Embarking on a weight training for beginners programme can be a scary prospect if you have never done any form of this type of training before. The thought of entering the free weights area of a gym, with its stacks of dumbbells and barbells, is just something that would never cross the minds of a lot of people – no matter how attuned they are to the importance of exercise in all its forms.
Beating the negative stereotypes
There are many valid reasons for this negativity around weight training. There is the stereotype of the regular gym-goer, biceps bulging, skin glistening as he or she lifts twice their own body-weight over their heads. You look at your own skinny arms and shudder at the thought of standing in the vicinity of this muscle-bound god or goddess.
Or there is the fear that you will do the wrong thing. There are so many horror stories of people injuring themselves through a poor weight training practice. Weights that are too heavy, exercises that put undue stress on joints, exercise that exacerbate injuries – it is true that weight training for beginners can go wrong.
However, a good, structured and bespoke weight training for beginners programme is a great thing. The importance of getting regular strengthening work into your routine cannot be over-emphasised. It is important to get professional advice – and the personal trainers at Kelsey Kerridge are an excellent source of advice. Here, however, are some pointers to get you started.
Weight training: what are the options?
The three main options when it comes to weight training for beginners are: bodyweight training; dumbbell training and barbell training. Within these general headings there are countless variations but this is the starting point.
The beauty of this training is that you need no equipment and it can be done anywhere. The downside is that you have to keep modifying the exercises to ensure you are making progress.
This is a great way to start using weights. Most gyms will have a set of dumbbells and you can keep a pair of dumbbells at home. There is something less intimidating about dumbbells but they are a good way of adding weight to a movement. The downside to working out with a set of dumbbells at home is that you may grow out of them very rapidly. As you begin to get stronger, that 5lb weight is not going to put your muscle under any stress so you will not be getting an effective workout.
If your goal is to increase your strength, then barbells are the way to go. They allow you to progress clearly and quickly as you add small weight increments on a regular basis.
Barbells are also more stable than dumbbells – you use two hands instead of one. This means you can lift heavier weights and this is particularly good for lower body exercises such as squats and the deadlift.
The downside is the space a barbell takes up if you are planning to do your weights at home. In the well-equipped gym, it is a great piece of kit because you will have a range of weights to choose from and a rack to help you lift and lower the weights.
Which training is right for you?
When considering a weight training for beginners programme, think about what training you will actually do. If you are unlikely to go to the gym three times a week for a strength session, then consider a weights stack or a range of dumbbells at home. If you want to get stronger, then a bodyweight programme probably won’t be sufficient. To really change shape and develop muscles, you will need access to a range of equipment.
The one thing you don’t want to do is wander into the weights room at a busy gym with no plan. So here is a basic programme that will provide a basis for your strength and conditioning training.
Beginners Bodyweight Workout – this aims at general fitness and fat loss.
20 walking lunges
20 tri-cep dips
15 second plank
30 jumping jacks
Do the exercises continuously. Rest for two minutes at the end of the sequence and then repeat three-five more times.
Dumbbell workout for beginners (Ask a gym instructor for instructions on how to do each of these exercises safely)
10 lateral raises
10 bicep curls
10 overhead press
10 chest flye
10 bent over row
10 Arnold press
10 split squat
Take a 30 second rest between each exercise.
Repeat the entire routine three times.
Barbell work out for beginners (Ask a gym instructor for instructions on how to do each of these exercises safely)
8 bench press
8 bent over row
8 back squat
8 overhead press
8 power clean
Rest between each exercise for 60 seconds and repeat the entire exercise sequence three -five times.
All the above can be combine with some cardio work – cycling, jogging or rowing. At Kelsey Kerridge, we provide for a range of weight training requirements. In the Outlooks Gym, there is a comprehensive range of free weight equipment and a dedicated area. For bigger weights and more focussed weight training, we offer the Free Weights gym, which is a fully-equipped weight training gym, catering from beginners to Olympic standard athletes.