1. You need access to the right weight lifting equipment. It could be a home gym, a gym down the street, a school gym, or even a gym at work. You don't need any fancy machines or other equipment. It doesn't matter if you workout in a barn, your garage, or outside in the hot sun. All you need is a few pieces of the right equipment and that's it.
2. All you need is a power rack, an Olympic barbell set or two, an adjustable dumbbell set, adjustable bench, extra weight plates, and a place to do chin ups and dips. You can even get started with just a set of adjustable dumbbells as I did back in the year 2000. You can take your time upgrading your home gym from there.
3. A home gym is the absolute best and highly recommended option. There are so many advantages, and one of the biggest is convenience. If you're going to stay consistent, it's much easier with a gym that's right there in your home. You'll also save thousands of dollars over the years and tons of time driving back and forth to the gym.
4. A Bowflex is a good option for getting started. The only drawback is the limited amount of resistance you can add, and the limited number of good compound weight lifting exercises. Eventually (sometimes very soon for naturally strong men and women) you will need to upgrade to free weights like barbells and dumbbells. If you have a Bowflex and want a starter workout just to get you going, here's one: WLC's Bowflex Workout.
5. You simply need a safe way to increase the amount of resistance you are using. Any type of resistance will work. For example, you can use barbells and dumbbells but you can also use different size chains or resistance bands. Anything will work in which you can change the amount of resistance: kettlebells, clubbells, hammers, machines, sandbags, rings, sleds, or belts. And you're going to need heavier and heavier weights as you get stronger so plan accordingly.
6. Body weight workouts can be a good start but you will eventually (probably within just a few weeks depending on your current condition) need a way to add resistance to those exercises to make them more difficult for you. There are some tough bodyweight exercises out there like 1-legged squats so a good plan of progression would be to start with the easier bodyweight exercises and upgrade to more difficult body weight exercises until you can make the upgrade to free weights.
7. There are 7 exercises that every WLC based weight lifting program is focused around and these seven are the top exercises in existence. You will use these seven exercises to measure your progress. Your focus is to get stronger on these 7 exercises: (1) Squat, (2) Deadlift, (3) Bench Press, (4) Rows, (5) Overhead Press, (6) Pull Ups, and (7) Dips. Those “Big 7” will build you a strong, balanced, and complete body. You can add finishing touches with a few other exercises like Curls and Extensions for your arms and Calf Raises for your calves.
8. One of your top priorities with weight lifting no matter if you are just a first-time beginner or an experienced veteran is to continue learning proper weight lifting techniques for each of those 7 exercises. There are tons of tips and tricks to those exercises that will help you get stronger faster. I have been lifting since the year 2000, and I still find new tricks on my own and learn new things from other people as well. You must continue to practice getting better and better at performing those 7 exercises.
9. Any variation of the Big 7 exercises will also be a good exercise. For example, any variation of squats will be a good exercise but provide a different stimulation for your muscle groups: front squats, low bar squats, high bar squats, Zercher squats, hip belt squats, old style barbell hack squats, Bulgarian squats, split squats, and more.
10. I've learned most of what I know about doing squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press from Coach Mark Rippetoe who is a USA Senior Weightlifting Coach. I highly advise you get a copy of his book (Starting Strength) and the accompanying DVD showing the exercises in action. There's not a better book out there on learning how to do the exercises. You will find several of his videos throughout this website to give you a good start.
11. Here's a page I made just for you that has exercise videos for the Big 7 exercises. This should help you out even more on how to do the exercises: 7 Core WLC Exercises. And it doesn't hurt to watch each video multiple times, pause the videos, and to practice while you are watching.
12. Always have an open mind to proper form and technique for weight lifting exercises. Unless you were taught by a very experienced and top-notch weightlifting coach, you most likely have a lot to learn, just as I did. Just because you think you're doing an exercise right, it sure doesn't mean you couldn't use some improving. I know that from personal experience because I once thought I knew everything (I was young) — not true. We can always learn from someone who knows more than us.
13. Never listen to or take advice from someone at a gym who is not experienced with years and years of training experience. Just because someone has a personal trainer certification, this does not mean they know what they are talking about. Anyone can get a certification. It's best to learn from someone that you know has the experience to teach you the right way. Looks can be deceiving so be very careful who you are listening to and trusting.