Planning to get in shape with weight training? That’s an excellent idea and extremely good for both your physical and mental health. Weight lifting, otherwise known as weight training or ‘lifting weights’ has been around for a long time and has helped millions of people to build an enviable physique and get super healthy!
It was in the 1960s that weight training got started in the United States. Then, in 1975, Arnold Schwarzenegger really ramped things up when he won the Mr. Universe contest at the ridiculously young age of 20! Millions of men and women followed suit and weight lifting has remained extremely popular ever since.
What Are the Benefits of Weight Lifting?
If you think weightlifting is all about bulking up and building muscle mass so you look like the Incredible Hulk, think again. There are many amazing benefits that you’ll get from weightlifting that go far beyond looking like a muscled Adonis (which isn’t so bad either, let’s be honest).
A few of the excellent rewards you’ll get from lifting weights include a better nights’ sleep, increased bone density, a long-lasting metabolism boost and reduced inflammation throughout your body. Below are a few more of the best reasons to weight train throughout your life:
It Gives You Healthy, Strong Bones
Osteoporosis is a huge health problem not only in the United States but around the world. After 30 years old you start to lose bone density every year but, if you lift weights, you can slow that down significantly. This goes especially for women who, at the typical doctor’s office, make up 80% of osteoporosis cases.
It Decreases Your Risk of Chronic Diseases
Weightlifting is an excellent full-body activity that is perfect for keeping your body as healthy as possible. That includes reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and a long list of other ‘classic’ chronic diseases. Weight lifting is also excellent for your brain, your heart and your mental health.
It Boosts Your Metabolism To Aid in Weight Loss
When you have more muscle you burn more calories. It’s a scientific fact and, get this, it even works when you’re not doing anything! Man or woman, if you have strong muscles your metabolism is constantly working harder and burning more fat, an excellent reason to weight train.
It Lowers Inflammation Throughout Your Body
This is interesting; scientists aren’t really sure why but people who lift weights 2 or 3 times a week (or more) have less inflammation. Inflammation has been connected with a wide variety of chronic diseases. Some scientists say it’s one of the worst processes in the human body, especially chronic inflammation. Reducing it any way you can is a good idea and, with weight lifting, you get sexy looking muscles as a side benefit.
It Improves Your Posture
Scientists (and chiropractors) have been talking about how important posture is for years. A healthy spine is vital for good health but many of us put it through heck by sitting, standing and working in awkward positions all the time. Because weight training forces you to use excellent posture (so that you don’t hurt yourself) it forces you to fix your posture and stay straight!
Top Tips For Weight Lifting Beginners
Below are some of the best tips that we have for weight lifters who are just starting. We recommend that you follow all of them and tread slowly at first. The truth is, if you lift weights improperly, too often or, in some cases, without help, you can seriously hurt yourself. So get going, but don’t get too crazy at first.
Tip 1- Start Slowly
You want to start slowly for two reasons; 1, because your body isn’t used to weight training yet and you want to give it time to adapt. 2, because if you work out too hard you will be incredibly sore, won’t be able to work out again the next day and might decide to give up.
Tip 2- Ask For Help and Advice
If you’ve never lifted weights before you should find someone in your local gym and ask them for advice. (Don’t be shy, everyone was a beginner at one point.) The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself because you didn’t know what you were doing.
Tip 3- Drink a Lot of Water
Did you know that your muscles are made up of 75% water? It’s true and so you need to drink a lot of water when you lift. Some experts say you should weigh yourself before you start and, afterward, drink the difference in your weight in ounces of water. Experts also say that you should drink 64 ounces of water a day, so you can use that measurement if you like and add to it if you’re weightlifting heavily.
Tip 4- Don’t Use Too Much Weight
Yes, weight lifting is about pushing yourself in order to get physically stronger and make your muscles bigger. That being said, if you start with too much weight you could hurt yourself. Also, you won’t be able to do as many reps which will reduce your results. A good tip is to never use a weight that is so heavy that you have to use your body’s momentum to lift it.
Tip 5- Use Dumbbells
There are a lot of weight lifting exercises that force you to use what is known as a “spotter”. This is a person who’s there to help you, push you and make sure you don’t get hurt. When you use dumbbells, however, you don’t need to wait for a spotter (which can take a lot of extra time). Dumbbells work your muscles a bit harder than those other exercises too, so use them often.
Tip 6- Bring Plenty of Towels
This isn’t a weight lifting tip, per se, but it will help you adhere to gym etiquette. If you’re like most, you will sweat quite a bit when you lift weights. That means you’re going to leave sweat behind on benches and machines which, etiquette-wise, you should wipe off after every set. Plus you’ll need one for your shower after your workout, of course.
Tip 7- Watch Your Posture
For most exercises, the correct position to start is with your shoulders back, your chest out and your abs tight. Good posture leads to good form when weightlifting so make sure you use it. A good suggestion is to use a mirror when you’re first starting to make sure that your posture looks good and straight.
Tip 8- Focus On Different Areas of your Body on Different Days
When you start weightlifting you need to balance your workouts so that you balance your body. For example, work on your upper body Mondays and Wednesdays and your lower body Tuesdays and Thursdays. This will give your muscles time to heal and, like we said, keep your body balanced so that you don’t have a ripped chest and tiny little legs.
Tip 9- Eat Nutritious Food!
Weightlifting uses a lot of energy so you’ll need to replenish your body with plenty of protein, healthy fats and a little bit of carbohydrates. The healthier you eat the healthier your body will be and the bigger and stronger your muscles will get.
A Good WeightLifting Workout For Beginners
Below we‘ll give you a rough outline of 2 different weight lifting workouts that you can use, one per day. Use one on one day, rest one day, and then use the second, resting another day and then starting again. For each exercise we list you should perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each.
Weightlifting Workout 1
- Dumbbell Squats
- Dumbbell Reverse Lunge
- Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Russian Twist
- Stationary Bike Pedal at a moderately hard pace for 12–20 minutes.
Weightlifting Workout 2
- Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row
- Straight-Leg Glutes Bridge
- Lat Pulldown
- Dumbbell Biceps Curl
- Stationary Bike Pedal at a moderately hard pace for 12–20 minutes.
You’ll notice that we didn’t give you any actual instructions and how to perform those exercises. Our reasoning is that there’s no better way to learn how to do them than to actually see them being done. Even better, to have someone teach you to do them. That’s why you should find someone at your local gym to help you when you first start. (If you like, you can look them up on YouTube before you get started. There are plenty of exercise videos you can watch for free.)
Also, here’s the thing; weightlifting is something that you can do alone but it’s so much more rewarding when you do it with a partner or, if possible, several partners. It’s a great way to make new friends, get into a new circle of friends and build a “community” if you will that you can rely on, grow with and get strong with.
By the way, if you follow our blogs on biohacking, you’ll be glad to know that weight lifting is one of the original biohacks! When you lift weights you’re changing your biology, physically and mentally, in a way that can have amazingly healthy benefits. It’s the epitome of biohacking!
Go On, Get to the Gym!
Lifting weights is one of the healthiest activities that we know of and also a lot of fun. You’ll make new friends, get in great shape and feel amazing (at least after the first few days of soreness). Besides looking amazing you’ll also reap all the health benefits that weight lifting gives. So get started lifting today!
Did you enjoy this article? If you did, please let us know and, if you like, share a weightlifting story with us that we can share with our readers. Thanks!