Where to start for a beginner in weightlifting

What's the best way for me to start lifting weights?

Choose a goal

Why do you want to lift Looking good, being healthy, improving athletic performance, winning a bodybuilding competition, challenging yourself? Your goals determine the type of lifting that you want to focus on. I am assuming that you want a basic combination of health, fitness, and good looks.

Weightlifting for beginners

Any beginner program should be fairly simple and focus on full body lifts. This means that you are using free weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells) to perform compound movements (as opposed to isolation movements). These lifts include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups and pull-ups, overhead and bench presses, cleanses, snaps, dips, and rows. Programs, gyms, and trainers that avoid these exercises may not be the best fit.


Stumptuous is a solid resource for people, especially women, who are new to weightlifting. However, as far as I know, they are geared towards specific programs.

To do this, get a copy of Starting Strength (the wiki has a good overview and quick reference guide; the book has a full description of the program, including excellent instructions about the lifts) and start lifting. Take it easy first. After about a month or so, find a trainer or gym to do these exercises (a CrossFit gym is usually a good choice) and have your form checked in a private lesson.