Episode 22 – How to get into weights training for beginners

Resistance training is great for everyone. It’s been proven to give many benefits including improved:

  • Strength
  • Bone mineral density
  • Body functions such as, cardiovascular and nervous system function
  • Mood and wellbeing

Let’s discuss my top four tips on how to get into weight training for beginners.

 

1. What is the purpose of your program?

First, off, which fitness track do you belong in? Each fitness track will have a different set of exercises and programming – sets, reps, rest, progression, considerations, etc – depending on what you want to achieve. To determine your fitness track, answer the following question: “what is the purpose of the program?”

 

This will put you into one of the following fitness tracks:

  • Bodybuilding track
  • Athletic performance or general functional training track
  • Weight loss, toning, general shape track
  • Rehabilitation or prehabilitation track
  • Specialisation track such as diabetes, post surgery, children, women specific (women’s physiology is different from a man’s and needs to be trained differently) pregnancy, or many others.

 

2.  Start slow, progress gradually in your fitness track

No matter what fitness track you’re in, start slowly, progress gradually and work your way up through the levels. A good analogy is martial arts grading – you need to start at white belt and then eventually move up to brown and black belts.

 

Some good starting points may be:

  • Bodyweight resistance only
  • 1-2 sets
  • 1-10 reps
  • 1-2 fitness / gym sessions per week

If in doubt, chat to your fitness coach about how to get started.

 

There’s two other things to consider when starting weights, read on!

 

 

3. Technique is king

Technique is king.

The first thing to do with any exercise is to understand the movement. Make sure you study the correct exercise technique and understand what you need to do, what muscles are involved and why you need to perform it that way. No need to rush! If you do rush, you might seem like you’re getting fast gains but at the risk of under developing specific muscles (and surrounding fascia) and super developing (or straining) other muscles. This can put you at risk of injury. And no one likes injury.

 

What do you need to do?

Learn the ropes, get the right information from a good personal trainer or exercise physiologist and then practice, practice, practice.

 

How long does it take to build good technique?

On the elite athlete level it can be about seven years minimum so use that as a guide. You’re playing the long term game with health and fitness so keep working on it, and get regular feedback. Seven years is the the amount of time it takes for muscle, fascia and bone optimal adaptation to occur.

 

4. Get yourself a spotter

Spotter’s will be there for you while you train, ie. a gym buddy. There’s two basic types:

  • Friends
  • Professional help like a Strength and Conditioning coach, Fitness coach or Personal trainer

 

Why do you need a spotter?

There’s three basic reasons for a spotter:

  • Oversee your technique – what you’re doing and how you’re doing it
  • Physical assistance – to catch your weights if it’s too heavy and to make sure you’re safe
  • Motivator – to pump you up when you’re struggling on your last reps or taking too long on your rest break.

 

Spotter Techniques 101

 The fundamental goals of spotting someone are:

  • To assist the exerciser without injuring themselves
  • Ensure the safety of the person performing the movement
  • Not to interfere with the lift unless there is a safety risk.

 

Do you even lift?

To summarize the tips again, here are the top four tips to keep in mind:

1. Understand the purpose of your program

2. Start slow, progress gradually in your fitness track

3. Technique is king

4. Get yourself a spotter

 

Feel free to watch the video!

Bibliography

  • Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
  • Erhman, J. Gordon, P. Visich, P. Keteyian, S. (2003) Clinical Exercise Physiology. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
  • Myers, T. (2009) Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists (2nd Ed.). Churchill Livingstone
  • Scientific Publishing, Ltd. (no author) (2006) Scientific Publishing’s Anatomy Chart Book. Scientific Publishing Limited
  • Sherwood, L.(2004) Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems (5th Ed.) Thomson, Brooks/Cole

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.

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