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A Beginner’s Guide to the Gym

Going to the gym can be intimidating and awkward, especially for someone new to fitness. The various machines accompanied by a plethora of free standing weights can seem very daunting. However, you shouldn’t let the complicated equipment or a lack of knowledge about exercise diminish your excitement for a workout. If you are still feeling clueless about what to do in the gym, here are 3 simple exercises that are always handy.

1) Three Point Row

A three point row is a fairly easy exercise that works out your latissimus dorsi, or the upper body muscles on your back. This exercise will get more difficult as you add more weight. Start with what you are comfortable with. If you want to gain muscle, you will want to have a higher weight and do fewer repetitions. If you are aiming to lose weight, you will want to have a lower weight with more repetitions. 

You’ll start this exercise by bending over to a 90 degree angle so that your back is flat. Take a weight in one hand and with control bring your arm up to your chest so that your elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle. Lower back down for one rep. When I’m at the gym, I use 15 pound weights and do three sets of six. Remember to take breaks in between each set to let your muscles relax.

2) Reverse Lunge

A reverse lunge is another exercise that gets more challenging as you progress at the gym. This exercise works your glute muscles. You can do this exercise solitary, with a resistance band, or while holding a kettlebell in front of you. You’ll start standing straight with your hands on your hips or holding the weight. You’ll lower one leg back into a lunge position, then slowly rise back to a standing position. When at the gym, I use a 40 pound kettlebell, and I do three sets of eight.

3) Barbell Close-Grip Curls

A barbell close-grip works out your triceps, which is the muscle on the back of your arm. These are difficult no matter what amount of weight you are using, but they become easier with practice. You’ll grab a barbell (if you are a beginner you’ll probably want to start with low weight) and hold it at your hips. Keeping your elbows at your sides, bring the barbell up to your chin by curling your arms. Slowly lower back down. You can also do this one arm at a time with dumbbells if the barbell proves too difficult. When at the gym, I use 10 pound or 12.5 pound dumbells and do three sets of eight.

These exercises are great for beginners at the gym and prove to be exercises that are easy to track progress with. Remember to do only do weight you are comfortable with, take adequate rest periods, and hydrate! With these exercises, you’ll leave the gym feeling like a professional in no time.


Image Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Sophomore at the University of Utah studying Strategic Communications
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