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Edit: thanks for the advice everyone! I'm reading though everything you all have posted trying to figure out what works best for me

Like the title says, I'm completely new to any kind of training and I just don't know where to begin. There's a lot to take in and I don't really know how to parse it all. I also don't have access to a gym and don't have the money or space for bulky equipment beyond bare necessities. Any advice or tips to point me in the right direction or beginner friendly YT/blogs would be appreciated! Thanks!

Quick background of stuff that may be relevant, I'm early 30's and have never been particularly active. I don't have a specific goal in mind, I just want to improve my overall health and strength. I'm underweight (so weight loss is not a goal and nutrition tips are also appreciated), have chronic GERD, and mild scoliosis that makes my back relatively inflexible (both of which make bending over difficult)

Edit: thanks for the advice everyone! I'm reading though everything you all have posted trying to figure out what works best for me Like the title says, I'm completely new to any kind of training and I just don't know where to begin. There's a lot to take in and I don't really know how to parse it all. I also don't have access to a gym and don't have the money or space for bulky equipment beyond bare necessities. Any advice or tips to point me in the right direction or beginner friendly YT/blogs would be appreciated! Thanks! Quick background of stuff that may be relevant, I'm early 30's and have never been particularly active. I don't have a specific goal in mind, I just want to improve my overall health and strength. I'm underweight (so weight loss is not a goal and nutrition tips are also appreciated), have chronic GERD, and mild scoliosis that makes my back relatively inflexible (both of which make bending over difficult)

12 comments

[–] Chickpea 6 points Edited

I'm underweight, have chronic GERD, and mild scoliosis that makes my back relatively inflexible.

My advice is to not take online weightlifting advice as a beginner. I second finding a certified trainer or seeing a physical therapist before picking up any weights.

Proper form and flexibility are the most important elements of weightlifting, even before the weights themselves. Even light weights can cause serious damage if you’re not lifting them properly. As a brand new beginner, you’re not going to be able to tell if/when you fall out of form or if that stretch you feel is a good stretch or an uh-oh stretch. Having someone experienced teach you the basics and guide you through the exercises is the best way to go, that way you can focus solely on the exercises themselves and not have to worry if you’re doing them correctly.

It might cost a bit extra but having someone qualified tailor a routine unique to you will be worth the investment imo, especially since you mention scoliosis; what works for you may be different than what works for somebody else.

Oh my goodness, how strange! I just took up weightlifting, also 30.

I booked two sessions with a personal trainer at a gym that offered private female weightlifting classes (also thank you based gym).

Honestly with free weights your best bet is to get someone to show you proper form.

Before you get there, I have had fantastic results with resistance bands and kettlebells.

Beginner kettlebell https://youtu.be/PnyanarNAAM

Basic kettlebell workout https://youtu.be/tiC0zylTB0w (I really like this channel)

Mini resistance band workout https://youtu.be/9qqnYOcSpY8 (great channel again)

All the main resistance band movements https://youtu.be/hQ2lHMP4kco

That last channel is fantastic for bodyweight exercises, which you should absolutely incorporate with yoga/deep stretches.

Beginner bodyweight for women https://youtu.be/sun3DOU99gg

Best yoga channel https://youtube.com/c/yogawithadriene

Hope that helps!

I use Darebee for workouts. It's a non-profit, ad free, online fitness resource run by people who want to make fitness accessible to everyone.

They have an introduction here - you can filter workouts by type (strength, cardio, stretching, etc), by type of equipment (none, dumbells, etc), by target area (arms, abs, etc) and by difficulty.

They also have programmes you can follow, or themed collections such as for rehab, kettlebells, travelling and 'fit mom'.

They've collaborated with the NHS in the UK to develop workouts which were clinically tested to be approved as part of an NHS fitness initiative.

Caroline Girvan has workouts for strength and fitness in general. She uses dumbbells and other equipment, but she also has bodyweight routines that are quite challenging. She is always very positive and encouraging.

https://www.youtube.com/c/CarolineGirvan

https://www.carolinegirvan.com/

Her beginner series is here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhu1QCKrfgPUZ7_HDxP8P_-0ffNoobSDH

[–] karezi 1 points Edited

I do heavy lifting at a gym, and for me, that was what I needed to stick with it! I needed to go to a place just for it and use equipment they have.

If at home works for you, then it works, but I just wanted to throw that in there as someone who never stuck to anything else before.

My recommendations are Before the Barbell (free on instagram) and Lift with Sohee (paid) which has at home versions.

https://soheefit.com/products/lift-at-home-program

If you do this, it's important to eat enough protein and enough in general. If you want to gain weight, it might feel hard to eat enough. I found myself STARVING after starting strength training, but ymmv.

Edit: agree that a physical therapist can wteer you in the right direction with your spine.

absolutely love heavy lifting! with your scoliosis, if at all possible, I'd find a trainer or book that talks about modifications that can be done (use z-lib dot com to find the books for free download once you got a good google in) for that.

for beginners w your requirements of no gym and no bulky equipment, check out MindPump's MAPS Starter, Anywhere, Resistance, or Suspension. If you want to get some dumbbells, their MAPS Anabolic program has a dumbbell only version. they run sales all the time if you hop on their mailing list and unsubscribe after you get the one you want. at the very least, check out their podcast!

