Sometimes, it can feel like the gym is split into two cliques: the “cardio bunnies” and the “bodybuilders.” But the truth is, mixing cardio and strength training is the ultimate way to reach your health and body goals. We know, the weight training section of the gym can be totally intimidating, especially if you’ve never lifted before. If you consider lugging your groceries inside to be weight training, pumping some real iron might seem scary. But in reality, it’s a fun, challenging, and rewarding way to tone your body and strengthen your muscles. Best of all, it’s actually really easy to get into weight training – and no experience is necessary!
With these tips, you’ll be able to ease into weight training, even if you’re a total newbie! Now you can hit the gym with confidence, and start building those muscles.
Form is Everything
When you’re starting out, it’s important to stay focused, as lifting improperly can end in injury. Instead of just blasting through sets of reps, focus on your posture and form. For most weight training exercises, you should begin by standing or sitting up straight with your abs squeezed tight, your shoulders back, and your chest out. Try lifting in front of a mirror so you can check out your form and make corrections. (And snap a quick gym selfie, if that’s your thing.)
Master the Basics
Start with basic moves so you can build a foundation on proper technique. Once you have your form perfected, then you can experiment with more complicated exercises! A few beginner moves you can try include bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, overhead presses, and dumbbell squat thrusters. These moves may be simple, but they can yield some pretty serious results. Find the moves that work best for you, and become a pro!
Don’t Go Too Big
So yeah, the people power-lifting with massive barbells look really cool, but you can’t get on their level without putting the work in. To build muscle strength properly, the quality of your exercises is the most important thing. A proper rep done with a lighter weight is much more beneficial than an incorrect rep with a heavier one. Instead of reaching for the biggest weight you can see, start conservatively. For newbies, dumbbells are a good way to go.
Find the Right Weight
The right weight can be hard to find. If you’re trying to build strength, it’s important to challenge yourself, but not to overdo it. Try out a few different weights – the right one should feel challenging, but doable. If you can’t manage more than a few reps in a row, it’s too heavy. If you feel like you could lift it forever, it’s too light. Find that happy medium, and make sure you’re not relying on momentum to keep going. Once you find your perfect weight, you can build on it over time.
Consistency is Key
When you’re new to the weightlifting world, it may be tempting to try a new move every day. However, when you’re easing yourself into weight training, it can actually be better to stick to the same moves for the first few weeks. This way, you’re not only perfecting your basic technique, you’re also building up a base level of strength that you can build on as you get more comfortable. If you’re training correctly, after a few weeks of weight training you’ll definitely feel ready to turn up the volume – and switch up your moves!
Slow and Steady
If you’re determined to see some real gains right away, you might think crushing those free-weights every day is the way to do it. But if you’re blasting through an intense workout on the daily, you’re not giving your body the chance to recuperate. This could result in exhaustion and soreness – which can seriously hinder your ability to lift. Make sure your workouts are challenging, but not so exhausting that you’re ready to drop by the end. For beginners, a moderate weight training session every other day will have you seeing results quickly, but without maxing your body out.
After you’re done pushing your body at the gym, give it a little extra love. It’s important to end every workout with a good stretch. It’s best to stretch the muscle you’re training after finishing your reps – that way it’s all warmed up and ready. Focus on stretching out the areas you’ve worked that day. If you’re cramping up during your workout, consider treating yourself to a little massage as well. Stretches and massages will help your muscles recover faster, as they keep your blood flowing and help break down lactic acid build-up.
When it comes to getting fitter and stronger, weight training is only where it begins. It’s important to be giving your body all the fuel and rest it needs, so it can handle the heavy lifting! For one, you should always be well hydrated while you’re weight training – so keep refilling that water bottle! Make sure you’re eating nutritious foods that are high in protein, as well as plenty of fruit and veg. Your body also needs plenty of rest while it’s building muscle, so make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye. That way, you can hit the gym with enough energy to crush every workout!