No matter you are a newbie or want to add strength training to your workouts, you should know that weight lifting can be overwhelming as well as intimidating. Of course, if you are a gym enthusiast, you would see people deadlifting double their body weight, doing up Superman push-ups, and a lot more. However, know that these people have been lifting for a long time. And when they first started, they were just like you.
One of the best ways to keep your body functional and healthy in the long run is via strength training. And since muscle mass begins to decline as we reach our 30s, starting a weight lifting program as an adult could help you with maintaining and building that strength as you get older. Weight lifting doesn’t have to be difficult for newbies.
Here are some great tips for beginner weight-lifters like you:
Begin With Bodyweight
Strength training uses resistance to create work for the muscles. This means external weight but can indicate bodyweight as well. Starting with your bodyweight is a great way to start. You get to have an effective strength training workout and become familiar with all the movement patterns of strength training.
Work On Your Form
Gyms are opening up slowly. And if your gym hasn’t opened up, you can train virtually with your personal trainer and gain from their professional expertise and skill. It is important to master the basic movement patterns, and a personal trainer can help you get a grip on those. Since it happens in real-time, they can correct your form right away.
If you cannot have a personal trainer, there are tons of online tutorials you can take help from to learn about proper posture and move. But it is recommended to have a personal trainer as you are learning and more at risk of injuries.
Get Some Equipment
Although you should start with bodyweight moves, you would have to add weights to your training. Dumbbells are the most user-friendly weight options for beginners, more than barbells and kettlebells. Ideally, you should have three sets. Light, moderate, and heavy, which is 5 pounds, 12 pounds, and 20 pounds, respectively.
You can add non-weight equipment as well, such as looped resistance bands, sliders, mini-bands, and suspension trainers.
Warm-Ups Are Must
You have to prep your muscles before starting. A proper warm-up is crucial for an effective workout. First of all, use a foam roller to get your muscles started. Foam rollers loosen up tight muscles so they can work as they should. A dynamic warm-up is essential for your pre-workout routine as it prepares the muscles for the grind and boosts your range of motion as well.
Start with regular workouts while making sure that you don’t go overboard. Start with two days for 2-3 weeks. Then add the third day. Ideally, you should be strength training for three to five days per week. But this should be done slowly. Starting with five days a week is going to put your body in shock. Doing too much too soon is one of the most common beginner mistakes.
One of the effective ways for beginners to do weight training is to make every workout a total –body day. All the body is engaged, and you will do a little bit of everything in each workout (some upper-body workout, some core moves, and some lower-body workouts. This keeps the entire workout balanced. If you are doing total-body workouts thrice a week, you can add a bonus day to work on areas you want to build more strength.
Lifting The Right Weights
Stick to about 12-15 reps per set when you first start out. Aim for one to two sets of each exercise in your first month of strength training. You can increase it to three sets per exercise after that. Different exercises require different weights. But you should always go for a weight that feels heavy enough to challenge you, but not so much that your form is at risk.
Take enough rest between sets. The ratio should be 1:2. If you took 20 seconds to perform the set, take a break of 40 seconds. This ensures that you have recovered to complete your next set. You should feel challenged at the end of your set, but the goal is not to increase your heart rate.
Listen To Your Body
Take rest days when your body tells you to. There is nothing wrong with being sore. It is natural for the body to feel achy or tired once it completes a tough training session because of DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. Tissues are damaged microscopically when you do strength training. That is going to get repaired, and that’s how you build muscles. The rest days are very important.
Listen to your body and focus on how you feel. The body tells us when it’s tired or needs rest. Focus on a different body part. For example, do upper body moves if your legs are sore.
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