There is no such thing as being too weak for a normal strength training program.

Can you pick up a broom? Then you can deadlift.

If you’re lying down, can you push the broom up with your hands? Then you can bench press.

Have you ever squatted to pick something up? Then you can do squats.

Do you have to do pushups or pull-ups for a good solid strength training program? No.

There are untrained individuals who believe they are too weak to work out with weights.

Have you ever stocked your cupboard and removed from it soup cans?

Then you can strength train.

If you feel too weak to lift weights and are brand new to the world of strength training, tell yourself that this new endeavor, at the beginning, will be more about assuming CORRECT FORM rather than lifting heavy weights.

Most gyms have five-pound bars. You can begin with this tool and work on your deadlift and squat forms.

And along the way, you’ll get a little stronger, because you’re working with five pounds of added resistance that your body is not used to.

You can lie on a bench and press this bar above you for the bench press, acclimating your body to this movement.

You can do exercises with two and a half pound dumbbells or tiny weight plates.

There is no such thing as being too weak for a strength training program.

For seated rows you can insert the pin at the very top of the weight stack and perform this exercise at the lightest resistance. You can apply this approach to other machines.

There are very frail, elderly people who do strength training. However, those who believe they’re too weak to lift weights are often much younger.

Ask Yourself…

• Do I pick up babies and toddlers?

• Do I carry out garbage?

• Do I carry groceries?

• Do I carry a dog?

• Do I carry a vacuum cleaner?

• Do I ever carry a can of paint, a tool box or move a big potted plant?

All of the above, technically, falls under the category of lifting weights.

Stop making excuses. You do not need to be strong to begin a weightlifting program. Every time you stand up from a chair, you lift weight.

You will not build fitness, health and strength by avoiding training with weights.

There is a lot to learn, however, but as the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? ONE BITE AT A TIME.”

Recommended Exercises for Novice Weight Training

• Squat (barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, medicine ball, even body weight)

• Deadlift (barbell)

• Leg press

• Leg extension and curl

• Bench press or inclined press

• Overhead press (barbell or dumbbell)

• Seated cable row

• Lat pull-down

• Kettlebell swing

Dumbbells and kettlebells start at around two pounds. Though not all gyms have five pound bars, see if yours does, or perhaps yours has weighted bars of 10 or 15 pounds only.

Try those. If they’re too light, your gym probably has pre-fixed weight barbells as light as 20 pounds.

An unloaded Olympic bar is 45 pounds.

If you want to use weight stack machines, use ones for the chest press, overhead press and pulling motions (e.g., pulling down from above).

Tension Bands

Tension bands and tubing are another option for strength training.

Shutterstock/ Alexander Raths



Operators of gyms want to make money. From a business standpoint, it would make zero sense for the operator to design a gym that only strong or fit people can use.

Nearly ALL people are able to work out at a gym – this is the best way for the gym owner to make a profit!

So if you think you’re too weak to lift weights at a gym, you could not be more mistaken.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.