BASIC WEIGHT TRAINING for Beginners - 5 Handy Tips!
Are you tired of going to the gym and getting on the same bike or treadmill every day? Or is running just not really your thing? Or maybe you feel fit, but you just want to look toned or get stronger? Well, perhaps it’s time you gave weights a try! Weight training has many benefits besides just trying to burn calories.
These include increased bone density, increased strength of muscles and other connective tissue, decreased likelihood of injury, and improved ability to perform more strenuous tasks found in day to day life, just to name a few.
Many people are already familiar with the benefits weight training can have on our health, but not all know how to train with weights safely. So, if you're new to or looking to try out weight training, here are five handy hints and tips you can implement to improve your exercise regime!
1. GOOD POSTURE This is considered the crux of all forms of weight training and plays a crucial part in ensuring this form of training remains beneficial to your health. It doesn’t matter if you are using a few small weights to help you get toned, or are a competitive weightlifter. This point is essential for all! Good posture engages your core muscles and is the foundation for your power, and it goes akin with injury prevention in terms of lifting safely. In simple terms, stand up straight and shoulders back!
2. RELAX, TAKE A DEEP BREATH Perhaps the easiest trick to implement into your weights regime is breathing. Breathing helps relax and centre your focus on good posture and form while lifting weights. It plays a key role in your body’s ability to control blood pressure, which is elevated during weights training. To ensure you have the correct breathing pattern, inhale before the lift, then exhale on exertion. So basically, breath out on the hard part!
3. FULL RANGE OF MOTION First, I will start off by saying yes there are styles of advanced training where implementing partial movements is beneficial for an individual’s training. However, for most of us, this is not the case. To ensure we remain anatomically efficient movers in our day-to-day lives, a consistent full range of motion will achieve the best results. So ensure you go all the way down and up as long as it’s comfortable.
4. PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD A simple yet difficult concept, this basically means gradually make it harder each time. There are many ways of doing this, but the simplest way is to lift a little heavier each time you do weights. Now for those of you who don’t yet know what reps and sets are; “reps” are the number of times you perform the action, and sets are how many times you repeat the number of reps. For example, three sets of 12 reps of push ups, means do 12 push ups three times. Still with me? Keeping all this in mind you want to aim to complete each set, but also feel tired by the end of each one. You do not want to hit 12 reps feel like you could have done 20! Be sure to push yourself to achieve the best results as always, just be aware of your limits.
5. STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH! This is particularly important when taking up a weights program. When lifting weights, the muscle is encouraged to become shorter and tighter as we train it. Some simple stretching at the end of your workout can counteract this. The muscles and joints in your body will maintain their full range of motion and can prevent injury to the muscles and joints down the track. In other words, stretch, stretch, stretch!
These five simple hints and tips you can implement to your new weights regime if you are looking to try something different and expand your horizons. My last advice I will part with you, however, is always to seek help where needed. Learning something new is never easy, so always seek help from a personal trainer if you aren’t sure or would like a program that is tailored to you. If you have any reason for concern about starting a new program, always feel free to see your local GP before diving in. And finally keep an open mind, get out of your comfort zone and enjoy it!