Beginner Strength Training Program

As always, check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.

Intended Audience:

Individuals with no previous experience in strength training, or who have been away from exercise for an extended period of time.

Goal of this program:

To strengthen all major muscle groups of the body, especially the large muscles of the middle of the body, the “Core” muscles. Your core muscles include the abdominals, the back and buttocks muscles, and all muscles that attach to and stabilize the spine. These muscles are essential to strengthen in a functional way in order to ensure proper posture and prevent injury.

As each person has individual needs, not all of the exercises may work for you. Consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program. Additionally, if you have any unusual pain or soreness during exercise, or for prolonged periods after exercise, stop the exercise immediately and contact your trainer and, if necessary, your physician. Expect “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness”, fatigue and general soreness of the muscles, for one to three days after exercise. Soreness in the joints themselves however, may be a sign of injury, so please contact your trainer should this occur.


2-3 times a week on non-consecutive days


Follow for up to 8 weeks, depending on consistency and strength gains. If after 3 weeks, this program has become easy, you can either double all exercises, or move on to the intermediate program. Throughout the program, should exercises become easy, increase the weight lifted by the next smallest increment or increase the repetitions to 15. Do not do both at the same time, as this may be too much of an overload for your muscles and joints. If you remain on this program for the full 8 weeks, move on to the intermediate program.


A set or two of dumbbells (5–10 pounds are appropriate for most beginners, depending on general health and strength), elastic tubing, an elastic band for your ankles, and a stability (physio) ball.


  1. Warm up your body through gentle movement
  2. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between exercises if desired.  You may circuit the program with no rest in between the exercises by alternating one core, one lower body and one upper body exercise. Perform one set of each exercise to start, and increase to 2-3 sets over the 8 weeks. Start with 8 repetitions, working up to 12 repetitions of the exercise (unless otherwise indicated). If an exercise seems too challenging, contact your trainer before attempting the exercise again.
  3. Exercise your Abdomen/Core
    1. Dead Bug – 8-10 reps
    2. Plank Hold – 3 reps, hold each for 20-45 seconds
  4. Exercise your Lower Body
    1. Goblet Squats -12 reps OR Wall Sits – 3-5 reps, hold each for 20 seconds
    2. Stationary Lunges – 10 reps each leg
    3. Standing Elastic Sidewalk – 10 reps each way
    4. Triple Threat with Physio Ball – 8 reps each part – OR- if you do not have a physio ball, Supine Bridges -12 reps
  5. Exercise your Upper Body/Core
    1. Rolling Lat Pull with Physio Ball – 12-15 reps
    2. Push-ups with Physio Ball or body weight only ( on bench or wall, or straight leg) 10 reps
    3. Standing Row – Elastic Tubing – 12 reps
    4. Overhead Press – 5 pound dumbbells – 8-10 reps
    5. Standing Elastic Tubing Biceps Curls – 12 reps OR dumbbells 10 pounds, 12 reps
  6. Cool down your body with an extended period of stretching

Note: all exercises are described in the Exercise Encyclopedia section of this website.

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