Weight Lifting Plan: Strength Level 1

Here’s step one of our progressive weight lifting plan. Make sure to start here if you’re new to exercise, returning after a long(er) period of time, have several injuries or orthopedic concerns, or cannot comfortably lift more than 5 lbs.

This strength training circuit uses machines which can help ease you into weight lifting and build base strength. While machines are often discounted, they provide a great opportunity to build confidence in the beginning! Follow this workout for 3-4 weeks and you’ll have a solid foundation before moving on to the Level 2 workout.

Perform 2 sets of 10 reps for each exercise, resting 60 seconds between sets.

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Leg Press

1 – Sit in the leg press machine with your knees bent and your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform.
2 – Press the platform out and away from your body, extending your legs fully.
• Bend your hips and knees, return to the start position and repeat.

Chest Press

1 – Sit upright holding the handles at chest height with your elbows bent and your back against the pad.
2 – Press the handles out in front to a straight arm position.
• Return to the start position, bending your elbows and repeat.

Wide Pulldown

1 – Sit upright holding the handles using a wide grip with your arms extended straight overhead and your palms facing forward.
2 – Pull the handles down to your shoulders, bending at the elbows.
• Straighten your arms fully, returning to the top position and repeat.

Leg Extension

1 – Sit in the leg extension machine with your knees bent and the leg pads on your lower shins just above your ankles.
2 – Extend your knees fully, raising your legs out and up to where your feet, knees and hip are in line.

Preacher Curl


1 – Sit holding the handles underhanded with your arms straight and your elbows resting on the support pad.
2 – Raise the handles up to shoulder height, bending at the elbows.
• Lower and repeat, keeping your shoulders steady and your back flat throughout.

Assisted Dips


1 – Support the body with your knees on the pad and your arms straight, hands on the handles.
2 – Lower your body down toward the floor, bending at the elbows.
3 – Push down on the handles, coming up until your arms are straight again.

Seated Leg Curl


1 – Sit on the leg curl machine with your lower calves on the pad and your legs straight up in front.
2 – Push the pad down and back, bending at the knees.

Shoulder Press


1 – Sit upright holding the handles at shoulder height with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and your elbows bent.
2 – Press the handles overhead, extending your arms fully.
• Return to the start position and repeat.

Rear Delt Row


1 – Sit upright with your chest against the pad and your hands straight out in front at shoulder height holding the handles.
2 – Pull the handles out to the side and back to where your hands are in line with your torso.
• Return to the start position and repeat, keeping your chest agains the pad and your arms straight throughout.

You’re done, great job!

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