(MAPS here stands for muscle adaptation programing something or other, not the internet slang for pedophilic scum)

If you can get dumbbells, you can combine those with bodyweight moves to make a decent workout at home. For efficiency, I'd pick compound exercises like squats that hit a bunch of muscles at once (instead of isolation exercises like curls that only work one muscle). Try to make sure you have at least one pulling move for your back (e.g. bent over rows with a dumbbell or other heavy object), at least one pressing move for your arms and chest (e.g. pushups and variations), some kind of squat, and some kind of hip hinge (e.g. lunges, glute bridge). Full body workouts 3x per week are probably the most popular for beginners: you do a press, a pull, and something for the lower body in each workout, and you workout three times per week on non-consecutive days. This way, you hit pretty much every muscle group three times a week, with a rest day in between each session to recovery a grow. Loads of other arrangements are possible. For example, some people do a full body workout every day! But they might only do one set per exercise, keeping the total volume low so they can recover. Or some people work out every day, but do e.g. pushing exercises on one day, and legs on the next, so they're not hitting the same muscle groups day after day. What's common to all sensible programmes is that every muscle group is worked out at least a couple of times per week, but not on consecutive days at high volumes.

For volume, 5 reps and 5 sets per exercise is what beginners tend to use for barbell training, but I think with bodyweight and dumbbell exercises you might want more reps, possibly between 8 and 15, maximum 20 (after 20, you get into endurance training territory, not strength). If you feel like you could have done two or three more reps, that's a good difficulty. If you feel like you could have done loads more, get a heavier weight or more difficult exercise variation (you can google e.g. "pushups variations" to get a range of difficulties). If you start getting exhausted and it doesn't get better, maybe lower the number of sets. Have a couple of days off every week, and a light week every one or two months in which you lower the volume and weights to maybe 50%. This helps manage fatigue in the short and long term so you can keep training effectively. Don't switch up the exercises every week, but do change them every couple of months if you like, keeping in mind the push/pull/lower body. Don't do anything that hurts or feels wrong. Sleep, calories, and stress management all support optimal recovery and gains. Have fun!

I'm in a similar position to you and found this workout plan that's pretty straightforward and easy to understand for a beginner:

https://www.gnc.com/health-articles-tips/beginner-workout-plan-total-lean.html

It calls for using dumbells but I'm moving soon and didnt want to buy any. Instead I did the cheap option and filled up a gallon jug to use lol. 1 gallon is around 5lbs.

It says if you've done zero exercise before to start with just getting your body moving, aka 30 min walks multiple times a week. I skipped that step bc I used to be in better shape and went right to the beginner strength training workout. It also gives options to move up to intermediate and advanced if you keep at it long enough. I saw you mentioned back issues and I dont think any of these exercises used much back flexibility.

Hope this helps :)

I got into strength training via Fitness Blender. Daniel and Kelli are so positive and encouraging, but not in the super peppy, screechy way some of these online workout people are. They really are all about starting out slow, not killing yourself and ramping up. They're really helpful in showing proper form too. I also like that they don't use music in their videos. Over the course of a year I went from barely being able to lift anything to deadlifting 60 pounds. I know that's probably small potatoes to some but I'm pretty proud of it!

https://www.fitnessblender.com/

[–] scriptcrone 2 points Edited

First off, I'm not a trainer, and I don't do heavy strength training. I do kettle bells, resistance bands, free weights, and body weight exercises, and I have seen a difference in that I've now got back the no-effort feeling for things like getting out of low chairs, and I might have to start weighing luggage to avoid going over limits!

First thing I'd suggest is a conversation with your doctor about what you should not do in terms of loading your back.

You might also want to think about selecting exercises based on position, if you need it to avoid exacerbating your GERD. There's seldom only one way to work any one muscle group. For example, instead of lying on a bench or exercise ball to do chest presses with dumbells, you can do the presses standing with a resistance band tethered behind you. Same as for standing rows, choose one that will let you remain upright and pulling against resistance rather than bending over and lifting a weight.

Resistance bands might work for you to start: Cheaper than collecting iron weights (there's a set for sale on Amazon.com for $27.00 that also includes short elastics for abductor/adductor exercises), and they allow you to work against resistance while standing or seated. The only limit is having a solid attachment point for those exercises that need an anchor point other than your foot.

I took several books out of the library to get an idea, when Covid arrived and I had to figure out home workouts. This one was the most useful: Karina Inkster Resistance Bands: 50 Exercises for Strength Training at Work or on the Go. New York, NY : Skyhorse Publishing, [2020]

Body weight squats are a good starting point. You can add dumbbells or tin cans or bags of sugar later when body weight alone isn’t enough. As you are underweight you might need to start adding weights to your squat sooner rather than later.

To find suitable stuff online if you can’t buy equipment/go to the gym use ‘body weight exercises’ as a search term.

You could also try press ups for your upper body.

I’d hesitate to recommend buying weights as you’ll progress out of them before too long and need to buy heavier ones: strength training depends on you increasing the resistance every so often.

Strength training is also training to failure - picking a weight where you struggle to get out the final couple of reps (without hurting yourself). You are also looking to do about three sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise.

A gym ball might be a good investment as it can do a lot of the jobs benches do but it will challenge your balance and core more.