Weight Lifting For Beginners
Going to the gym can be very intimidating, especially if you’re just starting out, and even more so for women. It took me YEAR to feel comfortable working out in the gym. When you’re just getting started, there is this intense fear that everyone is looking at you and scrutinizing what you are doing- but I can promise you that this is NOT the case.
After you get over the fear, knowing where to start is STILL a big hurdle that many people face. There is so much information out there, and a lot of it is complicated and not so beginner friendly. It’s important to not make the task more difficult than it has to be. You do not have to start in the gym if you don’t want to, you don’t have to do some fancy workout, or do something so difficult that you want to give up within 5 minutes.
When you’re a beginner just keep it simple, keep it short, and get it done. Within a few weeks you’ll gain more confidence and be ready to take on more of a challenge both mentally and physically. Below I’ll show you 4 exercises to get your started on the right foot. These exercises focus on working the major muscle groups and are very approachable. But first… a little more information on what your strength training options are.
Body Weight, Free Weight Exercises and Weighted Machines
Body weight exercises and free weight exercises are a great way to burn calories and maximize your workouts. They do however require a certain level of coordination and body awareness [in order to do them correctly] that may be difficult for some beginners- especially if you have never done sports, dance, gymnastics, etc. For this reason, I recommend starting out on machine weight first to gain an understanding of how to work each of your major muscle groups.
Another potential issue with many of the popular body weight exercises is that many of them have a ballistic (bouncing) or jumping element to them that is a recipe for injury if you’re new to exercise. It is for this reason that I recommend people start with machines and basic free weight exercises when they are just beginning a workout program. As you progress through your workouts and get a solid 6 to 12 months of consistent strength training under your belt, you can slowly being to work in the more advanced body weight exercises to keep things interesting.
4 Easy Exercises That You Can Do Now With Little or NO Equipment
Body Weight Squat: This works your entire lower body! Do it right by sitting back (as if sitting in a chair) and keeping your chest high.
Modified Push Up: This is a great arm shaping exercise! Keep the hips and shoulders inline and bend the elbows slightly back towards your waist as you lower your chest to the floor (think about your upper arm almost touching the side of the body).
Rear Delt Fly: This is a great exercise to strengthen the back of your shoulders. Keep your spine straight, sit the hips back, and slightly bend the knees. Move with control.
Russian Twist: This is great for trimming your waistline! You can keep the feet on the floor if you choose. Make sure you squeeze your abs tight & move with control for each rep.
How to Make it a Workout
Step 1: Warm up for 5 minutes by taking a walk.
Step 2: Pick your Workout space (this can be your living room, bedroom or any open area where you can move around and have 20 minutes of uninterrupted time. **For many of us, the best time is in the morning BEFORE everyone else in the house is up. 🙂 Extra bonus: you have the satisfaction of knowing that you got your workout done for the rest of the day.
Step 3: Get a set of light dumbbells (3-5 pounds would be a good place to start).
Step 4: Perform each exercise 10 times (starting with the first exercise and working down the list). Once you have completed one round- do another, and another working up to 5 rounds or “sets”. Start with 1-2 rounds in your first workout and gauge your recovery. You should be a little sore over the next few days, but not so much that you can’t get out of bed. 🙂 It is important that you challenge yourself, so keep increasing the intensity as you become more comfortable with the movements.
Step 5: Repeat this workout 2-3 times per week on non consecutive days for 4-6 weeks (example: Monday, Wednesday and Friday). After that, change it up a bit by choosing different exercises, increasing your weight, or doing more repetitions per set (up to 15) or all of the above. For more information on designing your own workout routine, check out by previous post here.)
As you can see, beginning an exercise program doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Keep it simple and get it done. You’re energy and confidence will increase each day. Good luck!
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