Beginners Weight Lifting Program – Let’s Do This!

I am guessing that there are some of you who are just not lifting weights because you don’t know where to start. In today’s post, I am going to outline a program you can follow, at home, even if you don’t have any weight. It will involve a specific group of body-weight exercises, following a specific number of sets and repetitions, to get you started.

No excuses!

Let’s get started.

The Warm-up

Before you get started, you need to warm-up those muscles. Since this will be a full body workout, you will need to warm-up your entire body. Choose one of the following warm-up routines.

Do one set of each exercise as a circuit and move from one exercise to the next without resting, performing each exercise for 30 – 45 seconds.

Circuit 1

Seal Jacks – Just like a jumping jack, but only lift your arms until they are level with your shoulders

Frankenstein Walk – kick your right leg straight out and reach for your toe with your left hand; repeat with other leg/arm

Butt Kicks – run in place trying to kick your butt with your heelsjumping jacks

Carioca – run sideways, crossing your legs in front, and then behind your body

Gate Swing – stand with feet shoulder width; jump your feet out wide and squat at the same time; stand up; repeat.

Circuit 2

Jumping Jacks – swing your arms above your head while you jump your feet apart; reverse; repeat

Inchworm – stand; bend forward until your hands are on the floor; walk out to push-up position; walk hands back; stand

High Knees – run in place lifting your knees as high as you can

Side Shuffle – step to the side with left foot followed by right foot (athletic – short stop – stance); take a few steps; reverse

Body Weight Exercises

If you are just starting on your journey to fitness, and really want to give weight lifting a try, I suggest that you start with some simple body weight exercises. I can guarantee you that you will feel the burn, and your muscles will be sore for a couple days after the workout. That is good. It means that the muscle has been broken down and is rebuilding, bigger than it was before you started.

I will give you several exercises to choose from for each body part, and some that are full body exercises.

As always, choose two exercises for each body part (or do all six full body exercises).

That should be enough to get you started. You will see changes to your body if you follow this plan three or four times a week for 12 weeks. This will give you an understanding of the muscles, and will give you time to decide if this is the type of exercising you would like to continue to do BEFORE you spend money on a gym membership or equipment for a home gym.

Like I always say, “Give it a try. What do you have to lose!?”

Full Body Exercises

Burpees – jump, when feet hit ground go to push up position; do push up; stand; repeat

Plank – hold your body in the top of the push-up position

Plank to Push-up – hold plank for 10 seconds; complete one push-up; repeat

Mountain Climber – start in push up position; bring one knee at a time up to chest; extend; then the other; extend; repeat

Tuck Jump – jump as high as you can while lifting both knees to chest

Bear Walk – start on hands and knees; lift knees a couple inches; move around the room

Stair Climb with Bicep Curl – grab an object in each hand; go up and down the stairs

Break It Down!

Legs – pick one from Section A and one from Section B

Section A – choose one and do 3 sets of 15 repetitions

Body Weight Squats – stand with feet shoulder width; squat down as far as you can; stand; repeat

Body Weight Wall Squat – keep back against wall as you squat; only go until upper legs are parallel with floor

High Box Jump – stand beside a box (something about 12″ tall and strong enough to hold your weight); jump up; repeat

Depth Jump – stand on box; step off; when feet hit floor, jump as high as you can; repeat

Single Leg Squat – similar to squat, but with one leg straight out in front; may need to hold a chair for stability; do both legs

Section B – choose one and do 3 sets of 15 repetitions

Hip Raises – lie on floor on your back; pull feet in under knees; lift hips to ceiling; lower; repeat

Hip Raise with Knee Squeeze – same as above, but squeeze knees together

Single Leg Hip Raise – same as above, but with one leg straight out; repeat with other leg

Single Leg Hip Raise with Foot on Bench – same as above but with foot on bench

Swiss Ball Hip Raise and Leg Curl – lie on back with feet on Swiss Ball; pull your feet toward your bum while lifting back

Chest and Triceps – do one push up and one other exercise

Push ups – hands shoulder width apart; back perfectly straight; all the way down and back up
Hands close Together Push ups – same as above with hands close together

Dips – sit on a chair, feet straight out; slide forward, keeping arms straight and on chair; lower bum to floor; raise; repeat

Kick Backs – grab something heavy in one hand; lean forward, putting one hand on a chair; hold elbow against body; presstricep kickback object back until your arm is straight.

