Medical Guide 2022: Weightlifting Tips for Beginners

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Strength training is an essential part of an effective exercise regimen. Guidelines from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommend that adults include moderate-to-vigorous intensity strength-training activities in their workout routines at least twice a week.

People with little weightlifting experience may not recognize the value of strength training, which is often associated with building as much muscle as possible. While weight training helps build muscle, it’s also a great way to burn fat. Muscle increases resting metabolic rate, which means people who strength train will burn more fat while at rest than they would if they didn’t include such exercise in their training routines. Stronger muscles also provide more support for bones and connective tissues, reducing the risk of injury. This is an especially important benefit for aging men and women.

As valuable as strength training is, it is imperative that individuals approach weightlifting and other strength-building exercises with some caution. Poor form or going too hard too soon can increase the risk of injury. Beginners can consider these tips as they acclimate to strength training.

Work with a personal trainer. Good form is imperative to avoiding injury when strength training, and personal trainers can guide individuals through an assortment of exercises to ensure they are performing them correctly. If a long-term commitment to a personal trainer is beyond your financial means, find a trainer with limited commitment packages or one that allows clients to pay session by session. Many fitness facilities include a free consultation or two with a personal trainer for new members, so take advantage of these opportunities when available. If you plan to train at home, ask a friend with weightlifting experience to show you the correct form or watch tutorials online.

Start with a light weight. Beginners should avoid reaching for the heaviest dumbbells in the rack. Mastering form is key when starting a new strength training program, so go for lighter weights and gradually add weight as your body acclimates. If you find yourself completing a set without much effort, you can add a little more weight. But start with a light weight and build from there.

Warm up with some light cardio before lifting weights. Fitness experts at Gold’s Gym note that a light warm-up before a resistance workout increases range of motion, decreases risk of injury, and contributes to more permanent muscle change. Keep warm-up sessions between five and 10 minutes, opting for anything from a low-intensity jog on a treadmill to a session on an elliptical trainer. After the warm-up, perform stretches that target the muscles you will focus on during your workout. An online trainer or tutorial can be good sources of stretches to perform before working a particular muscle group.

Recognize the need for recovery. Rest and recovery are vital for any athlete, and that includes those new to bodybuilding who aren’t lifting a lot of weight yet. Rest helps build lean muscle tissue and prevents injury. When planning a strength training program, make sure muscles get enough rest by never working the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

Bodybuilding beginners should take things slowly and gradually change their routines as their body acclimates to the exercises designed to make them stronger.

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