Before you begin a strength training regimen, know that simple and straightforward is the best way to get results. Make a commitment to go to the gym two days a week, and hit the hardest lifts such as squats, shoulder presses and deadlifts first. These exercises will give you the most bang for buck. They can also be quite taxing, so make sure to give your muscles enough time to recover before starting the next set.
Most importantly, strive to get a little better each time out. If you're a novice to weight training start slow, and add sets and weight in small increments each week as you work on the following exercises. When your strength increases, move up to adding weight on each visit to the gym.
Dumbbell Squat1 of 7
Grab hold of a pair of dumbbells and place them on your shoulders. Move your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your rear end back while keeping your knees over your feet and descend, making sure your hip crease goes below your knees. Return to the starting position and repeat.
3 to 4 sets, 4 to 6 reps
Push Press2 of 7
Grab hold of a pair dumbbells and place them on your shoulders. Bend your knees slightly, as if you are about to jump straight up into the air. In one quick movement, extend your knees and arms, pressing the weights above your head and locking out your knees and elbows. Return to the starting position and repeat.
3 sets, 4 to 6 reps
Single Leg Deadlift3 of 7
Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of you. Stand on your right leg and put your left leg behind you. Hinge over at your hips while keeping your back extended. Return to the starting position and repeat.
3 to 4 sets, 5 to 8 reps on each leg
Inverted Rows4 of 7
Grip a barbell with both hands as it rests on the rack. Lean back while keeping your feet stationary and your body rigid. Pull your body up toward the bar. Return to the starting position and repeat.
2 to 4 sets, 4 to 12 reps
Renegade Rows5 of 7
Start in a push-up positon, holding onto a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells. Push one weight into the floor as you lift the other to your side. Lower the weight and repeat the movement on the opposite side.
3 to 5 sets, 8 to 12 reps
Weighted Planks6 of 7
Add intensity to the simple plank exercise by having someone place a plate on your back while holding the plank position. Make sure you can keep your body in a flat line, and avoid sagging your back or hips. If you're unable to hold your plank position, reduce the weight.
3 to 5 sets, 15 to 45 seconds