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How to Start Strength Training for Beginners

a beginner workout in a gym

Are you new to weightlifting and looking to embark on a fitness journey? We understand that stepping into the Gym for the first time can be intimidating. You may see seasoned lifters looking like vintage Lou Ferrigno, lifting impressive weights, and you have a long way to go. However, the mere fact that you're at the Gym shows your commitment to a healthier lifestyle and the pursuit of more robust bones, bigger muscles, and increased strength.

It's important to note that improper lifting techniques and overexertion can lead to injuries. To stay safe, it's crucial to prioritize proper form and the right training volume. Don't worry; we're here to guide your fitness journey.

Before diving into a training program, make sure to follow these seven essential steps:

Beginner's Guide to Strength Training: strength tips for beginners

1. Stay Hydrated. 

Remember that muscle primarily comprises water. Weigh yourself on a digital scale before and after your workout and aim to drink the difference in ounces of water to stay properly hydrated.

2. Bring Towels to the Gym. 

If your Gym doesn't provide them, bring a large towel for your post-workout shower and a smaller one to wipe down sweat-soaked equipment. Always clean the bench between sets.

 3. Be Prepared to Spot. 

As a beginner, asking someone for guidance on spotting during exercises is perfectly fine.

4. Embrace Free Weights. 

Free weights can be a fantastic choice as they don't require a spotter, are readily available, and can effectively target your muscles, sometimes even better than machines.

5. Control the Weight. 

As a beginner, avoid using weights that are too heavy, forcing you to use momentum. A good rule of thumb is to select a weight that allows you to pause for at least one second before lifting it. Focus on something other than raising the heaviest weights immediately; prioritize proper technique.

6. Start Slow. 

Gradually incorporate fitness into your daily routine. Minor changes are more sustainable in the long run, making it easier to build positive habits.

7. Use Proper Form. 

Check your posture to ensure you're performing exercises correctly. Proper posture for most activities involves keeping your shoulders back and chest out, standing (or sitting) tall, and maintaining tight abs.

Now that you've adopted proper gym etiquette, it's time to consider your training program. If you can only allocate two days a week to the Gym, that's perfectly fine. Here are some beginner-friendly workouts to get you started:

You might also like. At-Home Workout Plan without Equipment for Beginners

Best Strength-training Workouts for Beginners

Perform the two workouts (Day 1 and Day 2) once weekly, allowing at least a day of rest. Perform the exercises marked with letters as a group, doing one set of A, followed by a rest, then one set of B, and so on. Repeat until all sets are complete before moving on to the next group. Aim for three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions for each exercise. After just one month, you'll see the benefits of four weeks of consistent gym attendance.

Day 1:

Exercise 1A: Dumbbell Squat

Take a dumbbell in each hand and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower yourself into a squat position, maintaining the natural arch in your lower back. Rest for 30 seconds.

Exercise 1B: Pushup

Place your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and engage your core muscles. Lower your body until your chest is about an inch above the ground while keeping your body straight. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 2A: Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and step backward with one leg. Lower your body until your rear knee almost touches the ground and your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Rest for 30 seconds.

Exercise 2B: Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

With a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, engage your core and press the weights overhead. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 3A: Bulgarian Split Squat

Place the top of one foot on a bench or chair behind you. Lower your body using your supporting leg until your rear knee nearly touches the floor. Rest for 30 seconds.

Exercise 3B: Dip

Hold onto parallel bars on a dip station and lower your body until your upper arms resemble the floor. If you can't do dips, perform lying triceps extensions with an EZ-curl bar. Rest for 30 seconds.

Exercise 3C: Russian Twist

Sit on the floor with a dumbbell or weight plate in both hands. Lean your torso back at a 45-degree angle and extend your arms straight. Twist your torso as far as possible to one side and the other. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 4: Stationary Bike

Pedal at a moderately challenging pace for 12 to 20 minutes.

Day 2:

Exercise 1A: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Hold a dumbbell in each hand against your thighs. Bend at your hips, lowering your torso while allowing your knees to bend slightly until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to return to an upright position. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 1B: One-arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in one hand and rest your other hand and knee on a bench. Allow the weighted arm to hang straight down and row the weight towards your side while maintaining a natural arch in your lower back. Complete all reps on one arm before switching. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 2A: Straight-leg Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with your heels resting on a bench or chair. Engage your core and lift your hips off the floor until your body straightens. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 2B: Lat Pulldown

Sit at a lat pulldown machine and grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull the bar down to your collarbone. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 3A: Dumbbell Single-leg Deadlift

Hold a dumbbell in one hand and balance on the opposite leg. Bend forward at the hips while keeping your lower back arched, then extend your hips to return to an upright position. Complete all reps on one side before switching. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 3B: Dumbbell Biceps Curl

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your upper arms close to your sides, and curl the weights to shoulder level. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 3C: Plank

Assume a pushup position on your forearms and engage your core muscles. Hold this position with a straight body for 60 seconds or as long as possible. Rest for 60 seconds.

Exercise 4: Stationary Bike

Pedal at a moderately challenging pace for 12 to 20 minutes.

Ready for a more challenging program? Here's a four-week strength-training plan designed for beginners:

Best 4-Week Strength-training Program for Beginners

Perform this workout three days a week, with at least one day of rest between sessions. For weight exercises, choose a load that allows you to complete a few more reps than the prescribed number. Begin with one set of each exercise on your first training day and progress to two or more sets as specified below.

1. Front Squat

Sets: 2-3

Reps: 8

Rest 60 sec.

2A. Three-point Dumbbell Row

Sets: 2

Reps: 12 (each arm)

Rest 30 sec.

2B. Pushup

Sets: 2

Reps: 12 to 15

Rest 30 sec.

3A. Single-leg Bridge

Sets: 2

Reps: 12

Rest 30 sec.

3B. Dumbbell Pullover

Sets: 2

Reps: 12

Rest 30 sec.

4. Plank

Sets: 1–2

Reps: Hold for 60 sec.

Rest 60 sec.

Follow this program diligently; you'll notice your strength and overall fitness improvements over the next four weeks. Remember to prioritize proper form and gradual progression to avoid injuries and ensure long-term success on your fitness journey.

Final Remarks

Embarking on your fitness journey as a beginner lifter is an exciting and transformative experience. The initial intimidation often accompanies stepping into a gym can be overcome with the right mindset and a commitment to proper training principles. This article outlines essential tips and workouts tailored for novice lifters to kickstart their path toward a healthier, stronger lifestyle.

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