How To Start Lifting Weights: A Guide for Beginners

Many people turn to weights to build their muscles and become stronger. The art of weight lifting requires skill, practice, and durability, among other factors, for optimal performance. Weight lifting for beginners isn’t an easy feat, but with this guide, you can learn what to expect and how to prepare for the iron-pumping journey.

Understand Your Body

Before you begin any new exercise, especially one that results in a lot of physical strain, it's important to know your body's limitations. Your body may perform at a lower level than others who take up weight lifting. Your limitations won't matter in the sense that you will get better through practice, but it's important to know what your body can handle as you start out so you don't hurt yourself.

How Much Can You Bench?

Weight lifting requires muscular strength, and bench pressing is a great way to test your skill. Your weight and height are crucial factors for this, as your weight will determine the weight you can bench press. The average amount you can bench press is about 70 to 75 percent of your body weight. Meanwhile, height is used to figure how much effort it will take to lift your calculated weight. For instance, if you have long arms, performing a full bench press will take more effort since your arms have to extend farther. Knowing these elements will help you create a starting point to begin weight lifting.

What Are Your Goals?

All beginner weight lifters should have a goal in mind when they start. Developing a plan and sticking to it will help you attain that goal since knowing what you want to achieve can provide a lot of motivation. Lifting weights is strenuous and requires you to constantly push your limits, and you will gain the strength to lift more as you continue. Lifting weights for the sake of lifting weights isn't as compelling as doing it to reach a specific goal. If you want to be able to lift a certain amount or improve your muscle mass, a goal will help you stay on track.

Know How Weight Lifting Will Affect Your Body

Like any form of exercise or physical activity, weight lifting will affect your body in various ways. When you start weight lifting as a beginner, you will experience soreness from tearing your muscles and straining your body. You may tense up as you struggle to lift the weights, which causes your body to feel exhausted soon after you finish your sets and more tired in the following days. Icing your body will be an important tool in helping you recover faster from the soreness and inflammation of your muscles. After you become accustomed to lifting heavier weights, the pain won't last as long and you won't feel as tired. Your muscles will grow larger, especially in your arms, and your body will begin to burn more fat and calories to keep up with your muscles' size and your energy expenditure. A healthy diet with plenty of protein, such as meat, nuts, and certain dairy products, will provide better energy to refuel your body after extensive weight lifting.

Practice Proper Posture

Having good posture is essential for weight lifting. As you continue lifting heavy weights, you must ensure your body is in proper alignment so as not to overstrain your tendons and muscles. When lifting weights, ensure your back is straight and your head is facing perfectly forward. Slightly puff out your chest so your arms are the only things moving—this allows you to gain the most movement. You may feel tempted to curve your back and slouch, which limits the mobility in your arms when performing curls. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart for optimal strength and balance as you lift; otherwise, you risk falling over from the force of lifting or the heft of the weight.

Start With Lighter Weights

When you begin weight lifting, you need to start with a lighter weight; it's important to take things slow as you get used to the activity. If you already know how much you can pick up using either one or both hands, use something smaller for lifting. For instance, if you can reasonably pick up your 25-pound home dumbbells, you may want to start lifting with 20-pound dumbbells. By using smaller weights to start, you can minimize muscle soreness so subsequent workouts are less difficult.

Increase Weight and Size Gradually

As your body grows used to the size of certain weights, you'll need to increase the amount you lift. You should always progress slowly when increasing the weight you use; if you increase it by too much, you'll burn out your body. Depending on your lifting ability, you may want to increase by two to five pounds at a time so you don't overdo it. If you work out multiple times throughout the week, you may be able to increase more frequently.

Maintain a Weight Lifting Schedule

It's important to stay consistent in your exercise when working toward a goal. When you lift weights, do it on a schedule that gives your body time to recover between workouts without leaving so much space that you end up losing muscle mass. Weight lifting two to three times per week is ideal for building muscle while also having quality rest time. You could weight lift three to four times per week, but you'll need to ensure your rest days are effective so you don't push yourself.

Prevent Burnout To Keep Going

Burnout is a constant threat in workouts and is especially common in weight lifting. Exercise burnout comes from excessive activity that pushes your body well past its limitations, or from a lack of proper recovery between workouts. When you experience this burnout, you won't be able to perform more than the bare minimum, and it will take longer for you to recover. Workout burnout is dangerous and should be avoided as much as possible.

Get Proper Rest

If you take away anything from this guide for beginners, remember that rest is one of the most important aspects of weight lifting. All bodies need rest to grow stronger, and weight lifting requires a lot of strength. Get plenty of sleep, resting as much as you work out. If you need to take an extra day to rest to prevent burnout, you should always take it.

Weight lifting takes time and a lot of effort. If you want to weight lift properly, follow this guide to ensure you don't overstrain your body. Ultimately, you have the opportunity to grow stronger the more you lift.

How To Start Lifting Weights: A Guide for Beginners