A Beginner's Guide to Weightlifting: 5 Simple Moves to Help You Get Started

Walking into a weight room can be one of the most intimidating gym experiences — especially when you're unfamiliar with the equipment. Though that's completely understandable, you're cutting your fitness potential short by avoiding this area altogether. In fact, weightlifting is key to burning fat, reducing risk of injury, and helping you build lean muscle and natural curves.

But before reaching straight for the barbell, you may want to introduce yourself to the very basics first. To help you get started, we reached out to Equinox personal trainer Erika Bonifacio for her favorite beginner moves. See them below!

  1. Goblet squat: "Hold a weight (dumbbell or kettlebell) with two hands in front of the chest. Make sure shoulders are back and not rounded; core is engaged throughout entire exercise. Bring your hips toward the ground and make sure your torso is parallel to your shins. As you rise, stand tall and squeeze butt and quads."
  2. Deadlift: "You can use a kettlebell, dumbbell, or even a plate for this movement. Hold one weight with both hands (hanging in front of body, arms extended); make sure your shoulders are back, core is tight; and start to lower the weight straight toward the ground below knee level. Bring your hips back and up toward the ceiling while shins remain perpendicular to the ground. Your back should be straight and not flexed or extended. Watch your knees to make sure they are in track with your feet and not caving in or pushing out. When returning to starting position, drive hips forward as you straighten your legs. Squeeze glutes and quads and stand tall to complete the movement. Arms remain extended with shoulders back."
  3. Shoulder press: "Use dumbbells that are heavy enough to complete about 12 to 15 reps with the last few being challenging. Stand tall, squeeze glutes, quads, and CORE! Grab the dumbbells with your elbows completely flexed and palms facing forward. Slowly push both weights up at the same time until both arms are fully extended and perpendicular to the ground (weights can touch at the top). Slowly drive your elbows down back to starting position."
  4. Lat pulldown: "Sit down with knees over toes. Have a wide grip and pull down the bar just below your chin. Keep your chest up but core right. Imagine bringing your elbows down to your back pockets."
  5. Weighted wood chop: "Use a medicine ball. Get into a half-kneeling stance and hold the weight extending your arms. While facing forward, bring the ball from above your left ear and then lower diagonally to your right hip with arms still extended."