If you’re just getting started with strength training, it can be hard to know how hard to push yourself and which exercises to do.
Below you’ll learn about strength training tips you can use as a beginner to gain muscle, lose fat, and look great.
Tip #1: Start With Your Body Weight
Before you start lifting free weights, get your muscles used to resistance training by using only your body weight to build strength.
Squats, pushups, and planks are terrific exercises that use just your body weight. To keep yourself motivated, try using dumbbells, medicine balls, resistance bands, or kettle bells.
Tip #2: Start With Twice a Week Workouts
Beginners should start by doing a strength training workout twice a week, building up eventually to three to five days per week. Start with 20-minute sessions, gradually increasing the time until you reach 45 to 60 minutes.
In addition, if you already have a cardio routine, don’t abandon it. 75 minutes of light cardio or up to 150 minutes of light to moderate cardio will help you stay lean and keep your heart strong.
Tip #3: Do a Proper Warm-up
Getting your muscles warm before you seriously exert them is essential to a good and safe strength training workout. First, if you have a foam roller, roll your muscles to loosen any tightness. Next, do a dynamic warm-up of jumping jacks, jump-roping, or running in place to get your muscles even warmer and used to a variety of different motions. Warm up in this way for at least 5 minutes before your strength training session.
Tip #4: Do a Full-Body Workout
Although serious weight lifters work out their arms and legs on different days, it’s fine for beginners to do a full-body workout in one day. In fact, it will help you burn more calories and work your muscles harder.
To start, alternate an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise. Good combinations include squats and push-ups, walking lunges and lat pulls, and mountain climbers and bench rows.
Tip #5: Do 3 Sets of 15 Reps
Keeping your workout as simple as possible is a good way to adjust to strength training. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions for each exercise. In time, once you need more of a challenge, you can change up your reps and number of sets. Make sure to rest between sets. If you can’t do 15 reps at a particular weight, decrease the weight.
Tip #6: Do the Same Exercises
If you do the same exercises both days each week, you’ll build more strength in specific muscles than you would if you do different exercises each time. If you find yourself needing a challenge, add more weight.
Tip #7: Stretch and Refuel
After each workout, take the time to stretch while your muscles are still warm. This will improve your flexibility and will feel great on your tired muscles. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
After you’ve stretched, make sure to drink a lot of water and eat a balanced snack with carbohydrates and 10 to 20 grams of protein. This will help you repair your muscles. If weight loss is your goal, stick to a snack of no more than 200 calories.
Tip #8: Remember to Rest
If you’re sore the day after your workout, remember it’s normal. But it’s still important to take rest days.
Without them, you’ll break down your muscles and they won’t have enough time to regenerate themselves, which will prevent you from gaining strength. Your body will tell you when you need a day off, so make sure to listen to it!
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