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Strength Exercises for BeginnersStrength Exercises for Beginners


Strength Exercises for Beginners

Push-Up with Alternating Rows

When beginning a strength training program, it’s important to start slowly and progress gradually to allow your muscles to adapt to the challenge. Combination moves that work the upper and lower body can save you time during your workout. Try these strength exercises for beginners.

Push-Up with Alternating Rows

Get in a modified push-up position on your hands and knees. Place a dumbbell next to each hand. Perform a push-up, then grab the weight with your right hand and pull it towards your chest. Return the weight to the ground, grab the other weight with your left hand and repeat. Continue with one push-up and then a right and left row. To make the exercise more challenging, perform a standard push-up, or keep the weights in your hands so that they support you as you lower to the ground.

Squat with Shoulder Press

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Your palms should be facing each other, and the dumbbell should be close to touching your shoulder. Bend your knees to sit back in a squat position as if you were sitting back in a chair. Raise to the starting position, and then push the weights overhead until your arms are fully extended. Lower the weights back to shoulder level and repeat. To make the exercise less challenging, begin without weights. To make it more challenging, increase the weight of the dumbbells and squat more deeply so that the thighs are parallel to the ground.

Side Lunge

Step your right foot to the right. With your left leg extended and your left foot flat on the floor, bend the right knee to sit back into a squat position. Return to the start and repeat on the left side. Increase the intensity by holding a dumbbell in each hand. You can also add an upper body move by performing a front raise with the dumbbells as you lunge from side to side.


Position yourself on your elbows and toes on the floor so that your body is straight from your shoulders to your heels. Hold for 15 to 60 seconds. Add movement to your plank to make it more challenging. Alternate lifting the right and left leg off the floor, or alternate reaching your hands out in front of you to touch the floor.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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