Weightlifting may sound scary if you are just starting out. Many of you maybe do not even know why strength training is important. Some may start but quit as they find it difficult. Both the amount of effort that you have to put in even because they lack a proper technique. Also, one of the excuses you usually tell yourself is that you don’t have time. I am here to help. You will learn why strength training is important and how to start weightlifting.
Why Is Strength Training Good For You?
As you get older natural aging will cause a loss of lean muscle mass.
Because of that natural process, if you don’t take action to replenish the lost muscles, your body fat percentage will rise over time. At any age, strength exercise may help you maintain and improve your muscular mass.
Strength training has major different benefits for your health.
- Build sturdy bones. Strength exercise can build bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis by straining your bones.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Strength training may aid in weight management or loss, and it helps speed your metabolism so that you can burn more calories.
- Improve the quality of your life. Strength training may increase your capacity to do daily tasks and your quality of life. Additionally, strength training helps shield your joints from damage. Gaining muscle can help improve balance and perhaps lower your chance of falling. You’ll be more independent when old age comes.
- Take control over your chronic conditions. Numerous chronic illnesses, including arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression, and diabetes, might have their signs and symptoms improved/reduced by strength training.
- Sharpen up your mind. According to studies, older individuals’ cognitive and learning abilities may be enhanced by frequent strength training and aerobic activity.
How To Start Weight Lifting?
Start With Bodyweight Strength Training
Let’s make sure you are able to do the exercise as well as possible without any weight at all before attempting to determine your weight-lifting capacity.
This is really important because if you are unable to perform an exercise without any weight on with a .proper technique then you can’t expect to perform it with extra weight on. Imagine that you cannot squat, or maybe you can but your knees cave in or you feel any kind of discomfort. Why would you do it with any weight on? This will only lead to you getting injured. This implies to any exercise regardless of your training experience. Especially if you are a beginner or are coming back from injury.
You may wonder how is it possible to perform certain exercises without any weight, such as a deadlift or dumbbell press. Maybe you can do a push-up and a normal squat but there is a difference in technique when doing it with a barbell or dumbbell.
Try performing those exercises with a broom instead of a barbell or short PVC pipes instead of a dumbbell. Practice these moves as long as you like before you feel comfortable enough to try adding weights. You can even do most of the movements from the comfort of your home. If you are not sure about your technique you can always try videotaping yourself. It is always a good thing to have something to look back at and compare to where you are now. Both for keeping yourself in check and having something to use as motivation, as you see how far you have come.
Weightlifting With Only A Barbell
As you feel more comfortable with yourself and your technique start working out with a barbell.
There are different barbells to choose from. Different lengths and different weights. You have a standard barbell which weights 45lbs, or 20 kilograms, and often shorter 35lbs barbell, or 15kg.
Always do your first barbell workout without any extra added weights. So barbell only workout. It may feel weird or even too light but stick to it. People usually increase weight too fast which can lead to the development of muscle imbalances. This is due to that we humans often have muscle imbalances, to begin with. Notice how your dominant side is stronger? Adding too much weight too fast can lead to your dominant side taking over and getting stronger faster.
If you feel that certain exercises with only a barbell or too heavy, do not get discouraged. Often upper body movements can be tasking when performed with a barbell. Try going for lighter dumbbells and/or continue performing bodyweight training.
So even if you are that you lack strength or some muscles are weaker than others just continue training and stick to a good technique. In the beginning stages your muscle units, neurons in muscle fiber, don’t fire up as quickly. Even motor units that can activate are often smaller in size therefore you lift less weight. As you continue strength training motor units start firing faster which leads to your nervous system being able to activate larger motor units. This leads to you being able to lift heavier weights. That is why you should always be progressing steadily, or as they say, stick to progressive overload.
With progressive overload you will get stronger as you keep your technique flawless. By following these principles you will decrease your chances of injury. Let us not forget the getting stronger part. As you do get stronger your self-esteem will increase. With increased self-esteem you will want to try new exercises and have more fun while training.
Add Extra Weight To Your Training
Before you start have in mind how many sets and repetitions you will perform. For someone starting out, there are a few common set and rep (repetition) ranges. They are 5 sets x 5 reps, 3 sets x 8 reps, and 3 sets x 10-12 reps. The difference as you see is mostly in reps which indicates at what intensity you should perform your exercise.
Now, first and foremost, the most important aspect of training is warming up. You should always start your warming-up set with an empty bar. Going through the motion with an empty bar will prepare your nervous system for the exact movement. It might feel weird as you get stronger but believe me, stick to it. Even the elite weightlifters always warm up for at least one set with an empty bar. This will greatly reduce your risk of injury.
Depending on your strength you should now start adding some weight plates to your barbell. If you are just starting out, add plates weighing 2,5-5kg on each side. When performing upper body exercises start with lower weight plats and maybe a little heavier with the lower body. This is due to that your lower body muscles are often bigger and can exert more force. Meaning they are stronger.
Start performing exercise aiming for the set amount of reps while keeping your technique flawless. As mentioned many times before. The technique is always a #1 priority. We don’t want you to get injured. Therefore throw away your ego. So stick to performing exercises with fast muscle contraction meaning on the way up and controlled, slower eccentric part, the way down. Even if the performed amount of sets and reps felt light and easy that is totally fine.
Strength Training Is A Discipline
Always increase weight slowly, maybe 2,5kg, between each training session. You will get to the stage where you will not be able to increase weights after every single workout. Do not get discouraged. That is totally normal after a certain time in the gym. Then you have to implement other variations of sets x reps in combination with intensity. Remember progressive overload is the key and can always be done even without adding extra weights each workout.
Some days your private life, poor nutrition and recovery time or a combination of all will come in the way. We are all human beings so that is totally normal and expected. Remember only to stick to your goals and stay disciplined.
Want A Great Strength Training Program?
As you get more comfortable and your self-esteem increases in the gym you would want to push yourself a bit harder. As you should. But sometimes it can be hard to have an actual plan or program a training regime all by yourself. That is why you should turn to Body Spartan: Body spartan has a variety of fitness programs that will guide you to becoming a better version of yourself.
“Our mission is to uplift and encourage anybody who desires to strengthen their body and mind. Our interest is assisting everyone in discovering their boundless capacity to use the power of their minds to fully realize their health potential. Each of us was created for greatness, and we work hard to push the limit, shatter the rules of average, and accept nothing less”. – Body Spartan