Strength training is an integral part of a well-rounded fitness routine. However, it can be a little daunting. Unlike the cardio section where there is the assistance of a machine to get you through a workout, strength training takes a little more knowledge to create a safe and effective routine. That’s why we have thought up tips for strength training for beginners below.
You may have seen the large photo on our gym wall that says, “You gotta start somewhere.” and that is true for everything in life—whether you are learning a new language or a new exercise. Give yourself an attainable training goal like two days a week for 30 minutes each and then build up from there, adding more time or weight to your routine as you go.
Strength training is fun to learn because of all of the different ways that you can mix up your routine. From using free weights to training with your body weight, strength and weight training is as unique as you are! For beginners, we recommend starting with machines. The machines are helpful because they are built to help you improve your form, and even have illustrations that show you which muscles you are working out. Before you head to the gym, decide which area of the body you want to work on and then look for the section of the gym floor that has that body area’s machines. Then, try to do three to five different workouts for ten reps and three sets.
With all of the jargon surrounding fitness, you may not be so sure what in the world ten reps and three sets means. A rep is one full action of any given exercise. A set is when you complete a group (or set) of those actions. Some people do small sets with just 3 to 5 reps, and some people do large sets with 30 – 50 reps. The size of the set is up to you and how much you are weight lifting. Generally, gym-goers tend to do 3 to 5 full sets before moving on to another workout. A great place to start is having your set consist of ten reps, taking a short rest after each set.
Your starting strength may look a little something like this: 10 reps = 1 set, so 30 reps = 3 sets.
There are a few things you should remember when strength training. Always adjust your machine to your height. You can find nozzles usually under the seat and any other vital part of the machine to fit you. Second, start small. Try out a few pounds and see how it feels. You want to feel the resistance and for the workout to feel difficult but also able to complete it. Third, keep proper form. If you feel like something isn’t right, ask someone for help, or adjust your machine so that it fits you a little better.
If you are interested in other ways to strength train, we recommend checking out our Team Training sessions or a group exercise class like BODYPUMP where you will learn how to use free weights with the help of a coach or instructor. Having someone there to guide you and make sure your form is correct is the best way to learn strength training, and our group training programs make it super fun. If you want to try out machines on your own but are not sure how to piece them together, head to our circuit area where a circuit is laid out for you and all you have to do is follow the rules! Read the signs before starting to make sure that you know how to work through the workouts and then go for it.
After every strength training workout, be sure to wipe down your equipment, stretch, and hydrate. Stretching will help you to ease up on the achiness that comes along with lifting heavy. In fact, you should do some dynamic stretching before and after your workout, and hydrate all of the way through.
Once you get into a strength training routine, it may start to feel like you need to be lifting weights every single day. However, that is counter-intuitive. You will actually build muscle when you are at rest. It is a crucial part of the strength training journey to allow 48-72 hours of rest per week so that your body can properly repair the tissues and the muscle strength you have been working so hard on.
We hope to see you strength training at the gym soon. We have equipment for you to use at all of our locations. Stop in, say hi, and get to working those muscles!