Building Muscle For Beginners

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9 Weight Lifting Tips for Beginners That Will Help You Get More Out of Your Workout

9 Weight Lifting Tips for Beginners That Will Help You Get More Out of Your Workout

Some may consider weight lifting for beginners to be an oxymoron. After all, if you're new to the gym, the idea of picking up and putting down heavy objects while maintaining flawless form appears to be a fairly high degree of physical fitness. What is the best way to learn how to utilize a squat rack? And how will you know if the weight you're lifting is too light, too heavy, or just right?

Weight lifting can be scary, especially if your only experience with it is from watching the Olympics or seeing complex workouts on Instagram. However, it's vital to note that weight lifting is useful to a wide spectrum of people, and the sport involves a wide range of exercises, from basic movements that mirror daily activity to sophisticated power-lifting maneuvers. So don't be concerned if you haven't yet learned how to load weights onto a barbell... or even what to do with that heavy barbell once it's been dropped. Beginner strength training does not imply that you go into the weight room alone and have no idea what you're doing (please don't do that!). Instead, starting to lift weights can be a steady and enjoyable process in which you improve as you go.

Strength training can help you achieve your goals, whether you want to deadlift your bodyweight, do 20 push-ups in a row, or simply get stronger in ways that will help you in everyday life (think: carrying groceries up stairs, picking up your toddler, or loading luggage into your car—all without strains or muscle pulls).

Sivan Fagan, CPT, owner of Strong With Sivan in Baltimore, tells SELF that strength training is one of the best ways to keep your body functioning and healthy in the long run. "With my 80-year-old clientele, I see the benefit." The difference between being able to stop a fall and not being able to stop, fall, and shatter a hip, for example, is being able to control your hips."

Also, a cruel reality is that muscle mass begins to deteriorate in your 30s. There's no better time than now to begin a weight-lifting regimen if you want to build and retain strength as you age.

Lifting weights for beginners doesn't have to be difficult—in fact, it can be a lot of fun. Everything you need to know about starting a strength training program is right here.


1. Begin with your current weight.

That's right, when it comes to weight training, your own weight is extremely important. Simply put, "strength training" is defined as "the use of resistance to create work for your muscles," according to Hannah Davis, CSCS, owner of Body by Hannah. Weight lifting for beginners normally begins with your own bodyweight and progresses to using external weight such as dumbbells and barbells as time goes on.

According to Fagan, not only can you get a good strength training workout with just your bodyweight, but bodyweight exercises are also a good method for novices to learn all of the basic movement patterns in strength training. Before you pick up a set of dumbbells for deadlifts, for example, make sure you know how to complete a hip hinge, which involves moving your hips and buttocks backwards, keeping a neutral spine and a slight bend in your knees Before you ever consider utilizing a squat rack, you should be comfortable with bodyweight squats.


2. Make sure your form is perfect.

Again, make sure your form is perfect before picking up a weight. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, getting real-time feedback on your form got much more difficult. You may feel more comfortable arranging a session with a personal trainer (if your budget allows it) to go over the basics of different strength training moves now that many gyms have reopened (and, presumably, are following by safety precautions to keep their members and staff as safe as possible).

Many personal trainers now provide virtual sessions if in-person training is not an option for you. If you take that route, be sure the trainer can capture your form from a variety of angles so it can be more accurately replicated in person. "A squat can make their form look lovely from the front, but if you say, 'Okay, show me a side view,' you can tell their torso is tilting as well." much forward," Fagan explains.

According to Fagan, a personal trainer can help you master those basic movement patterns, which are the foundation for many of the workouts you'll practice. You'll be better equipped to progress securely because they'll be able to suggest real-time modifications to your form.


3. Purchase some equipment.

While it's important to start with bodyweight exercises, you'll eventually want to incorporate weights into your workout. During the coronavirus pandemic, weights, like most other types of at-home training equipment, were hard to come by online, but have progressively been restocked.

Dumbbells, if you can find them, are the most user-friendly weight option for novices, says Fagan, more so than kettlebells or barbells, which require more instruction to use effectively and securely. You should have three sets: a light, a medium, and a heavy (perhaps, 5 pounds, 12 pounds, and 20 pounds, she says). Another alternative is to get an adjustable set of weights, which can save a lot of room if you know you'll need heavier weights as well.

Other non-weight equipment, which is usually easier to come by than actual weights, can also be used to spice up your workout. Mini bands, looped resistance bands, sliders, and suspension trainers (like TRX) are examples, according to Fagan.


4. Warm up your muscles before beginning.

A proper warm-up is an essential component of a successful strength workout. Using a foam roller to wake up your muscles is a good way to start. "Foam rolling helps to loosen up stiff muscles so they can work the way they're supposed to," Davis adds. According to studies published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, using a percussive massage gun (such a Theragun) can also help your muscles warm up before a workout.

