Tips for Starting Weight Training

The New Year is approaching quickly and if you are like many other people, losing weight and getting healthy is your resolution this year. I commend you for making your health a priority and joining the gym was probably a scary thing for you. That was a tough first step, but there is more work to be done. Below is a routine idea for newbies who do not plan on getting a trainer and have no idea where to start. My hope is that you don’t go to the gym and do a rep here and a set there. Then run for five minutes and move on to do 1 set of abs. AHHHHHHH!!! Go with a plan please!

I love exercising! Truly, I do! There are so many benefits other than looking good in your skinny jeans. Many people want to start weight training, but just don’t know where to begin. Plus there is also this fear of the meat heads lurking by the dumbbells. Don’t let fear prevent you from achieving your goals.

For optimal health, you need to do both cardio and weight training. I will talk about cardio in another blog, but this blog is dedicated to weight training. Lifting weights will help to build muscle and strength, improve bone density, increase metabolism, and give your body definition.  That’s not to say that you won’t burn calories or pump your heart while you lift weights, but the purpose is to build muscle and strength. Please do not worry, you WILL NOT get BULKY like a guy…..you don’t have enough testosterone for that to happen.

I recommend starting out on the weight machines. Now, I have to confess that I am a free weight training kind of gal. However, these machines are a great place to start for a few reasons. One is that the instructions and the muscles being targeted are labeled right on the machine. Second, there is little risk of injury. Lastly, the machine will only let you follow a prescribed movement. Therefore, it is hard to mess up the movement.

With that said, let me offer a few tips for completing the circuit.

  1. Use a slow and controlled movement like a 2-0-2 count. That means count to two when lifting and lowering.

  2. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise and keep your spine straight from the neck to your lower back.

  3. Keep a slight bend in your joints while performing each exercise, so that you do not over extend and lock out your joint.

  4. As for frequency, you can perform this circuit 2-4 times a week. Start out with once or twice a week and then work up to 3 or 4 days a week.

  5. Start out completing 2 sets the first week or two depending on how you feel. Then you can add on another set the following week. You can do anywhere from 3-5 sets of this circuit.

  6. How many reps should you do? To work on endurance and strength, perform between 12-20 reps of each exercise.

  7. How much weight should I use? This is going to have to be based on trial and error. A good rule of thumb is that you should be struggling a little by the last 2-3 reps. If you are not, then the weight is probably too lite. As your strength improves, feel free to add on 5lbs.

    Below are some machines found in almost every gym. There are multiple machines that will work the same muscle. You can pick and choose the ones you would like to use.

Chest Press Machine

Chest Press Machine

Row Machine

Row Machine

Shoulder Press

Shoulder Press

Bicep Curl Machine

Bicep Curl Machine

Tricep Extension

Tricep Extension

Leg Press

Leg Press

Important Words to Know

  1. Repetition- the number of times you perform an exercise

  2. Set-a group of repetitions

  3. Tempo-the pace at which an exercise is performed

Ok….what are you waiting for? Get it done! Message me if you have any questions. You got this!

Laura Ciampa