Lifting weights sounds simple enough – even if it never proves all that easy to actually do. However, the weightlifting process, when performed correctly, is more complex than you might expect. What’s more, taking a lack of understanding of the correct practices into the gym with you could lead to you coming out again seriously injured. In order to begin weightlifting safely and effectively, you need to appreciate your body’s mechanics. You also need to know your limits, when to stop, and when you need help. Otherwise, you will only wind up doing yourself more harm than good. If you’re new to the world of weights and want to make sure that you’re making the most of your sessions and not over-straining yourself, check out our tips for weightlifting for beginners.
1. Know your body
Different people have to take different approaches to weightlifting. Weightlifting for beginners is often largely a process of steadily building up your main muscle groups. It is crucial that you don’t start with anything too heavy too quickly. This can lead to injuries and makes your gym sessions less effective. If you’re losing the form of your posture as you lift, and are swinging to use momentum as a lifting aid, then you’re working with too much weight. Equally, beginning with too little weight makes your workout pretty pointless. Our tip: start small and gradually work up until it’s hard work but not unsafe. This will help you get to know the limits of your own body, and then you can fully appreciate how your limits rise as you work.
2. Know what you want to achieve
Early on, you’ll need to establish what kind of training – with what kind of results – you’re looking to take up. A factor in this decision may be the equipment you have available to you, especially if you plan on conducting your training at home. Are you taking up weightlifting in order to get slightly more toned, and improve your overall fitness? Or, are you here to get jacked, hench and buff Hulk-style? This will affect the size of commitment you’ll need to make to your training (and diet). If you’re hovering somewhere between the two, and simply aren’t sure exactly what you want to achieve beyond a desire to be able to shift heavier things, then don’t be afraid to first seek a casual consultation with a trainer at your gym.
3. Know the decorum
When giving advice on weightlifting for beginners, it wouldn’t do to disregard proper gym etiquette. Working up a mighty sweat at the gym is all part of the experience, and greatly encouraged. However, no one wants to take up the machine you’ve just vacated, only to be confronted with a slimy, unsavoury, sweat pool. Take two towels with you on every gym visit; one for you post shower, and the other to wipe down any equipment once you’re done with it. Further to this, make sure you leave any public equipment in whatever state you found it. So, leave enough energy to stick your weights back on the rack once you’re done. Finally, if someone asks you to spot them, don’t shy away. Gyms are often close little communities, and spotting is part of that.
4. Get the help you need and find that works for you
There are countless set weightlifting workouts and regimes out there, many geared towards weightlifting for beginners. Research and experiment with these routines and find out what you enjoy. Take the time to understand which muscle groups these individual routines, and specific exercises, are targeting as this will give you a better idea of what results to expect and whether they’re in line with your overall aims. If you have access to a personal trainer, or even a friend with experience in the field of weightlifting, their advice and support could prove invaluable too.
5. Don’t give up!
As this is weightlifting for beginners we’re talking about here, it could well be that you’re yet to endure your first weightlifting session. Once that has passed you’ll probably find that you’re aching, and perhaps not exactly chomping at the bit to get back to the gym. That’s normal, and as long as you haven’t overstrained yourself and are suffering persisting pain, all it means is that your muscles are repairing themselves to be stronger than before. That’s a job well done. So, don’t give up. Keep going and the pain will lessen and your strength will increase and your muscles grow. In time, you’ll be beyond reading a weightlifting for beginner’s blog and be cranking the iron with experience.
Whether at home or at the gym, weightlifting is a great way to get fit, build muscle and have fun. Everybody has to start somewhere, and starting small is no problem. Building up the weights gradually is what it’s all about; that and the pride you’ll feel with every step down this road you take.
Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking specialised fitness advice, please speak to a relevant professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.