A Beginner's Guide to Weight Training

A Beginner's Guide to Weight Training

Post Date: Mar 27, 2024
Preventative Care

Weight training comes with a wide array of science-backed benefits, from managing chronic illness to helping strengthen your bones, making everyday tasks easier, and working your brain, not to mention strengthening your muscles. If you haven’t used weights in your workouts before, it can be difficult to know just where to start. Here are a few tips for anyone considering weightlifting for the first time.

Consider finding a trainer to get you started

This might not be an option for everyone’s budget. But if you can afford a session or two with a personal trainer, it can help you get going on the right track and prevent injury down the line. Good form is key to keeping your body safe, and it’s not always easy to figure out yourself without a pro to help you. A trainer can also help you develop a personalized workout plan that you can follow even after your sessions end. That can make it easier to keep consistent as you continue your weight training.

Find an app or free program

If you’re not sure where to start and an in-person trainer isn’t in your budget, look for an app or free program that can set you on the right track. Some apps even offer live virtual coaching, so you can have the benefits of a personal trainer in your pocket, possibly at a lower cost.

Don’t skip the warmup and cooldown

Warming up your muscles before you start and properly cooling down afterwards are also a big step you can take to help you avoid injury and keep your weight-lifting workouts going strong. Don’t skip warmup and cooldown. Be sure to incorporate movements in your warmup that gently use the same muscles you’ll be using in your workout, and bring stretches to your cooldown to ease the muscle group you worked that day.

Be sure to lift light enough to keep good form

Don’t let ego or preconceived notions about how heavy the weights you’re lifting should be affect your workout. The most important thing when it comes to lifting weights is keeping good form. If you don’t have a trainer to guide you, watch some videos before you attempt a move, and use the mirrors at the gym to check in on your form from a few different angles as you’re getting started. You can also ask a friend to check your form or film yourself a few times until you get the hang of it.

Avoid overtraining with rest days and limited session length

Overtraining occurs when you don’t leave enough time to recover between training sessions, and it can lead to worse performance, increased tiredness or fatigue, and even injury. When you’re building a habit or you’re excited to start out with a new exercise routine, it can be easy to push yourself beyond the point that’s healthy. By working in a rest day every few days, limiting your sessions to 40 minutes or less, and listening to your body, you can reduce the risk of overtraining.

Start light and easy to get in the habit

On the flip side of overtraining is a lack of motivation or not keeping up with the exercise habit you want to build. Some ways of avoiding this with weight training are to keep your sessions at an easy level. Working out for as little as 15 minutes can still have big benefits for your health. And if you’re nervous to get started, keep the weight light at first. It’s better to lift lighter weights with good form than to risk injury with poor form and heavier weights.

When you’re starting a new workout routine, it’s a good idea to check in with your primary care provider, especially if you have chronic conditions or injuries. CHP staff can help answer your questions and make sure that you’ll thrive in whatever workout routine you choose. Make an appointment for affordable care at the Bozeman, Belgrade, or Livingston clinics.