Embarking on a weightlifting journey can be both exciting and intimidating for beginners. The benefits of strength training are numerous, including increased muscle mass, improved bone density, enhanced metabolism and overall physical resilience. However, it is essential to approach weightlifting with the right knowledge and mindset. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to start lifting weights, ensuring that beginners can begin their fitness journey safely and effectively.
We need to break the bias around weightlifting for women. Weightlifting is not solely about bulging muscles or becoming a bodybuilder. It is a holistic approach to fitness that can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels. From enhancing overall strength and functional movement to improving body composition and boosting confidence, weightlifting offers a multitude of advantages for both physical and mental well-being. With that in mind, let us explore the essential steps beginners should follow to embark on their weightlifting journey with confidence and safety.
How to start lifting weights?
Here are 6 tips that will help you to get into strength training and start lifting weights safely and effectively:
1. Wear stable shoes
When engaging in weightlifting exercises, it is crucial to wear shoes that provide stability and support. Choose shoes with a flat and non-compressible sole, as they allow for a solid foundation. Running shoes, for instance, may not be ideal due to their cushioning, which can hinder stability and compromise your lifting technique. Investing in proper weightlifting shoes can significantly improve your balance and reduce the risk of injuries.
2. Start with small weight
One of the most common mistakes beginners make is overestimating their capabilities and lifting too heavy right from the start. It is important to begin with lighter weights and focus on mastering proper form and technique. This approach not only helps prevent injuries but also allows your body to adapt gradually to the stress of lifting. As you become more comfortable and proficient, you can progressively increase the weight to continue challenging yourself.
3. Try different types of weights
Weightlifting includes various types of equipment, such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and resistance machines. Experimenting with different types of weights can provide a well-rounded workout experience and target different muscle groups. Barbells are excellent for compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, while dumbbells allow for more unilateral movements, working each side independently. Kettlebells offer a unique dynamic range of motion and engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Understanding the advantages and techniques associated with each type of weight will help you diversify your training routine effectively.
4. Learn the right technique
Learning and practicing proper weightlifting technique is paramount to avoid injuries and maximize the effectiveness of your workouts. While it is tempting to load up the weights and go all out, sacrificing form for heavier loads can lead to muscle strains or more severe issues. Focus on maintaining a neutral spine, engaging the core, and using controlled, smooth movements. Seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional, watch instructional videos, or consider hiring a personal trainer to ensure you’re performing exercises correctly and safely.
5. Make a plan and set targets
To stay motivated and track your progress, it is essential to create a weightlifting plan and set achievable targets. Determine how many days per week you will dedicate to weightlifting, select specific exercises for each session, and establish realistic goals. This could include increasing the weight you lift, improving the number of repetitions, or enhancing your overall strength and endurance. Regularly reassess and adjust your plan as you advance to keep challenging yourself and avoid plateauing.
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6. Focus on diet
In addition to the physical aspect of weightlifting, it is important to pay attention to your diet. Proper nutrition plays a vital role in supporting your body’s ability to build muscle, recover from workouts, and perform optimally. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. Ensure that your diet includes enough high-quality protein sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and plant-based proteins like tofu or tempeh. Aim for a daily intake of around 0.7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
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With patience, consistency, and proper technique, you’ll be well on your way to building strength and achieving your fitness goals through weightlifting!