A woman doing a morning a run is a common occurrence. However, women lifting weights at home or the gym is a trend that is quickly growing among women who are passionate about fitness and wellness.
And if you have been privy to this knowledge then you’re probably wondering how you should get started. We’ve created this beginner’s guide on how to start lifting weights to get you started on your fitness journey!
Here is everything you need to know as a newbie in lifting weights.
1. It Begins with Lifting Your Bodyweight
If you thought the right way to start lifting weights is to get right into the weights, you need to hold that thought first. The first challenge you will meet when performing strength-gaining exercises and workout routines is your own bodyweight, therefore, you need to begin with lifting your body weight. Before you can get on dumbbells, resistance bands or begin lifting weights you must be able to correctly perform exercises with your bodyweight providing the resistance.
2. Proper Form Takes First Priority
Ideally, when you are stuck and unaware of how to do something, you will seek knowledge and information to learn how to do go about the conundrum. When it comes to lifting weights, it should not be any different.
The first and most crucial step in learning how to start weight lifting is to acquire training on the proper exercise form and techniques. You can do this by learning from a certified strength coach or from reputable online tutorial videos. Knowing the recommended way to perform certain exercises and workout moves will ensure you are working the expected muscles, as well as prevent you from straining your muscles and suffering injuries.
There is no point in skipping learning the proper form and techniques required from weight lifting only for you to injure your body.
3. Warm Up and Cool Down
The same way you don’t break into a fast jog as soon as you tie your shoelaces for a run is the same way you shouldn’t immediately begin lifting your weights during your strength training sessions. Prepare your muscles and joints for the exertion they are about to experience by performing dynamic warm-up exercises for at least 10 minutes.
A proper warm-up session will increase your blood circulation and improve your range of motion thus allowing you to push harder when lifting weights without risking an injury. Also, once you are done with your strength-training session it is important to cool down your muscles before moving onto your next activity. You can do this by performing a few static stretching exercises just to calm your body down.
4. Workout Order Matters A Lot
Your body is made up of different muscles. Some are large, some are small. Some are easy to work on while others, not so much. But during every work out session, especially as a beginner, it is paramount that you work out all your body muscles to prepare them for lifting weights. This is why the order in which you perform your workouts matters a lot.
The basic rule when it comes to performing full body workouts is to always workout your larger muscles first, then progress to the smaller ones. Essentially this means that you should begin with exercises that work out your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings first, followed by your chest to your back then conclude with your shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
5. How to Start Lifting Weights That Challenge Not Burden You
One of the biggest misconceptions on women weight training is that increased workout intensity and a greater volume of weights is the key to better strength training. Therefore, a lot of women push themselves to progress from lifting minimal weights to the heaviest in the shortest time possible. What they forget is that increasing volume of weights lifted too soon and too fast only accelerates your risk of muscle and tissue injuries.
The last thing you want is to get injured even before your fitness journey takes shape. Your guiding principle in weight lifting should always be to challenge your body but not to burden it.
As a beginner, you may not be aware of how much weight you should be lifting. Here are 3 steps to guide you:
- Start by perfecting doing an exercise with the proper form using your body weight only. Perfection is when you can do at least 15 reps of the exercise correctly.
- Add weights to your exercise. Start with light weights until you feel your muscles have fully adapted to the stress. This should take anywhere between two to four weeks.
- Finally, increase the volume of your weights by about 10% consecutively until you get to your desired volume weights.
6. Two Days a Week Is a Good Enough Start
As a fitness enthusiast, your goal is probably to become a strength training woman who lifts weights five days a week. While that is a great idea, what is not a great idea is to dive into lifting weights five days a week as a beginner. This will definitely shock your body and may result in injuries from working out.
So, take our expert advice and start with lifting weights twice a week only and have your workout sessions last for at least 20 minutes. Then after two or three weeks, depending on how fast your body adapts to strength training, you can add another day of lifting weights in your week and gradually increase the length of your work out sessions.
7. The Secret Lies in Finding the Perfect Cardio and Weight Lifting Balance
Cardio exercise and weight lifting go hand in hand. Giving one activity more focus than the other will have an impact on the overall progress in your fitness journey.
Excessive weight lifting with minimal cardio will put a strain on your muscles and increase your chances of suffering injuries. On the other hand, too much cardio with minimal weight lifts will reverse any muscle gains you get from your strength training workouts.
One weight training tip for women that can help you find the perfect balance is to limit your cardio workout to only high-intensity interval training cardio within your strength training routine.
8. For Your Lift Routine, Start Short and Simple, Then Spice It Up
As a novice, you want to ease your body into lifting weights and prepare it adequately to be able to handle a greater volume of weights with time. One of the best tips on how to start weight lifting is by beginning with short and simple weight lifting routines. However, you must not get too comfortable and remain at the same level because your muscle gains will plateau once your body gets used to the same level of exertion.
Every four to six weeks, you must switch up your lift routine. This switch-up can be in terms of your workout order, the volume of weights or the number of reps and sets. In your fitness journey, you must always keep your body working differently.
9. One Side of Your Body Is Stronger Than The Other
This is not a myth but a fact. Therefore, as a beginner in strength training, it is important to ensure that you work out both sides of your body equally.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by isolating each side of your body when performing certain exercises in your workout routine. This will ensure that your muscles do not rely on the stronger side of the body to do all the work and result in you having equal strength on both sides of your body. Having this knowledge in mind is key in strength training for women.
10. Rest Days Are Just As Important
Do you know exactly how strength training causes your body to build strong lean muscles? Well, it is actually very simple.
When you lift weights, you cause microscopic damage to the tissue in the muscles exerted. The body then repairs the damage to these tissues which result in stronger and lean muscles. So, what happens if you do not give your body the opportunity to repair the damaged tissues?
Your microscopic damage will progressively increase and result in an injury. This is why rest days are just as important as weight lifting days. Your muscles need adequate rest, at least one day, to recover and grow.
Good Things Come to Those Who Sweat
The weight section of the gym can be intimidating to a lot of women. With the big equipment and the huge weights, most women feel out of place and that is why most shy off from strength training. But that should no longer be the case, especially if you follow this detailed guide on how to start lifting weights.
If you would like more fitness tips for women, keep reading our blog and gain more knowledge on how to improve your fitness journey.