably one reason why more than 50 percent of Americans meet guidelines for aerobic activity, but far fewer Americans meet guidelines for muscle strengthening. I’m here to help show you there’s more to be gained by including a variety of weight training. I know lifting weights can be intimidating, but, trust me, it’s not as difficult as you think. You can do weight training at home, and I can help guide you through the steps. 

Read on and let me help you begin your weight training journey. 

Basic Tools 

Don’t worry; you don’t need fancy, state-of-the-art equipment to strength train at home. To start, you’ll just need a few inexpensive weights that feel comfortable to you. As a bonus, if you want to save even more money, you can use household objects instead of dumbbells. Water bottles or canned goods in plastic bags can be suitable substitutes for weights. As you continue to progress, you can increase the weight and perhaps even invest in some longer lasting dumbbells. 

You may also want some extra equipment to use, but don’t feel like you need it to see results. The only extras I may recommend would be a yoga mat, or towel, and some booty bands. 

Warm-up Exercises

Every at-home strength training routine should incorporate at least one warm-up exercise. There are so many benefits! I recommend warming up at least 3-5 minutes before beginning your daily workout. It would help if you started with some stretching to increase flexibility and reduce the chance of straining your muscles.  

Next, I recommend some light cardio for about 30-60 seconds intervals, longer if you have the time. The purpose is to get your heart rate up, blood flowing into your muscles, and improve your performance during your workout. 

Bodyweight Exercises 

I highly recommend bodyweight exercises. These workouts rely on your body weight to help you improve muscle strength and require no equipment. Because you’re using your body weight, an added benefit is that you can bring your workout anywhere! I suggest incorporating bodyweight exercises for everyone. Bodyweight exercises help with overall balance, increase posture, and leave no excuses for missing your workout.

An essential benefit of bodyweight exercise is that it can help improve cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength at the same time while allowing your body weight and gravity to work together, and keeping your heart rate up. 

Almost everyone is familiar with planks. Planks can be beneficial to help build up your core and back strength, but did you know squats can also help? Most people think squats only isolate your lower body, but they can also be beneficial for core strength.

Other examples are push-ups. Push-ups help build your pectoral muscles, back muscles, shoulders, core, and triceps. If a standard push-up is challenging for you, I would start by doing a push-up on your counter and work your way up to doing a full push-up on your toes.

Free Weight and Resistance Band Exercises

Once you’ve gotten used to bodyweight exercise, you can move on to free weights. Any weight you can pick up and move around can be a free weight. Think of dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells.

I am also a huge fan of resistance bands. A 2019 meta-analysis found that training with elastic bands can be just as effective as training with conventional tools like dumbbells. 

A pull-apart is a simple exercise that can be done with resistance bands. It’s also a good exercise for targeting your arms and back. Extend your arms out in front of you while holding the band tautly. Count to three while holding that resistance to allow your muscles to contract properly. Make sure you exhale as you hold the band tautly. Go as far as you can without overextending, then return to the middle, releasing the resistance with your band. Your legs should be shoulder width apart to support your lower back. I recommend repeating this movement for a few sets. 

Foods for Weight Training at Home 

Supporting your workout with a proper diet can be just as important as the workouts themselves. I like to provide my members with meal plans to ensure their fitness journey is well-balanced. You can start by increasing your daily protein, but you should find healthy sources of it. Eggs, white meat, poultry, and seafood are good sources of protein. 

More importantly, be sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your weight training. Have a bottle of water on hand and take sips from it whenever you feel thirsty. In general, I recommend drinking an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. 

Get To Work Working Out Today

There is no need to be afraid to try weight training at home. You have the strength in you, and I’m here to help you find it. I encourage you to join Jen’s Get Fit Group. I am happy to help you with all of your weight/bodyweight training, one on one macro coaching, I can provide you with meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes, and all things essential to achieving your goals.