Scared of Weights?
Written by Zach Gee
Weight training is one of the most important types of exercise you can do. Its benefits include increased strength, increased power, increased muscle mass, increased metabolism, increased flexibility, improved posture, improved balance and stability, and decreased chance of injury. With all of these benefits, there is a reason why it is such a popular form of exercise. Just because it is popular doesn’t mean it is easy, though. The following five tips will help you get the most out of your weight training while doing it in a safe manner.
1. Technique is King
When doing a resistance training program, it is important to take the time to learn proper technique for each exercise in your workout program. Proper technique will allow you to train the muscles you intended to work. It will also allow you to make sure you are doing it with proper body alignment to decrease your chance of getting hurt while doing the exercise. Don’t worry if the resistance feels really light at the beginning. Untrained individuals can make strength gains on as low as 40 percent of their heaviest repetition of an exercise.
Untrained individuals can make strength gains on as low as 40% of their heaviest repetition of an exercise.
2. Make Multi-Joint Exercises Your Priority
When starting a weight training program, it is best for the majority of your exercises to use more than one joint, and in turn, more than one muscle group. These types of exercises will help increase strength, balance, flexibility, and burn more calories than single joint exercises because they require greater portions of the body to work together. Plus, they transfer better to real life activities. This priority will result in not only developing a great base of fitness to build on but also help you get results faster. An example of this tip would be to dumbbell row to develop strength in the muscles of your upper back and biceps instead of doing a bicep curl alone.
3. Balance: More Than Mirror Training
One common mistake made by many beginners is to train the “mirror muscles” or the “beach muscles.” This approach leaves many muscle groups neglected and can eventually lead to muscular imbalances, injuries, and poor performance. To prevent this from happening, you should perform one set for the opposing muscle group of the muscle group you just trained. For instance, if you perform 3 sets of a chest exercise, you should perform 3 sets of an upper back exercise. These exercises don’t need to be done on the same day. There should be an overall balance of the weekly volume to deliver to help keep your body balanced.
4. “Boring” Is Best
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make with weight training is changing their exercise program too often. A beginner’s nervous system is so underdeveloped that it needs time to adapt to a stimulus. This is also the reason, as was mentioned in tip 1, that strength gains can be made with such a light weight. Also, this is a big reason why weight trainers will often remark that their quickest progress came in the first six months of weight training. This differs from the highly developed exerciser who needs to change the workout program more often because the body quickly adapts to it. To get the most out of this tip, it is best for the beginner to follow a well balanced weekly program; and if technique is good, they should try to either lift more weight on an exercise and/or lift the same weight for more repetitions each week. This strategy should be followed until progress has been halted for at least two consecutive weeks.
5. Be Confident
Many people, especially beginners, are often intimidated by the weights section of gyms. They are afraid that they will embarrass themselves in front of everybody. This is not a good mindset to have because it will hold you back from achieving your fitness goals. Plus, everybody had to start as a beginner. They were not lifting world record numbers in their first session. If you prioritize technique, you will look great.
Weight training can be a challenging, yet fun and rewarding endeavor to take up. Following these tips will set you in the right direction of achieving your fitness goals.
Zach Gee is the owner of Blue Collar Personal Training LLC. He is also the coach for XtremePerfect Weightlifting. Before he started Personal Training, he spent time as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for Utah State University. He has a B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science and an M.Ed. in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, as well as a Sports Performance Coach through USA Weightlifting.