Strength Training 101: How to Lift Weights Properly

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Strength Training 101: How to Lift Weights Properly

You have understood the terms and conditions: if you want to get stronger, you need to step inside a gym, and not only that, but go straight for the weights, and not cardio machines. Same goes if you want to recompose your body and build it to your liking. Excellent, and great to have you here! But there’s a catch: being a first-timer, you have no idea what to do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

What Can You Do in a Gym?

We agreed you would be skipping cardio, or at least not have it as the central part of your workout. You can (and should) still use it for warm up and cool down. Your first option is bodyweight training, but since you don’t really need a gym for that, save it for a rainy day (not literally!) when the gym is not available to you. For example, when you’re traveling. Of course, you can add some bodyweight exercises to your routine, but going to the gym for these exclusively would be like going for a salad in McDonald’s every day, and nobody does that. So you have dumbbell training and barbell training. Dumbbells will make it easy to add a small amount of weight to a movement, and any gym will most probably have them. If you’re a beginner, you will most likely start with these. Finally, when you master the move, you should go for a barbell. It will allow you to progress clearly and quickly, and it’s great seeing how stronger you are every week.

How Do You Start?

First and foremost – you want a program. If you have any goals you want to achieve, be it losing fat, getting stronger, getting more muscle – you won’t be meeting them without a specific plan. Don’t be one of those people who just come, do a little bit of everything and then get annoyed because it doesn’t get them anywhere. Beginners can get great results with a full body program done three times a week with a rest day in between each workout. There’s a number of excellent programs online, or you can ask some of the trainers in the gym for help. After a while, you should be able to make your own program! Just keep in mind, while you’re following one, that the primary goal is always to do better than you did last time. If you don’t see it happening, tweak it. You want to ensure you are continuously getting stronger and faster.

Be Safe!

woman laying on a bench lifting weightsIt’s necessary that you stay safe at all times in the gym. The best way to make sure you do is to learn the correct moves. Doing complicated exercises in a wrong way can only harm you, so make sure you know exactly what you’re doing, how and why. When starting a new move, start with just your bodyweight first. Proper form will save you from injuries down the road as well. How do you know if your form is right? Film yourself doing it, and then compare it with a video of a coach online. Or you can hire a coach to teach you moves and correct something if it’s necessary. This is especially important with movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. You want to work the required muscles for the movement, without putting a strain on others. For example, when doing a bench press, it’s important not to strain your neck and spine muscles. Adjust your position to the adjustable incline/decline bench, such as those from CyberFit, and make sure it’s only your chest and arms doing the work. When doing squats, always opt for a free barbell instead of a smith machine. The latter will do some of the work for you, which will result in you relying on it instead of taking full control of the load.

Of course, staying safe means caring about the others as well. Don’t move barbell around and try not to bump into people while they’re exercising – otherwise, them dropping weights on your foot is totally legit!

Be a Team Player

Last but not least, when going to the gym, it’s not just about the goals you are there to work on achieving. It’s also partly about not being that person. You know, the person that sweats on machines and then just leaves their puddles for the next one to enjoy. (Bring a towel!) Or a person who uses weights and then leaves them on the barbell without bothering to put them back neatly. (Put them back!) Or the person who takes the bench or barbell but then scrolls through their social media. Hey, back to work – the machines aren’t yours, and you shouldn’t rest more than one minute, two minutes max if you’re dealing with particularly heavy weights.

Being a gym goer can transform you into a gym rat. If you find out that you love seeing how you get stronger every day, welcome to the new chapter of your life! See you in the gym!