How to Start Lifting Weights: 7 Tips for Beginners
December 24th 2018
We know your plight:
It takes just one look at the body on Dwayne Johnson to get you wanting to be like that too. On getting to the gym, though, it all looks overwhelming.
Even certified trainers ask the same question - how to start lifting weights.
Some don’t even get to the gym at all before they think about all the stress that comes with strength training and bail on it.
The truth is, it doesn’t have to be stressful.
True, there is no gain without pain, but with the right knowledge, there shouldn’t be much pain at all. That is why we are going to show you just how to start lifting weights and to start doing it right too.
But then, why bother at all?
There are a lot of reasons why you should start weight training today. While keeping a good-looking structure is one of it, it is not the main importance – as you might have been led to believe.
In fact, weight training could be the key to staying young.
It is not hidden knowledge that we start to lose body and muscle mass as you get older. Sufficient weight training can help not only to slow down this loss but even reverse it.
Beyond that, you will now be able to do your day to day activities with more ease. That includes all your lifting, climbing stairs and performing other mechanical operations.
As if that is not enough, weight training holds a lot of promise for your heart and other crucial organs. Of course, that is in addition to the fact that you will look good.
That said, what’s stopping you?
How You Should Start Lifting Weights
We did promise to let you in on how best to start lifting weights, didn’t we? Let’s get right into it then.
- Lose the Stereotype
There’s one image that lingers in the minds of nearly everyone starting out with weights. It is that picture of a huge guy deadlifting 140kg without breaking a sweat.
For others, the picture is that of someone doing crazy sets on the dumbbell, or any other machine for that reason. Today, we want you to get those images out of your mind.
Weights training is a personal journey and like every other one, you’ve got to find your path yourself. Speaking of finding paths…
- Identify the important muscle groups
When you’re lifting weights, you are directing all that effort into building/ developing some muscles. Before you start at all, it would be in your best interest to identify what muscle groups you would be impacting with each exercise.
While we advise building everything uniformly, everyone has different muscles which they are more interested in developing. Identifying the various groups would thus be the best way to get started on just what you need to do in making that happen.
- Identify the exercises
Now that you know what muscle groups there are, identify the exercises that would help you work them.
For example, the muscle groups in the lower body can be worked on with a combination of squats, deadlifts, and lunges. For the shoulders, you would go for overhead presses and raises.
Chest muscles are best built with a combination of bench presses and flies. On the other hand, the back will benefit from rows.
We don’t expect you to know how to do every one of these moves right off the bat. Figure out what you want from the gym and begin your analysis.
- Practice your form
One reason why many go into the gym and come back looking in bad shape is that they didn’t practice the proper form. That is also why some people end up looking partly disabled, imbalanced or improperly shaped after the have been weightlifting for a time.
Injuries are another reason why good form is important. Thus, it is advisable that you have good form before you go all out into the exercise.
It is recommended that you seek out a trainer to get you started on the right track or practice in front of a mirror if that is not an option.
- Find the right weights
Remember what we said about getting some mental pictures off your mind? It applies here too.
You shouldn’t start with weights beyond your level just because someone is doing them. That won’t make you grow muscles faster. If anything, it could leave your muscles too sore and badly damaged to do any other thing.
For form training, go for weights that are way lighter than what you should be lifting. Practice with them till you have the right form then move on.
By moving on, we mean choosing a weight that allows you to do eight repetitions, with the last 2 – 3 being the most difficult to complete.
For example, choose a dumbbell that you can curl about 6 times before feeling a burning sensation. That is usually a great way to pick the correct weight for yourself.
- Create a Routine
Now that everything is set, you can create your routine. The aim of this routine is to keep you on track, ensure you don’t miss your training and that you know just what you are doing in every session.
From the muscle groups you have identified, you should know the ones you want to focus on already. Pick the right weights and get the form.
Decide how long you want to spend at each exercise before you move on to the next one.
Writing down the name of the exercise, how many sets to go and the number of reps per set will help you set proper goals and monitor how much you’re developing.
This is just as important as any other part of the process.
Whenever you lift weights, what goes on in your body is a series of processes which leads to a muscle tear. With proper dieting and rest, the muscles will heal – and become bigger.
In time, that is what you see as the addition of body mass. Without proper rest in between sets and sessions, you won’t get to enjoy the benefits of weight lifting as much as you should.
After every set, take between 1 – 3 minutes to rest. There is really no need to go huffing and puffing. When you’re done with the session for the day, leave about 48 – 72 hours for proper rest.
To make this even more functional, you can exercise a muscle group on the first day, exercise yet another on the next day and work on a third group the very next day. That gives the first group more time to recover while you focus on other parts of your body.
There you have it.
The top tips to get you weightlifting in no time. Ensure you follow through diligently and you’ll start seeing results in no time.
Of course, you can hire a personal trainer if you’ve got the cash. Otherwise, the above 7 nuggets are just about what you need to get started.