By now, you’ve heard all about the benefits of strength training. It makes you fitter and gives you energy. It burns calories (even after you’re done). It helps keep your bones strong. And, it can boost your mood. But, if you’re just getting started, the weight room — with its racks of dumbbells and rows of clunky-looking machines — can be a little intimidating. “A lot of my female clients didn’t know their way around the gym, but once they learned a handful of key moves, their confidence grew,” says Chaz Dawson, a trainer at Equinox Wall Street in NYC.
To make strength training feel less overwhelming, it helps to understand the mechanisms behind it. A good weight-training move, Dawson says, will incorporate the push-pull effect. “Using this technique when you’re working out with weights helps balance your body by working on complimentary muscles equally,” he explains. After all, he adds, “exercise should replicate the natural movements humans make in everyday life, so your body can function at its best.” To that end, Dawson developed this push-pull strength-training routine you can do two to three times per week; it incorporates gym equipment such as cables, medicine balls, and weight benches. Click through for the seven total-body moves — and then stride into the weight room with authority.