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Strength Training: Tips For Beginners

Yiwen Lu, MS, RD, CPT
May 12, 2023
May 15, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that adults perform muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week. But what exactly is muscle-strengthening activity, and how do you start? If you are a beginner, read on or watch the video for some great tips.

What Is Muscle Strengthening Activity?

Muscle strengthening activity, also known as resistance or strength training, is a type of physical activity that requires the body to work against resistance, such as weights, resistance bands, or body weight. This type of activity builds and strengthens muscles.

4 Tips To Get Started

Follow these 4 tips so you can safely progress and get stronger!

Know Basic Exercise Terms

As a beginner in strength training, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with some basic exercise terms to make sure you have a better understanding of exercise programs. This general knowledge can help you effectively communicate with certified personal trainers.

  1. Repetition (rep): A single complete movement of a particular exercise. For example, one biceps curl, or one squat.
  2. Set: A group of consecutive repetitions of an exercise with a planned amount of rest in between. For example, if you plan to do 3 sets of 10 reps with a 30-second rest in between each set, you would start by performing biceps curls for 10 reps, then resting for 30 seconds. After the rest period, you would perform another set of biceps curls for 10 reps, followed by another 30-second rest. Finally, you would perform the last set of biceps curls for 10 reps, and then rest for another 30 seconds.
  3. Rest period: The amount of time you take to rest between sets.
  4. Concentric movement: The contracting phase of a movement, where the muscle shortens under tension.
  5. Eccentric movement: The stretching phase of a movement, where the muscle lengthens under tension.

Ensure Your Form is Correct

Hire a certified personal trainer, or at least ask an experienced friend or family member  to introduce you to the world of strength training. This mainly helps to ensure that your form is correct.

Performing exercises with poor technique can result in strains, sprains, and poor posture. On the other hand, using proper technique not only reduces the risk of injury, but also maximizes muscle growth by effectively targeting the intended muscle groups.

If you don't have someone to guide you in getting started, don't worry! You can watch follow-along exercise videos, available anywhere online or in the Rewards section of your Unified Care App. However, keep in mind that these videos are simply guides to help you reach your goals. If you find the intensity too challenging, remember to prioritize safety by modifying the workout. This could include reducing the range of motion, dropping or lowering the weight of the dumbbells or other weights, or taking longer breaks as needed.

Increase Intensity Gradually

Begin with your body weight or lighter weights, Then, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts, by adding  weight, frequency, or number of repetitions. This approach, known as progressive overload, helps ensure consistent progress and adaptation over time, while minimizing the risk of injury.

Stretch, Rest and Recover

Stretch before and after exercises to increase blood flow, improve muscle temperature, activate the nervous system, and improve range of motion! These steps can all help prevent muscle injuries.

Additionally, remember, for good muscle recovery, make sure you have good daily rest. When we exercise, we train and tone our muscles. When we rest, our muscles actually grow and repair themselves. Don’t forget to prioritize rest and recovery for optimal results!


Muscle strengthening activity comes with a lot of benefits, including increased metabolism, increased bone density, better posture and balance, improved mental health, and reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.

If you still don’t feel confident enough to start, check out some of our other educational resources: Jump-Start Your Exercise Routine!, What Is The Best Time Of Day To Exercise?, Exercise Habits to Stop Today. Good luck on your fitness journey!