Exercising can be intimidating especially when it comes to weightlifting. Going to the gym and seeing these massive hulks lifting extremely heavy amounts of weight with relative ease can make you just want to about face, turn around and walk right back out of the door you came through.
When you first start, it is important to get the basics down first, worry about looking like Ronnie Coleman at a later date when you have the hang of things. These are things that are not only going to make your workout routines easier, but more safe as well which can help prevent needless pain and injury down the line.
The one advantage new weightlifters have over the experienced vets is the gains you see from the first few weeks that you workout. You will literally be able to see the results in front of your eyes, you will look visibly bigger and more vascular than you ever have before. This will give you that little extra bit of motivation that you will need to continue on with your progression.
Become Familiar With Your Body and How it Works
The first thing we want to do when we start a new training program is learning how our body works, and how each muscle group works with each other. This is important to realize especially when you first start working out.
For example some exercises are used to isolate a particular muscle group, while others are combination exercises which work multiple muscle groups within the same exercise. People new to weight training programs looking to add as much muscle as possible as quickly as possible should utilize combination exercises to best fit their needs.
Doing these combination exercises will not only help you gain muscle faster, it will help you save time in the gym as well. If you aren’t sure about how to do a particular exercise, a machine is a good place to start.
The machine will show you what general path you want to take to perform an exercise however the downside to the machine is that this path is inflexible, and may have to be adjusted slightly to best perform the exercise.
Get in the Habit of Using Free Weights Over Machines
Machines are great for basic guidelines but you definitely do not want to become reliant on machines. Free weights, or dumbbells are generally what we want to be using to perform these exercises and this is for two main reasons.
One, when using free weights you have a greater range of motion. This means that you can better workout the muscle group you are targeting getting better results and better overall performance from those muscles as well.
Second, free weights don’t allow you to favor one arm over another. Most of us are right hand dominant, meaning that our right hands and arms are going to be stronger than our left hands and arms. We want to use free weights to better balance the strength between our left and right arms ideally to the point where they are equally strong.
Using a straight bar instead of dumbbells encourages us to favor our dominant arm, pushing most of the weight with that arm. Over time this can lead to asymmetry having one arm bigger than the other which not only looks bad, but is not good for our health or posture either.
Training Your Whole Body Every Other Day
When you first begin training the way to see the most results the fastest is to do combination exercises as we already know. What most people don’t know is that they should be doing these full body exercises every other day.
When we are first starting out a weightlifting routine, the last thing we want to do is hurt ourselves by overtraining. This fear leads many people to under train, which severely hampers their ability to meet their goals.
What we are trying to do here is hit a sweet spot, giving your body enough time to repair but not waiting too long so that we miss out on the benefits of consistent exercise. This is a hard concept for most beginners to get adjusted to because of how your routine differs as your progress.
When you become an intermediate weightlifter you will want to transition to focusing on one muscle group per day, only doing one muscle group per week as opposed to a full body workout every other day.