A dynamic warm-up is an essential aspect of your preworkout regimen since it prepares your muscles for the job they'll be doing and helps you enhance your range of motion. A dynamic warm-up entails moving through a series of modest movement patterns to assist your muscles prepare for the job ahead of them. More range of motion helps you to squat deeper and completely stretch your arms during biceps curls, resulting in increased muscle recruitment and better outcomes.


5. Make regular workouts a priority, but don't overdo it.

Knowing when and how often to work out is one of the most challenging aspects of establishing a novice strength training routine. The trick is to go slowly at first. Davis suggests starting with two days for two to three weeks, then adding a third. "Ideally, you should strength train three to five times per week, but begin slowly—five times per week may be too much for your body." In fact, one of them of the most typical mistakes made by newcomers, according to Fagan, is doing too much too quickly.

Making every session a total-body day, rather than breaking it up into muscle groups, is an efficient way to organize weight training for novices, according to Fagan. That means you'll do a little bit of everything in each workout—some lower-body training, some core moves, and some upper-body work—keeping your workout balanced. If you're performing total-body workouts three days a week, you can ultimately add a bonus day to focus on specific areas where you want to gain strength.


6. Make sure you're lifting the proper amount of weight.

While having a single beginning weight for everyone would be ideal, it truly depends on your present strength, the sort of exercise you're doing, and how many repetitions and sets you expect to do of that motion. According to Fagan, when starting out, you should aim for 12 to 15 reps per set. You should only complete one to two sets of each exercise throughout your first month of strength training. You can move to three sets per exercise if you feel stronger and those sets become a little easier, she suggests.

Keep in mind that different exercises will require different weights because some muscle groups (such as your glutes) are naturally stronger than others (such as your triceps), so having some variety around you is beneficial. A light, medium, and heavy set of dumbbells, a kettlebell or two, and possibly a barbell are all possibilities. Choose a weight for each exercise that feels heavy enough to test you but not so heavy that it compromises your form.

Use the rate of perceived effort scale to see if the weight you're using is right for you, according to Noam Tamir, CSCS, owner and CEO of TS Fitness in New York City, who previously told SELF. On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 represents sitting on the couch and 10 represents the maximum effort you can sustain for a few seconds, you should aim to finish the set at an 8. If you've already reached an 8 and have four reps left in your set, you should probably reduce the weight.

It's also crucial, according to Tamir, to make sure you get enough rest in between sets. Sticking to a 1:2 work-to-rest ratio—for example, 40 seconds of rest if your set was 20 seconds—can help ensure you've recovered enough to finish your next set. The idea isn't to maintain your heart rate raised throughout the workout like it is when you do cardio, but you should feel pushed at the end of each session.


7. When you're first starting out, keep doing the same motions every day.

While experienced lifters may choose to do various exercises every day for a week (and then repeat the same motions the following week), Davis says there's no need to do so when you're just starting started. Plus, for a while, it'll remove some of the guessing out of your routine.

"Repeat the same basic motions two to three times a week to achieve a fundamental level of fitness and power," Davis says."Why make things more complicated if you don't have to?" "By doing the same workout but increasing the weights as you get stronger, you can achieve fantastic results." Furthermore, rather than moving on to new workouts before mastering the first, this will assist you master the moves. (If you don't have access to bigger weights, use these tricks to make a workout feel more difficult without adding more.)


8. If you can, squeeze in a post-workout stretch.

It's time to stretch it out now that you've mastered the training aspect. (Do you have any ahhs?) Stretching when your muscles are warm can assist increase your flexibility, according to Davis, and it also feels great after a hard workout.

According to Jennifer Morgan, DPT, P.T., CSCS, a physical therapist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a 5- to 10-minute cooldown after your workout should include dynamic stretches, or stretches that incorporate some movement. This aids in healing by increasing blood flow to your muscles. If you have a massage gun sitting around, you may use it for post-workout recuperation as well.


9. Listen to your body and take rest days when it tells you to

It's fine if you're a little sore. DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, can make your muscles feel achy or tired the day after a strenuous workout. Strength training causes microscopic injury to the tissue that will be regenerated, which is how muscle is built. However, you don't want to be sore that you can't exercise the rest of the week, so if your soreness keeps you from exercising for several days, it's an indication you're probably doing too much too soon.

Rest days are essential to any weight lifting practice, whether you're a beginner or a master. “ You won't allow the muscle fibers a chance to rebuild if you repeatedly tear down muscle without a rest period.

At the end of the day, you must concentrate on your feelings. Davis advises, "Listen to your body." "It lets you know when it needs a break." If your reported discomfort is greater than a 7 on a scale of 10, Davis recommends taking a day off. You might alternatively concentrate on a different body component or attempt a milder workout such as yoga or Pilates.

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