Did you know strength training exercises are among the most important exercises to keep fit and healthy?  Your muscles naturally start losing strength and tone in your 30s, which means you also burn fewer calories and increase your risk of breaking bones.

The good news is you can minimise this by doing regular weight training sessions.

Beginners should focus on good form and correct weights. If you’re not sure what exercises to do, here are 5 simple ones which target all the major muscle groups.

You will need a set of dumbbells and should perform the exercises at least twice a week.


This exercise targets your back and core. Your legs and supporting arms are placed like the three-legged frame of a tripod so you have a wide base of support.

  • Get on all fours and hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Extend right leg behind you. Bend left elbow straight up, pulling the weight close to your left side. Lower slowly, and repeat 8-10 times. Repeat with the other arm.


This straightforward move seriously hits your back and shoulder muscles. It’s the one to get you that elusive V-shape with a narrow waist.

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with knuckles facing out. Exhale and lift the dumbbells straight up towards your chin, keeping them close to your body. Pause, then lower down slowly to starting position. Repeat 8-10 times.


Although this is one of the most basic and familiar exercises you can do, bicep curls are great for toning your arms and forearms.

  • Stand straight with a dumbbell hanging in each hand with palms facing forward. Keeping your upper arms straight, bend your elbows and bring your palms up towards your shoulders. Inhale, and slowly lower down. Repeat 10 times, relax, then do two more sets.


This move builds your core, triceps and shoulder strength from the ground up. It’s ideal for beginners, also for lifters who get fed up with heavy barbell lifting.

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights over your chest then drive them straight up. Pause, then slowly lower your arms until your triceps touch the floor. Continue pressing up and down for 10 reps.


One of the best moves for overall strength, squats with added dumbbells allow beginners to concentrate on their technique.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells. Keeping your head up and back straight, sit back into a squat until the weights are just above the floor. Keep your chest out and back straight. Exhale, straighten legs and return to starting position.

The Author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for PayasUgym. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.


Lucy C.
24 September 2017

Lucy C.

30s? Frightening, isn't it? Some simple but effective exercises, always motivating so thanks.

Helen P.
24 September 2017

Helen P.

Now I've hit my 30s I am doing a lot more strength exercises, rather than just the treadmill and cross trainer. I do tend to just use the machines though so these ideas made me think I should get some dumbbells. But what size would I get for a woman?

Michael A.
23 September 2017

Michael A.

I really like doing dumbbell floor presses and can lift heavier weights with it than with pressdowns or triceos extensions..

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