We’re here to pump… you up.
Weight lifting can be intimidating – deciphering exactly how each of those torture device-looking machines in the gym is supposed to work, putting together a workout plan, making sure you don’t look like a complete fool… It’s enough to make you want to quit before you even begin.
But don’t worry! We’re here to help, with a beginner’s guide to strength training.
Weight lifting makes you stronger, yes. But it also makes you leaner. Your muscles require energy, in the form of calories, to function – even at rest. As your muscles get stronger, they’ll require more energy and your body will burn more calories. In other words, weight lifting helps super-charge your metabolism. So, if you’re trying to get in shape and stick to that New Year’s resolution, pick up some weights!
Strength training can also help reduce anxiety, build bone strength and improve heart health.
Not necessarily! If you haven’t worked out since a state-mandated P.E. class, the best place to start is bodyweight training – push-ups, squats, lunges, planks. Zero equipment required, so you can exercise in your living room if you like. Once you’re ready to add weights, all you really need is a set of dumbbells. So whether you use the ones at a gym or invest in your own set doesn’t really matter.
Simply put, it’s up to you! A good rule of thumb is to start with a weight you can lift 10-12 times for 2-3 sets. And remember, proper form is much more important than lifting more weight, so go at your own speed and listen to your body!
This may seem like the most difficult part. It’s important to vary your workout plans to maintain the right amount of difficulty and target different areas of the body. But, luckily for you, we live in the age of the Internet so there are tons of pre-made workout plans and videos out there just waiting for you. This one is a great place to start:
Not unless you want to! Different body types lend themselves differently to building muscle mass, and it takes a lot of work to get ‘huge’. Bodybuilders follow a specific diet and exercise regimen geared toward adding mass, namely lifting massively heavy weights. Simply adding dumbbells to your workout plan won’t give you a bulky physique. If you decide to go the gym route, most will offer a free session with a personal trainer who can help you set goals and the best ways to reach them. If not, there are tons of online fitness communities out there who can help guide and support you along the way!
Katie Steadman is a native Texan roaming Asia with a penchant for writing, and solving sudoku puzzles at breakneck speed.