Here's How To Actually Start Lifting Weights

    FYI you can totally do this.

    1. Guess what: You can start lifting right now even if you have zero experience.

    2. Start by learning some exercises that work major muscle groups.

    3. Next, learn how to do those moves with dumbbells or machines.

    4. Plan to lift three times per week as part of a full-body workout.

    5. The basic recipe for a good beginner full-body workout is one or two exercises per muscle group.

    Perkins suggests this formula if you're trying to DIY your own routine. Again, those muscle groups are lower body, back, chest, shoulders, and core. And you can do these moves with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, machines, or some combination.

    For instance, an intro workout might include squats and lunges for the lower body, bent-over row and seated cable row for the back, bench press and dumbbell flys for the chest, seated dumbbell press and front dumbbell raise for the shoulders, and a couple of bodyweight moves for the core (like a plank and bicycle kicks). Perkins recommends doing 10 reps of each exercise for three to four sets. Check out the exercise library at to choose the exercises.

    6. Of you can just follow pre-fab workouts from a trustworthy source.

    You don't want to just go download any old program but there are some reputable places to find good workouts. Perkins recommends the workouts at You can do BuzzFeed Life's own full-body bodyweight-and-dumbbell workouts.

    If you want more than just workouts — like an actual program you can follow for a few months, plus lots of comprehensive information on strength training, Gentilcore recommends the books The New Rules of Lifting, The New Rules of Lifting for Women, and Strong: Nine Workout Programs for Women to Burn Fat, Boost Metabolism, and Build Strength for Life. Gentilcore also recommends Nia Shanks's training packages.

    7. You don't even have to join a gym; just invest in a couple key pieces of equipment.

    8. Do not try to lift all the weight right away.

    9. Use the "two rep rule" to know how heavy you should be lifting.

    10. If you have the cash, hire a coach for a single session.

    11. Actually lift in front of mirrors to make sure your form is perfect.

    12. Do not crush yourself with intense workouts all the time.

    13. And be sure to prioritize rest and sleep.

    14. If you're lifting to lose weight, be sure your diet matches that goal, too.

    15. As always, make sure your expectations are realistic for the amount of work you're putting in.

    Go get 'em!