Beginners Guide to Weight Training
Is I mentioned in the previous section, the most important thing you have to understand about weight training is that success doesn’t happen overnight. I learned this lesson at a very young age. Success at weight training is all about progression.
I remember when I got my very first weight set and did my first workout. I set up my flimsy little bench press and had all my weights all ready to go (50 pound plastic set). I did my very first workout and as soon as the workout was complete, I rushed to the bathroom mirror and flexed my little biceps and chest as hard as I could. To my surprise, my muscles were no bigger than when I started the workout. I was shocked!
I was honestly expecting to look a little like Arnold but I got nothing, no matter how hard I flexed. There I was, a skinny 14 year old boy trying to will his muscles to get big. My mother caught me flexing and said, “Blake, your not going to get muscles with one workout, you have to work and give your body time to grow!”. Imagine that, no muscles....I was more than a little confused (And depressed) because I thought I was building muscle while I was working out.
The most important lesson I ever received about weight training came from someone who knew next to nothing about the subject but had enough common sense to know how the body worked (My beloved Mother).
Over time, I realized that success at weight training comes with making small improvements from one workout to the next. Once you start seeing improvements, your body will respond by getting faster, more mobile, stronger, and improve overall muscle tone. The thing is, once you start seeing improvements and noticing your body changing, you will start to put more effort into your workouts. Before you know it, you’ll have reached your physical goals and ready to move onto more advanced levels of weight training. That is the magic of weight training.
This is exactly what we are going to do with this program. We are going to set the stage for making these improvements by priming your body for growth.
As I mentioned in the previous section, we are going to be using those exercises that are the most efficient and effective for setting a solid weight training foundation. These exercises use multiple muscle groups and are often called “multi joint” or compound exercises. These exercises will stimulate much more muscle fibres than single, isolated muscle groups. Compound exercises are much more effective at improving overall balance, stability, range of motion, and strength. Once you implement and start improving in each of these exercises, you will notice a difference immediately.
I’ve also decided to use dumbbells for this program because it will allow you the choice to either weight train at home or at a commercial gym. Not too worry, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on expensive fitness equipment. You can set up a workout room for under $200. However, the choice will be up to you whether or not you want to workout at home or at a gym.
The type of equipment that will be required are as follows:
• Dumbbells. These can either be fixed or adjustable dumbbells. Dumbbells can vary in weight and usually start at 2 pounds and go upwards of 200 pounds. Since you are a beginner, I suggest starting very light and gradually working your way upwards in weight. You can generally find a pair of inexpensive dumbbells at Walmart or K-mart. You can actually purchase a 32 pound dumbbell set for under $40. Commercial gyms will generally have an entire set. Check out the images below. Images courtesy of www.canadiantire.ca.
• Bench. This can be a very simple bench that allows you to perform those exercises that require a bench. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a fancy bench but it does have to support your weight (plus the dumbbells). Again, you can probably find an inexpensive bench at your local Walmart or K-mart. You can generally pick up an inexpensive exercise bench for under $50. Commercial gyms will have a variety of benches to choose from. Check out the images below of sample benches. Images courtesy of www.overstock.com
• Workout clothing. You will need simple exercise clothing that allows mobility and range of motion. Don’t wear anything tight because it will restrict your range of motion and effect exercise technique. A simple jogging pant/loose shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt will suffice. Also, choose a comfortable jogging shoe that offers plenty of support. Again, you can get half decent workout apparel at your local Walmart or K-mart. For detailed information regarding proper workout apparel, please click here.
• Cardiovascular equipment. We are going to be performing cardiovascular exercises in order to warm the body up and in some cases, finish our workouts with them. If you have access to certain types of cardio equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical trainer, stair stepper, or other machines, great. If not, don’t worry about it. You can generally do jumping jacks, jump rope, or walking / running on the spot to receive the benefit of cardiovascular exercise. Weather permitting, you may even take a simple walk prior to working out. The point is to warm your body up for the upcoming workout.
• Space. Ideally, you want ample space that allows you to move about freely. Find enough space in your home or apartment that allows you enough space for an exercise bench, dumbbells and a place for simple cardiovascular exercise IE: Jumping jacks and stretching.
The important thing to remember is not to let cost stop you from enjoying the benefits of weight training. If you find the equipment too expensive, you can generally find what you need at second hand stores, or on Kijijii.com (A great place to find great fitness equipment). Simply go to the Kijijii website and type in your location in the search bar. Once the location is set, type in the type of equipment you need, such as “dumbbells”. The website will do the rest.
What I’m going to do now is outline what the weight training portion of the program will entail. It’s pretty simple and straightforward and as I mentioned before, all you have to do is follow the program and you’ll do just fine.
Here’s a quick look at what’s included in Building Muscle 101's complete beginners guide to weight training:
• 3 day a week weight training course. That is, you will be weight training 3 days out of the week.
• Each exercise session is divided into upper and lower body exercises with day 1 being reserved for upper body, day 2 for lower body, day 3 for upper body, and so on and so forth.
• Each weight training session will be approximately 20 to 30 minutes in length.
• Each exercise will include a full description and illustration. Most exercises also comes with an instructional video.
• All prescribed sets and repetitions are laid out in an easy to read format.
• All aspects of each exercise including weight, rest and duration are fully explained.
Now that we have an idea of what it is we are doing, let’s jump right in and get started.
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