When someone tells me they want to start strength training, I’m their instant cheerleader. While everyone has to find the fitness routine that works for them, starting weightlifting can be a game changer.
When I started, I finally felt the magic so many had described in their fitness routine — something that was challenging but in a good way. The benefits of strength training are countless — stronger bones, greater protection against injury, reduced anxiety, and healthier aging are just a few of the perks.
Even with all those upsides, what many love most about strength training is how empowering and purposeful it can be. Leaning in? If you’re thinking about starting weightlifting, here are four things you need to know.
Strength training for beginners
Simple doesn’t mean easy
When you’re a beginner, it’s natural to come in with enthusiasm to try everything. When it comes to strength training for beginners, though, it’s important to find a simple routine and stick to it.
Start out with a few movements that work for your body — the squat, curl, and deadlift are a few suggestions.
While your first movements might not feel as exciting as those in an intense cardio class, you’ll quickly realize that with proper form, simple movements can be extremely challenging.
Speaking of proper form…
Form over everything
Find a trustworthy source in person or online that will walk you through the proper form for each strength training movement you attempt.
Toes turned out to a certain degree, your ribs or pelvis tucked, the angle of your knees in a certain position — all these things make an immense difference in how a movement feels.
The smallest adjustment can be the difference between moving through a movement halfheartedly and actually challenging your entire body appropriately. Form isn’t only important, it’s essential for your safety when lifting.
A good tip for beginners: Do new movements with bodyweight only (or with very light weight) to focus on form before adding weight to the mix.
Support your body
Have you heard that strength training differs from other forms of exercise because your metabolism stays elevated after your workout? Your EPOC is your “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” how much oxygen it takes for your body to return to its pre-exercise state.
Lifting weights leads to a higher EPOC level than most workouts. Your body is working even hours or days later, so it’s incredibly important to support it properly.
Sufficient rest days, getting enough sleep, eating well, and consuming additional protein will be the difference between feeling weak and depleted or strong and with the ability to maximize your workouts.
Quality over quantity
Strength training is so beneficial for your body, but it also can do wonders for your mind and perspective. Many forms of fitness are focused on the showiness of working out — how high you jump, how much you sweat, how fast you run, how quickly you move.
Beginners might take a minute to adjust to the pace of strength training. Lifting weights necessitates being mindful and intentional. If it sounds slow-paced, it is — but that doesn’t mean you’ll be bored!
You’re challenging your body immensely, and the satisfaction that follows is both physical and mental. It’s incredibly rewarding to learn the value of quality over quantity when it comes to how often you work out, how many reps you can do, and how you measure growth and progress.
You’ll never look at working out the same way again.