Weight Lifting Tips for Beginners
The gym itself can be intimidating for beginners, and when you tack on the extra pressure of navigating the weight room for the first time, it can be downright terrifying. The brazen energy can feel suffocating if you’re unsure about yourself, so we’re here to ease your mind and give you some insider tips that you may not be aware of. If lifting weights is totally new for you, this guideline should help you conquer the fear of entering the weight room.
Strength training consists of putting regular strain on your muscles. You’re trusting that by causing microscopic injury, your body will build more muscle tissue via the healing process. To avoid injury and make the most of this process, you need to prepare your muscles and allow time for your body to send more blood to those muscles before you put them through the wringer.
Do this by starting with very light weights or just your body weight while doing light exercise. You can also do some dynamic stretches and movements to get your blood pumping. Need more help? Here are a few ideas: arm circles, hip rotations, jump rope, leg swings, squats or lunges without added weight.
Start With Your Body Weight
If the heavy equipment is what’s intimidating you, then skip the equipment. Yep, you heard right. You actually don’t need weights to work out. At least not when you’re just starting. Using just your body weight for resistance can give you just as much of a workout and can be easier to control. So start with the basics: push-ups, pull-ups, squats and lunges. You can learn to incorporate weights once you’ve built up your strength.
Stick to the Same Exercises
Yes, doing the same exercise over and over again can lead to a plateau. But that’s not going to happen right away. Give yourself the time to adjust to this new routine, and don’t overcomplicate what’s already difficult. Instead, do a full-body workout each time you go to the gym, using your rest time for one muscle group to exercise a different muscle group. Just go two or three times a week — and if you feel like it’s becoming too easy, don’t change the movement; increase your weight instead.
Focus on Your Form
Form. is. everything. Losing your form can sacrifice the efficiency of your workout and increase your chance of being injured. As a basic rule of thumb, the faster you do a movement, the more likely you are to lose your form. Stick to slow and steady, and to make sure you’re maintaining the right form, have your workout buddy keep an eye on you. If you’re alone, work out in front of a mirror and keep an eye on your posture and stance.
Take a Class
If you’re a beginner to lifting weights, taking a class is an awesome way to get acquainted with the equipment and gain a better understanding of what you should be doing. The instructor will keep an eye on you and let you know if you need to pull your shoulders back or stop craning your neck, but they’ll also be able to introduce you to gear that’s a little intimidating. And there’s no better way to learn a new exercise than by doing it!
Bonus Tip: Be Aware of Others
If it’s your first time in the weight room, it can feel like there’s this natural flow that you’re not in on. But the most important aspect is this: be aware of others around you and be respectful to them. Bring a towel and wipe down equipment after you’ve used it. Don’t rest with a piece of equipment too long if someone else is waiting to use it. And don’t stand so close to that guy doing deadlifts that you put yourself in danger.
- Outdoors Staff