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Five Resistance Training Exercises For Beginners

with Justin Kellett

Who has been told how great resistance training is to incorporate into an exercise routine, but you are just not sure where to start? Sometimes we all just need a little help from the right people in order to jumpstart a health habit. So listen up and check out these five exercises you can start with if resistance training is new to you.


Squats are an extremely effective lower body movement that targets all muscles of the lower extremity. To perform a squat, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly outward. Maintaining an upright position, flex your knees while lowering your hips and glutes to the ground. The goal is to have your torso parallel to your tibia or as close to it as possible. Keep your weight evenly distribute through the whole foot. When you have reached the bottom of the movement, engage your quads to power yourself up to a standing position. If you have never performed a squat before start by simply performing this movement in a chair. We call these sit to stands. Once you feel comfortable with these progress to squatting with your body weight and eventually adding resistance in the form of a dumbbell or kettle bell.


Push ups are a very popular upper body “push” motion that targets the chest, shoulders and core. A typical pushup begins in the prone (face down) position with your arms and legs extended so you are balanced on your hands and toes with feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend your elbows lowering yourself to the floor until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Push through your hands extending the elbows and return to the start position. If you have never performed this motion before begin standing upright and doing this against a wall. Once you begin to feel comfortable with the movement, progress to a stable countertop or elevated surface. When you have worked your way all the way down to feeling comfortable in the prone position perform the exercise with your knees bents, eventually working towards a traditional pushup. Remember to keep your hips level. Try not to let your hips sag or elevate. Maintain a straight line from your ears to your ankles. We call this “Strong Posture”.


Deadlifts are a compound hinge movement in which you are picking up an object from the floor, standing up, and then returning it back to its original position all while maintaining proper form and alignment. The movement aims to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings as primary movers and your upper and lower back as stabilizers. To begin this movement start standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Sit your hips back and bend your knees slightly, while leaning your torso forward and keeping a neutral spine and head position. Push through your whole foot and stand up tall keeping your arms straight. Bring hips forward keeping glute and core engaged then return to the original start position. If you have never performed this exercise before, start with your arms across your chest and focus on the hip hinge motion alone. The goal is to limit movement from all other joints except flexion and extension in the hip joint. Once you have a grasp on the hinge then you can effectively load the movement.


Rowing with a cable/sports cord row is a compound exercise intended to target your back with some shoulder and arms involvement as well. Starting either seated or standing with arms fully extended, pull your shoulder blades together while bending your arms and driving your elbows backward, bring the cord or cable to your lower chest with both hands keeping your posture upright and your elbows in line with the body. Squeeze the shoulder blades together before relaxing and extending the arms to complete the exercise. Begin with a light resistance and emphasize the contraction of the back muscles and retraction of the shoulder blades before progressing to higher resistance bands and cables.


Plank is a very useful core stability exercise. Using one’s body weight, the goal is to hold the trunk of your body in a straight line off the ground. It engages several muscle groups at the same time which makes it extremely effective at strengthening your core as well as other accessory muscles such as the shoulders, arms, and glutes. Plant hands or forearms directly under shoulders just like a pushup. Ground your toes while engaging your core and glutes to stabilize your midsection, your legs should feel like they are working too. Keep neutral neck and spine while being mindful not to let your shoulder blades retract. If a normal plank is too difficult, try doing one on your knees just a modified push-up. From there, progress to the pushup starting position and eventually drop to your forearms. Look to hold for 20-30 seconds

These five exercises are the perfect place to start for anyone looking to incorporate resistance training into their exercise regime. Our professionally trained and certified fitness coaches are here to support you. Stop by the front desk to learn more about your yearly coaching consult to help keep you on track to reach your goals. We are here for you.

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