Back and Biceps

Chin ups – grab a bar with an overhand grip and pull up as far as you can; repeat

Pull ups – grab a bar with an underhand grip and pull up as far as you can

Floor Y Raise – lie on stomach, arms resting on floor at a 30 degree angle to your body; lift arms off floor and hold; lower slowly, repeat

Curls – grab something heavy in each hand and curl it up toward your chest, keeping your elbows at your sides

Last Words

So there you have it. A bunch of exercises you can try to get yourself started. Some of these will be easier than others. If you don’t have a Swiss Ball, don’t do that exercise. If you don’t have a bar that you can do chin ups on, then just do push-ups again.

push up
The push-up is the one single exercise that if you perform it every day will improve your fitness. If you roll out of bed and do as many push-ups as possible, and then do as many push-ups as possible before you go to bed, and not do anything else, you will improve your fitness immensely over a twelve-week period.

Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below.

See you in the next post.

Have a great day!

Tom Fitzsimmons


  1. Hey Tom. I am a fitness instructor myself and love nothing more than a quick home workout which is HIIT based using mostly body weight exercises. Most effective kind of exercise ever! Your program outline is good. But I’d say it is not for beginners who have not done any exercise for a while. Can you recommend some options based around the same exercises for people who may be as stiff as a board and really out of shape?

    • Hi Liz

      Most definitely. I would recommend the body weight squat, and some pus ups from the knees. If you add to that the hip raise (to engage and activate the hip flexors) that should get you going. Do a few sets of 15 reps of these a couple or three times a week for a few weeks, and you should notice the stiffness going away.

      Then move on to some pf the other more complex moves.

      Thanks for the comment. I hope that helps.

      Have a great day!

  2. Yes. A weight lifting program for me. I started weight lifting some years back but I could not continue cos I got sick at some point. I think I’ll be able to follow up with this weight lifting program. It’s quite helpful to have a good laid out steps to take in doing this, it’ll help me alot. 

    • Hi

      I’m glad it was helpful. Easy work out. Easy to follow. That is the way I like it. Stay tuned for more helpful work out tips.

      Have a great day!

  3. Hi Tom – your article on a weightlifting program is timely as it is now the new year and everyone is trying to eat better and get in better shape.  I like that you don’t need any fancy weight equipment to do the exercises in your program.  That way anyone can do it and you don’t have to make any big purchases.  And you don’t have to always try and make it to the gym.  

    Thanks for the information,


    • Hi Michele

      That is right. I always try to find the easiest and cheapest way to do things. I am willing to put in the work, but I’d rather not put out large amounts of money or time for the results. This at home program is the best of both: inexpensive and time efficient.

      Have a great day!

  4. I found this very helpful, as I’ve always wanted to hit the gym often but then I always have one or two things to do that always prevents me from having enough time for the gym. Put with these your tips, I find it helpful. I’ll make sure I follow your stated steps for workouts. Concerning the 12weeks push-up exercise, I’ll put more effort in other to increase my fitness too. Thank you

    • HI Olatoye

      It doesn’t need to be complex. Just a few body weight resistance exercises and we are on the way. No need to leave home to make an income, no need to leave home to work out!

      Have a great day!

  5.   I have not tried to do weight lifting  and it looks pretty simple with all the illustration so  i think  imight jump into it. It  never hurts to try new things and learn practically  that way you will be better and if I have to follow what you are teaching it is can be done without hurting our backs

    • Hi Charles

      You need to start slow, and we need to remember that we are not as young as we once were. Our goal is to get into better shape, not bodybuilder shape!

      Start slow and simple and build up from there. It’s like WA, we need a solid foundation before we build it out.

      Have a great day

  6. Hey Tom,

    Great post! This is a really good breakdown of where someone new to lifting can start. I particularly like that you included bodyweight exercises as I agree that’s a really good place for a beginner to start. I will definitely share this with anyone I know looking to get started. Thank you.  

    • Hi Dan

      Thanks for the willingness to share. I can’t help everyone. I rely on friends like you to share the posts with people they know.

      Have a great day!

  7. wow. Thank you for making this easy to understand. I was reading for my daughter. She’s only in her teens but she is very much interested in fitness. She likes to be super fit to do well at school for her PE class. She’s very competitive and wants to be in shape she’s watching what she eats to stay healthy and fit. Your instructions are very easy to understand. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Sheila

      You are welcome. Fitness is for all ages, we just need to make sure we don’t over do it and hurt ourselves. That goes for everyone of all ages.

      Instruct her to start slow and take it easy, and then move on to other more complex exercises. If she is unsure how to do an exercise, if you search online, there will be videos that explain each movement.

      Have a great day!

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