Wake up and lift the iron to remain younger and fitter. The best beginner weight training guide tells you all.
If you are new to gyms, then the whole setup can be quite daunting for you? The sight of muscular men grunting while lifting weights intimidates you, so much so that you leave those machines with pulleys and levers alone and continue with your cardio or cardiovascular exercises. These exercises increase your heart rate and blood circulation throughout the body. It boosts metabolism and helps burn calories, but iron wields the real benefits of a workout.
Your muscles follow the logic of use it or lose it. Therefore you need to learn to engage it in varied ways and here you will find strength training also known as resistance training or weight training immensely helpful. As an integral part of any beginner’s workout regime, strength training helps anyone build muscles irrespective of their age or gender.
Lifting weights is a compulsory exercise for bodybuilding beginners and it helps them achieve their fitness goals. A young lad of 20 bulks up and someone in the forties sheds weight and shows off muscle definition with weight lifting as part of his gym exercises routine. For a fifty plus, iron is the key to building strength, stamina and muscle tone.
When you strength train, you provide your muscles with resistance in the form of external weights or your own body weight. This causes your muscles to contract against this resistance and this leads to an increase in the strength, tone, endurance and mass of the muscles involved. According to Dr. Len Kravitz, an exercise researcher at the University of New Mexico, resistance training offers the greatest stimulation to your muscle cells, which shows in faster gains.
Though your muscle cells are undergoing hypertrophy, the visible results will take some time to show. It normally takes four weeks to see your body change, eight weeks for your friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world.
The fact is that strength training is for anyone who wants to get fitter irrespective of gender and age? The wholesome benefits of strength training make it a must workout that ticks off most of your fitness goals.
Beyond improving strength and flexibility, the benefits of strength training program include positive changes leading to reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease. American Heart Association has found that moderate weight training offers benefits to people with heart disease. An intelligent strength training program includes easy to follow workout plan for gym beginners. The outcome of such a program will be an improvement in your muscle tone, posture and improvement in metabolism as well as reduced likelihood of injury.
Other advantages of weight training
- Weight lifting not only builds your body but also sustain weight loss. A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased a number of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.
- Additionally, strength training is good for your bones, decreases the risk of injury and boosts your energy levels and elevates your mood.
If you are new to bodybuilding, terms like ‘set’ and ‘reps’ stand out for you. A rep (repetition) indicates one complete motion of an exercise; a set is a group of reps. Thus, if you performed two sets of 10 reps of bicep curls, this means you did 10 bicep curls, rested and then did 10 more.
HOW TO GET STARTED
As a beginner to weight training, you need to know the difference between compound and isolation exercise. An isolation exercise isolates a particular muscle and works only on that muscle group, whereas a compound exercise works more than one major muscle. As a natural trainee, we have a limited amount of natural testosterone and growth hormone in the body that we need to make the most of to get the maximum possible protein synthesis and in turn muscle mass and strength gains. Big multi-joint compound exercises work a lot of muscles simultaneously which results in muscle growth.
1. Bodyweight Training
Like all beginners, you should start with bodyweight training. You hardly need any equipment for this training, at the max a pull-up bar or a set of gymnastics rings. Body weight exercises like squats, push-ups, handstand push-ups and planks are the must-have workouts for any guy who wishes to build strength and stamina.
Squats come naturally to human beings. It is a compound movement, which uses more than one joint (hip and knee joints) to complete. Squats strengthen your entire body, both your bones and your muscles and increase flexibility.
- Stand your feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Your toes should be pointed slightly outward.
- Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall in front of you.
Now, lower yourself with a straight back, neutral spine and chest and shoulders up.
Related: How to squat like a pro
The pushup is another exercise that all bodybuilders love to do. In this exercise, you balance your body weight on your arms and push yourself up against it. How many times you are able to push yourself up without getting tired, is a barometer of your health and fitness. Pushups recruit more than one muscle group, primarily chest, shoulders and upper arms. This bodyweight exercise also strengthens core muscles, helps build stronger bones and improves metabolism
Related: How to do pushups
They are quite handy while weight training. Any gym will keep dumbbells in different sizes, as you can also buy them and use at your leisure. Moreover, dumbbells will put to use the principle of progressive overload. Dumbbells point our muscle imbalances easily and if you feel that you have picked a dumbbell heavier than you can handle, it’s easier to drop it than a barbell.
Hand weights and dumb bells are more or less the same, but with a difference in weight. Dumbbells weigh more than 10 pounds or 4kgs, whereas hand weights are lighter and can be used for exercising muscles anytime. Keep them handy and do a few sets of bicep curls when the commercial break appears on the idiot box.
As a beginner, it isn’t necessary to overload on heavy weights right away; start with a pair that feels comfortable for your needs and tires you out in about eight to 10 reps.
A barbell is a 5 to 7 feet long steel bar, which can be thick or thin and has engravings on it to help the lifter maintain their grip. Weight plates are slid on the outer portions of the barbell and are secured with collars to prevent them from sliding off during the exercise. Barbells are easy to learn the basic lifts and are used for weight training, Olympic lifting and power lifting. Owing to its stability barbell allows you to go easier with lower body movements like the squat and deadlift.
Kettlebells looks like a cannonball with a handle. Use kettlebells to pack on more muscle and to get ripped faster. Kettlebells will help you develop more power in your hips, legs and glutes.
5. Resistance bands
Resistance bands allow you to get a full body strengthening workout without weights.
Your progress will depend on the number of reps you do.
|1-5||Super dense muscle and strength|
|6-12||Equal amount of muscular strength and endurance|
|12+range||Muscular endurance and size|
After initial days of strength training, you may notice muscle imbalance when one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscle. If this is the case then you’ve to engage a mix of muscles in your strength training schedule to enhance your muscle gains.