The 6 Best Weightlifting Exercises to do if You Don’t Know Where to Start.


A man performing pull-ups.

US Army Private benches his way to victory in a bench-press competition (Courtesy of Picryl)


Many people become intimidated when they enter the gym for the first time. The pressure to perform and not look foolish is an experience that everyone goes through. With these 7 exercises you will look like you at least have set in the gym before going for your first time.


  •  Bench Press

The bench press is one of the most commonly known exercises at the gym, but it can also be one of the most intimidating for a newcomer. The bench press is the primary compound exercise for building a strong, well-shaped chest. By keeping your back arched and your elbows tucked in towards your body you are already halfway to a good form bench press. The last two steps to perfecting your bench press are using leg drive by firmly planting your feet and lowering the bar toward the bottom of your chest to have a good pushing-off point.


  •  Squat

The squat tends to be the one I hear people having the most trouble with. The awkwardness of the form can take some time to get used to but it is well worth it in the end. The squat builds your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus. Performing the exercise correctly can be daunting. However, a tip to keeping your balance and preventing injuries is to make sure you follow a straight line path down with the bar. Do not let it sway backwards or forwards.



  •  Skullcrushers

Skullcrushers are going to be the staple tricep exercise of your workouts. This exercise can be done two different ways in order to achieve two different goals. The first is letting the bar come to the top of your forehead and then extending your tricep to its full extension. This method works the medial head and lateral head of the tricep. The other method is to lower the bar behind your head much further than you would in the previous method in order to work the long head portion of your tricep into the exercise and put less emphasis on the lateral head.


  • Rows

Rows are a very flexible exercise and there are multiple different ways to do them in order to achieve a thick looking back with good muscle definition. All of the different types of rows develop the lats, traps, rhomboids, erector spinae, and biceps. Although this is not a primary bicep exercise, the row still contributes to muscle growth in the bicep area.


  • Curls

Bicep curls work both the long and short head of the bicep. Building the length, width, and peak of the bicep this exercise is necessary for creating a girthy bicep. The exercise is relatively simple, bringing the barbell or dumbbell down from your hips up to your shoulders while supinating your wrists. In other words, rotate your wrists so your palms face the ceiling.

  •  Dips

Dips are one of the only consistent lower-chest exercises that is injury preventative. The decline bench press is too unreliable, especially for a beginner, and leaves many prone to injury. Triceps also work the medial head of the tricep because of the stationary close-grip pushing motion. To perform this exercise, lower your triceps to a 90-degree angle while leaning over to utilize the chest. Using your chest and triceps pushup from the 90-degree position into a full extension.