This article contains a simple and effective training program for beginners, with detailed coverage on the topics of weight training exercises, beginner strength training programs, and tips on how to get the most out of your workout.
So, you have finally decided to step into the gym and get into shape. You now need a workout routine, to achieve your aim of fitness. To be successful in your workout program, you will have to keep a few things in mind. For instance, you will have to be cautious while performing any exercise, so as to prevent any injury to your body parts. This is because, an injury may become one of the biggest impediments in your weight training program. Also, consumption of a healthy diet and its consistency throughout the workout program is extremely important for better end results.
The basic requirements that you need to consider, are:
- Your diet and calorie intake: Watch the amount of calories you consume per day. Try to cut down on unnecessary fatty foods, especially sweet and fried items. Go for protein rich foods like lean beef, chicken, fish, or if you are a vegetarian, all soybean products are good sources of protein. Also maintain a high fiber content in your diet with fruits, lots of veggies, nuts, and whole grains. Try having six small meals a day instead of three large ones. This helps in preventing the buildup of fat. You could always consult a nutritionist for a diet, specific to your health and workout requirements.
- Get a physical checkup done: Before you begin with your weight training, get a health and fitness checkup done from a doctor, especially if you experience pain in a certain area of your body during workout, or if you are above 30 years of age. This will help you avoid any major health problems and injuries when you start your workout.
- Fitness assessment and goals: Talk to a trainer or get a self assessment done on your fitness level and also decide what exactly you want from this training program. Is it for weight loss, fitness and stamina, muscle buildup, or just all the above? This will help you pick the most appropriate of the various training routines to suit your specific needs.
Weight Training Routine
- Warm up: Warmup may seem like a pain and even unnecessary at times, but the truth is, warmup helps you perform better and also, reduces the chances of injury. For cardio workouts, the best approach is to do the same activity with lesser intensity and at a more comfortable pace. Similarly, for a weight workout, the best warmup is a dynamic warmup, which includes doing two sets of five reps for all the target muscles using only the bar. Then, you can proceed to warmups, doing low intensity reps with lesser weights and then on to the full weights that you use normally. Stretching before exercises is not really essential, if you follow the warmup procedures, including push-ups, lunges, squats, and morning walks in equal measure.
- Weight training exercises: There are many exercises you could do in your weight training program, in order to target each individual muscle group. See the table below for the exercises, according to each individual body part. You should do at least two of each exercises for every individual body part. Do one or two sets, each set consisting of 8-15 repetitions.
- Weight to use: The amount of weight to use is the heaviest you can lift so as to comfortably complete all your repetitions without too much strain towards the end. You should be able to control the weight when you bring it down and it should not fall freely due to gravity, which is actually due to your inability to lift it. One good way to make sure if you are using the right weight, is to see if you lost control of the weight before you finished your set. If you did, then you used a little too much weight. If you think you could do some more repetitions than required, then you are going too light. After you are able to easily do your sets, then gradually increase your weight by using the above rule. This is usually after about 5-7 days of the initial working out. Keep challenging yourself, but maintain proper posture and don’t overdo the exercise, or it could lead to injury.
- Number of reps and sets: Reps are the number of lifts you are doing (like ten or twelve) and one full round of these reps is called a set. The number of reps you have to do will depend on what your goals are. You should do 10-12 reps if you are exercising for weight loss. You could do 1-3 sets of these with a 30 seconds to 1 minute rest in between each set. To build muscles and for weight gain, you should do 6-8 reps in each set and up to 3 sets until you tire. A short rest is recommended between sets. Since you are a beginner, this is better done after about a month of training. Until then, you could do one to three sets of 12-15 reps to build your fitness level and endurance. Remember to always use only as much weight as you can to complete all the sets without any strain.
- Rest and cardio exercises: For muscle growth and development, adequate rest is necessary and a day of rest in between each workout is recommended. However, if you are trying to lose weight or fat, or are into stamina and endurance building, then instead of resting, you could use the day for cardiovascular exercises and workouts, like, jogging and running, skipping, swimming, walking, or aerobics. This helps to increase your flexibility and also burns fat. Hence, your workout routine should be balanced with weight training and cardio exercises equally.
Weight Training Exercises
|Body Part||Beneficial Exercises|
|Chest||Bench press, Push-ups, or Pec deck machine|
|Back||Lat pull-downs, Back extensions, or the Seated row machine|
|Shoulders||Overhead press, Lateral and Front raise|
|Biceps||Hammer, Bicep and Concentration curls|
|Lower body||Lunges, Squats, and Calf raises|
|Abdominal area||Oblique twists, Crunches, Reverse crunches, and Pelvic twists.|
Although exercising can be quite strenuous and sometimes even boring, you must be sure to follow your workout program regularly. You could use music to make your workouts more fun. It does help in pumping you up and keeps you going. Go for upbeat and energetic songs on your playlist and enjoy your workout routine.