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The Rule of 3 – Strength Training For Beginners

Take the intimidation out of beginner strength training with the simple and straight-forward Rule of 3!

I lead a more active lifestyle now than I ever have before, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have lazy thoughts (and sometimes lazy actions to go with them)!

Sure, I’m a health coach. Yeah, I have my personal trainer’s certification.

But I sure don’t feel like the typical personal trainer!

My cousin is a personal trainer.

He is the one that fits that mold.

I think his bicep is about the size of my head. His workouts take priority in his schedule over just about everything and he loves it that way.

Working out is not my life.

Working out is an important part of my life, though!

Strength training is the hardest for me.

I don’t enjoy it.

Weight lifting has absolutely zero appeal to me. I always “ooo” and “ahh” at CrossFitters because it really is amazing the things they are able to do…but getting there just sounds like torture to me.

Nevertheless, I know how important strength training is, and you should too.

I want to have strong muscles, solid balance, less injuries, a faster metabolism, and all of the other benefits it offers, so I build it into my life…

but I do it on my terms.

I will probably never get to CrossFit status (which is just fine with me!), but I have figured out a way to make strength training a regular part of my routine.

Take the intimidation out of strength training with the simple and straight-forward Rule of 3!

The Rule of 3

I do not see my cardio as a warm-up. I never have and I probably never will. Because I know I don’t have the motivation to “start” my workout after a run, I tell myself, “just do 3 more things.”

It’s a really simple idea.

All you do is choose three strength moves to add to your workout.

Whether you walked, ran, ellipticalled, and swam, just choose three things. It can be bodyweight exercises, moves using circuit machines, something using hand weights or an exercise ball…anything that is focused on building muscle.

Don’t overcomplicate this.

It’s the simplicity that makes it so doable!

You don’t need any equipment, there is no specific schedule for you to follow, and no order the exercises have to go in.

I try to mix them up and target different areas of my body, but I don’t do it according to a specific plan.

If you want to write a plan out, by all means do it, but I’ve found I just feel too forced and locked in when I do it that way.

And when I start feeling forced, I usually dig my heels into the ground and stop doing them altogether.

So, I just do three things.

Now, ideally, you would do somewhat of a circuit of those three exercises, doing 12-15 reps of each exercise and cycling through them three times.

Sometimes I do that, sometimes I don’t.

Just do three things every time.

It’s a small thing that makes such a big difference. 

My Favorite Strength Moves

  • Chest press (I really love strength moves that let you lay down!) with hand weights
  • Russian twist
  • Walking lunges
  • Wall sits
  • Glute bridge
  • Clam shells
  • Planks (and all of the plank variations)
  • Sumo squat
  • Reverse crunch
  • Tricep dip
  • Bird dogs
  • Sit ups
  • Hammer curls
  • Inchworms
  • Calf raises
  • Chest fly
  • Tricep kickbacks
  • Bent rows

Kristin Cook

Monday 30th of January 2017

I usually have to stick with the body-weight exercising because of a hip injury. Weight lifting class was not my friend in high school. I have to be very careful!


Monday 27th of February 2017

Yikes! I'm so sorry you still have lingering injuries! Weight lifting definitely intimidates me and it sounds like for good reason!


Monday 30th of January 2017

I love it - 3 strength exercises in a workout - brilliant. It does make it so doable. I try add strength training after my walks (when its not pouring with rain) and usually do squats, planks, push ups, and lunges or leg raises. Usually time is my biggest restriction. Thanks for being so honest about your workout. Its encouraging.


Monday 27th of February 2017

Thank you! That's a great combination of strength exercises and I am all about making it doable (so that I actually make myself DO it!). Thanks so much for your comment!


Monday 30th of January 2017

Oh my I'm so happy to have found a trainer who doesn't love working out. Such a good realistic approach to adding something you don't really enjoy.


Monday 30th of January 2017

I've recently started on a healthy lifestyle change in my life and this post fits in perfectly. Thanks for sharing


Monday 30th of January 2017

I hate doing my workouts after running, but this rule of 3 seems a good idea!