Weight Training For Beginners: Getting Started


When you are switching to lift heavy weights, you need to know the art of how to lift every piece of weight in your gym arena. So for a beginner, it is important to know how to make every movement while taking them off before they switch to other heavy weights.

It is a well-known fact that with age, bones become porous and susceptible to breakage. Research has shown that regular workout can impede or even prevent bone loss.[1] This is a story of stress conditioning. If you regularly put your bones under physical stress, it trains itself better and strengthens. Hence, strength training is most important for preventing bone loss, apart from all the attractive physical benefits.

What is weight training?

Completely opposite to cardio, strength training exercises are anaerobic. This means that they do not require as much oxygen as cardio and work mainly on muscles, instead of fat. It is also called resistance training, and a regular strength training, not only builds an attractive physique, but increases bone density as well.

Whenever you lift, pull or push something bigger than usual, you engage in a bit of strength training. Think of activities like lifting groceries, climbing stairs, opening a heavy door, etc. A strength exercise routine typically employs equipment such as weight machines, free weights and resistance bands to do so.

Since, it improves lean muscle mass to fat ratio, it deserves an important place in any exercise routine.

It can be done through body weight exercises too, but in the later stages requires use of external equipment like dumbbells, kettle bells, bar bells, and other free weights.

Getting started

Research indicates that almost all the benefits of resistance training are likely to be obtained in two 15 to 20-min training sessions a week. Sensible resistance training involves precise controlled movements for each major muscle group and does not require the use of very heavy resistance.[2]

One set per session is effective, though two to three sets may be better. Repeat each exercise 8-12 times. Giving muscles the time off becomes necessary here.

Strenuous exercise, like strength training, causes little lesions in muscle tissue which help it grow and become stronger. Recommended recovery period is of 48 hours between two consecutive sessions.

There are two ways to do this. If you do a full-body strength workout on Monday, wait until at least Wednesday to repeat it. On Tuesday, you can go for an aerobic or stretching exercise session. Or if you opt for a partial-body strength session, then your schedule should be somewhat like this:

  • Monday & Wednesday – upper-body exercise
  • Tuesday & Thursday – lower-body exercise
  • 10 minutes of aerobic on as many days as possible.

For extreme beginners, those who have never engaged in any kind of strength training, it must begin with a body-weight exercise routine as they are low-impact with lesser risk of injury.

In article, 20 Kick-Ass Bodyweight Exercises for Home workouts, we have included some beginner level strength training exercises to give you a hang of how it feels like. These body-weight exercises can be done anywhere and anytime, even while traveling for work.

Body-weight vs. External weights

A commonly observed difference between the results of two is in the type of body they build. Body-weight exercise will give you a lean, healthy body while the latter would result in buffed up muscles, like those of bodybuilder. When compared along, the former is low impact with less risk of injury.

With minimum equipment use, body-weight training is ideal for anyone with a busy schedule, or in a job that requires a lot of travelling.

Good technique tips

These tips for safe strength training will help you get the most from your workouts:

  1. Always do a warm up (slow walk) and cool down (mild stretching).
  2. Prioritize form (technique) over weight. Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains.
  3. Movement should be slow and smooth. Make use of tempo or counts to keep control on pace.
  4. Practice good breathing technique. Couple going in position with inhale and getting back to initial position with exhale.
  5. Challenging muscle is important. Continue to increase number of reps or amount of weight, as you progress.

Buying Appropriate Shoes

For body weight training, you can use your regular converse or even go barefoot. In case, you are in mood for some serious weight training, wear ones that have a good rubber sole for better grip on the floor and added cushioning effect.

You’ve had enough of theory. Now step out in the arena and start working with some free weights. A good beginning makes the job all the more easier.

Suggested Readings

  1. Exercise Encyclopedia – Workout Trends
  2. Hottest Fitness Apps to Track Progress
  3. Whey Protein – Complete Guide to Protein Supplements
References:

[1] Sinaki M. Exercise and osteoporosis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1989 Mar; 70(3):220-9. Review. PubMed PMID: 2647057. ^Back to Top^

[2] Richard A. Winett, Ph.Da, 2, Ralph N. Carpinelli, Ed.D.b. Potential Health-Related Benefits of Resistance Training. ^Back to Top^

Last Updated: April 28, 2014

Next Scheduled Update: June 28, 2014

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