Whatever the reason you want to learn to lift — lose weight, build a better-looking body, get strong, forge greater self-confidence, complement your sport or improve your health, you’re in the right place. This programme will help you to:

  • Master the key movements for resistance training
  • Learn the exercises that provide the best return on your time and effort
  • Feel confident in your gym
  • Move at your own pace
  • Get the most from your gym membership


Equipment You'll Need

We know that when it comes to weight training the kit can be intimidating, that’s why this programme will keep things simple. All you need to complete the exercises is some dumbbells and a bench. There are a couple of other pieces of equipment but we have provided alternatives if your gym doesn’t have them.

Progressive Overloading

The key to a successful strength programme is progressive overload. So, instead of going through the motions each session. You should look to improve in some way.

Initially, this will be working on executing the lift well. Once you feel confident, try and challenge yourself.

The great thing about strength is that you can make super quick progress, so embrace it and challenge yourself.

Choosing The Right Weight

This is arguably the trickiest part of the programme so we have made this as simple as possible. Each exercise you will be aiming for 10 repetitions. To start with pick up a light set of dumbbells, this could be the 2.5kgs.

If you complete 10 reps and feel you had 2 or more good reps left then increase the weight next time. You should then find a weight that is challenging for 10 reps.


We cover the 5 core exercises. Giving you a solid training foundation and ensuring you are focusing on what really matters. So what are they?

Goblet Squat






Each full-body workout consists of 3 movements per day.

Day 1
A1. Dumbbell Goblet Squat – 3 sets of 10 repetitions

B1. Press Up – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
B2. Dumbbell One-Arm Row – 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Day 2
A1. Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift – 3 sets of 10 repetitions

B1. Bodyweight Inverted Row – 3 sets of 10 repetitions
B2. Press Up – 3 sets of 10 repetitions

The first exercise in each day is what we call a straight-set, this basically means you will do this one on its own. So one set of 10 repetitions, rest and repeat a total of 3 times.

The second is what we call a superset, this is where one exercise is paired with another to form a mini circuit.

For example, on day 1 you will complete Goblet Squats on their own (with rest between the sets). Then, you will complete one set of press-ups, followed by one set of rows before taking your rest. You will then repeat this superset 3 times in total.

We recommend completing these workouts at least 3 times each week, alternating between Day 1 workout and Day 2 workout.

To maximise the potential of this programme we suggest running it for 6 weeks.

To log your training download your Learn To Lift Foundations Programme and Log Sheet here.

free exercise tools
In addition to our in-person and online Personal Training, we create free tools, downloadable guides and “how-to articles” each month. Enter your email below and we’ll send you our Health by Science Learn To Lift Starter Kit:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I exercise when I am sore?

We know that muscles can be particularly sore after we stress the body in a new way. The body isn’t used to it so it is likely to be sore for a couple of days after. This is normal.

The good news is that the more regularly we do an exercise the less sore they become. But, if you stick with it and regularly practice this, in a few weeks you will likely have little or no soreness. So the key thing to remember is that the soreness will reduce as your body becomes better conditioned to that exercise. And the only way to do this is by exercising regularly.

When it comes to whether you should workout when you’re sore, it’s good to think of it as a spectrum. First, ask yourself, How sore do you feel? 

Green – Would be that you don’t have any muscle soreness. 

= Carry on as normal.

Amber – If you have some discomfort and your muscles feel a bit tender 

= Keep up your physical activity levels, but avoid any high-intensity exercise.

Red – Very unlikely. But if you do feel really sore after exercising then we would encourage you to stay mobile and move around but hold off on any more exercise until the soreness goes away.

What about other training? (cardio, mobility)

On the days you are not completing the learn to lift programme, you don’t have to rest and do nothing. This can be a great opportunity to work on the other areas of fitness. The learn to lift programme is mainly about building strength, so try to pick activities that work on mobility or cardiovascular endurance.

How long should I follow this programme for?

We recommend that you complete this programme for at least 6 weeks. However, if you are still making progress after 6 weeks and enjoying yourself then keep it going you begin to plateau. If you are new to lifting you can make quick and large improvements so you want to take full advantage of this.

What do I do if I want a longer workout?

We have kept things super simple and just focused on 3 exercises each session. This should take around 20 minutes to complete. You can be happy that you have done the main work and ticked a lot of boxes.

However, if you would like to do more that’s great! Feel free to add any other exercises to the programme as long as they don’t take up too much time or effort. As you have already hit the big movements we advise doing some more isolation exercises for areas that you want to work more of.

For example, if your arms are an area you want to develop you may do some dumbbell curls. If the core is a target area, then throw in some crunches.

What do I do if it is my first time in the gym?

Take a lap around the gym and do any exercises you feel comfortable with. This could be some stretches or sitting on the static bike for 5 minutes.

If you walked out right after doing these things, it’s still a win for Day 1 in a gym. Along as it leaves you feeling good enough to come back. Walking through the door makes you a winner. Ask for a tour if you need to know where things are!