How to Start Lifting Weights
We were all once beginners, and we remember how stressful and nerve-racking it was to enter the gym and look at all of these pieces of equipment with no idea where to start and what to do.
During those first months as a fitness newbie, you slowly and surely learn about form, muscle groups, and the different kinds of exercises and movements that you have to incorporate to build a stronger and healthier body. You look for information online in blogs like the Warm Body Cold Mind one, and you search for anything that will help you on your journey.
Having said that, the Internet is usually full of information but it’s all rarely combined in one place. Typically, you have to search for answers in various articles and blog posts and then summarize it all for yourself – a task that, especially as a beginner, can seem rather overwhelming. That’s why we decided to create this post as an all-in-one spot for all your weightlifting questions that can serve as a guide on how to start lifting weights.
And if that’s what you’re in need of right now, then please keep on reading. This article was prepared in collaboration with the experts at the weightlifting blog https://blog.warmbody-coldmind.com.
The authors of that blog are professional athletes with more than 20 years of experience in weightlifting, winners of the Olympic Games and championships in Europe, experienced rehabilitators, power sports trainers, who in particular have experience in training famous athletes.
Where to Start: A Beginner’s Guide
If you’ve never lifted weights before and you’ve made the decision to start a workout program now, then the first thing you need to look for is some certified help. Most fitness centers nowadays offer the help of personal trainers, sometimes with little to no cost for new members or beginners.
Taking a few classes and getting to learn the basics of form and technique from professionals will be crucial for your fitness journey as it will ensure you’re doing the movements correctly without risking injury. Furthermore, PTs can help you learn how to use both the free weights section and the many pieces of equipment in the gym the right way so that you don’t feel embarrassed when you decide to start a particular exercise.
The Must-Knows Before Your First Session
Once you’ve worked out with a trainer and you’ve gotten the hang of the basics, there are some essential rules that you need to keep in mind for every workout. Let’s take a look at what they are.
It sounds obvious, but the reality is most people skip the warm-up – either because they lack the time or because they don’t feel it’s important. However, warming up the muscles is key to having a good and, most importantly, injury-free workout, as it gives your body the needed time to increase blood flow. Warm-ups don’t have to take ages – you can opt for a quick 5-minute jog or walk on the treadmill, a few minutes on the bike, or even a skipping rope for 1-2 minutes. The vital thing is to get your heart pumping, and your muscles loosened.
Start with Lighter Weights
What you define as “light” will vary over time, especially as you get stronger. However, it’s vital to start your workouts with a weight that feels easy and that you can lift for around 10-15 reps while maintaining proper form. That way, you will warm up the muscles for the heavier loads, and you will feel more prepared for them.
Increase the Weight Gradually
It’s vital to not look at others when you determine how much you should be lifting – instead, focus on yourself and leave the so-called “ego lifting” at the door. When you increase the weight that you do an exercise with, go with around a 5 to 10 percent increase, and always make sure you’re maintaining the proper form even when you start performing less reps with heavier weight.
Rest Between Sets
Unless you’re doing a HIIT session or some kind of high-intensity circuit, you don’t have to rush through your sets. Instead, give yourself anywhere between 45 to 90 seconds to rest up and gather strength to go ahead. Typically, the heavier the weight, the more rest time you need to recover properly – so keep that in mind.
Try to stretch after Every Session
No one likes feeling the pain of stretching after a heavy session, but enduring those 10 minutes of suffering will be worth it. By cooling down properly and stretching the muscle groups you worked on, you’re giving them a chance to recover better for your next workout.
Exercises For Beginners
If you’re just starting out and you don’t have any nagging injuries, then our advice would be to start with compound exercises that are done with your body weight or with some light-free weights. Those include squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, V-ups, planks, and more. These essential exercises will work all of the main muscle groups in your body and will help you prepare for more isolated ones later on in your fitness journey.
By starting with the basics, you will be able to build a strong foundation that can only get stronger and fitter over time, and you will find the work on machines that much easier to grasp and actually do.
Having said that, all of the movements we listed should be performed with proper form and technique, especially as you increase the weight or as you try out their many variations. A good tip to keep in mind is to record yourself with your phone as you do the exercises (especially if you don’t have a trainer) – that way, you will be able to see if your form is slacking and what you might change in order to improve it during your next workout.
Take a look at our informative article on the impacts of regular exercise on physical and mental well-being and discover for yourself the importance of staying physically active as much as possible.
Starting your fitness journey might seem intimidating and difficult in the beginning, but you will see that it’s actually worth it after giving it around one month of dedication. As you start to build strength and feel healthier, the motivation to keep going, keep learning more, and keep evolving will naturally increase, and sooner than later, you will find yourself enjoying the time in the gym and actually looking forward to it.