Strength training (also known as resistance training or weight training) is a type of exercise that induces muscular contraction to build strength, muscle size, and anaerobic endurance. There’s a misconception that strength training is only applicable to fitness buffs and bodybuilders. But that is not the case. Any able-bodied individual, male or female, can do strength training, assuming he/she has no injuries or medical conditions. In this article, we will discuss strength training for beginners.
Strength Training for Beginners
Here are some tips on how to start strength training:
1. Learn the vocabulary
Before starting a strength training routine, it’s essential that you learn the vocabulary associated with this type of workout. A repetition (rep) is one complete movement of a specific exercise (e.g., one bicep curl or one squat). A set refers to a specific number of consecutive repetitions (e.g., 2 sets of 15 reps). Meanwhile, a circuit pertains to a sequence of exercises in a workout program. There are more to learn, but these are the basic vocabulary for strength training.
2. Choose the right weight
Lifting a weight that is too light might mean you won’t make much physical progress. Conversely, lifting a weight that is too heavy can make it difficult to complete the required reps and may lead to injury. The key here is to take it easy at first, then, when your body gets used to it, work your way up and lift heavier weights.
If you are just starting out and can only purchase a single set of dumbbells, it’s recommended to choose a weight that you can bicep curl for 12 to 15 reps and squat for 8 to 12 reps. If you’ve got multiple dumbbells, pick a different weight for various exercises to maximize effectiveness.
3. Practice good form
Remember that it is more important to have good form than to just lift heavier or quicker. If you feel that your form is starting to suffer, what you can do is to slow down, drop weight, and reduce reps.
One way to achieve good form is to keep your core tight. Hold your abs tight. Don’t let your shoulders slouch or your back arch. When you maintain proper alignment and core strength, you’ll engage the correct muscles, generate more power, and prevent injury.
4. Focus on the working muscle
Muscle movements are controlled by signals between the body and the brain. Focusing on the working muscle improves your ability to execute a move with maximum strength and proper form. Stay present in each movement, and imagine using more muscle fibers with each rep.
5. Ease into exercise
It’s normal to feel sore after a workout. But if the soreness lasts for several days, ease up a little. Start with three workouts a week (every other day). You can add days as your strength increases. To facilitate recovery, stretch sore muscles, drink plenty of water, get a good night’s sleep, and use a foam roller. Like a massage, foam rolling applies gentle pressure to sore muscles to relieve muscle tension. Hold pressure on sore spots for 30 to 90 seconds.
Benefits of Strength Training
- Increases physical strength
- Improves joint function
- Reduces potential for injury
- Increases bone density
- Improves cardiac function
- Increases metabolism
- Increases sports performance
- Boosts confidence
- Increases physical attractiveness
- Improves fitness and well-being
You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership to begin strength training at home. Strength training for beginners only requires a large enough workout area and a set of dumbbells. Of course, a good fitness program like FITin56 can help you learn the proper form and technique to achieve optimum results. If you want to buy dumbbells, please click here.
If you have any injuries or medical conditions, be sure to check with your physician before you start lifting weights.