Tips For Beginning Or Getting Back Into Weightlifting
Just getting into weight lifting? Maybe it’s been a while since you have worked out? Either way, the key here is to take it easy. You don’t want to go into the gym, lift your max, and head home. I guarantee that if you do at this stage of your workout, you’ll have a hard time getting out of bed the next day.
I recommend a gym membership. I understand it’s another expense in life, and I don’t want to come off as sounding snotty, but even at my poorest times in life, I’ve always kept a gym membership. In San Diego, we have a large number of 24 Hour Fitness centers, as well as LA Fitness. Most areas have these types of gyms. They have everything you need for beginning weightlifting and beyond and they are reasonably priced (I pay $25 a month). Since I’m spending money on a monthly basis, it gives me incentive to actually use the gym. Plus, the price of weightlifting equipment is ridiculously expensive.
Getting back to what I was saying about not lifting your max right away—the key at this phase is low weight, higher reps. You should be able to complete each exercise. Weightlifting 3 days a week, 45 minutes to one hour is plenty.
Exercise reps and breathing patterns
Start with Nautilus weightlifting machines for the first 4 weeks. Do each exercise with 40% of your max weight (you’ll know what your max is after your second work out; just make sure you are lifting really light your first couple weeks at the gym!). Do 2 sets -two sets –
- 1st set 20 reps
- 2nd set 15 reps
Breathing is crucial in weightlifting. Count each rep in your mind like this:
- Lower 3 seconds, pause 1 second, lift 1 second (This is called 3-1-1. For future reference, all numbers are always in seconds)
- 4-1-1 is lower 4 seconds, pause one second, lift one second
- 2-1-2 is lower 2 seconds, pause 1 second, raise 2 seconds).
After two weeks of weightlifting, go a little heavier; decrease your reps to 15-12, then the final week do 12-8. After 4 weeks, you should be able to do 70% of your max weight 10 times. If not, stick with the machines an extra week or two before moving to barbells or dumbbells. Finally, never sacrifice technique to lift more weight! Good form is the most important thing in lifting. Not just for safety, but also for muscle building. Follow the techniques spelled out in each exercise—never compromise.
What other techniques would you suggest for people just starting or getting back into weightlifting?
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