Despite myths that say lifting weights will make you bulky and big, lifting even a few times a week has plenty of benefits for the body. Whether you are male or female, weights can:
- Improve your posture
- Lower bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
- Burn more calories at rest
- Boost your body’s natural antidepressants and more
Research has proven that whether you lift lighter weights for more reps or heavier ones for less, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you work your muscles to the point of fatigue, but not total exhaustion.
You can even use your own body weight instead of pumping iron and get the same result. If you’re planning to start a weight lifting routine—even if you’re a beginner—there are a few things you should know.
5 Weight Lifting Tips for Beginners
Here are 5 tips to help you get leaner and feel stronger safely.
- Practice your form. Proper form is essential to prevent injury and work muscle groups properly. Trying to lift a weight that’s too heavy for you could mean you lose form and put yourself at risk for injury so start with a light weight (something in the range of 5 to 15 pounds) and see how you do. If you can lift the weight 10 times before your muscles start to fatigue, that’s a good weight to use for your next few workouts.
- Get help from an expert. If you aren’t doing a move correctly or just don’t know where to start, ask an expert. Your gym may offer a free introductory session with a trainer or you may need to pay for an hour of their time. Either way, there’s a lot they can show you in a short time to make sure you’re doing key moves properly.
- Vary your workout. Working the same muscles, the same way with the same weights day after day will be boring for you and your body. Try changing up your routine’s tempo. Raise and lower your weights for varying lengths of time. This helps your muscles respond differently and keeps you moving forward and throw in some total-body workouts where you can.
- Give your muscles a rest. Aren’t you glad to know your muscles actually need a rest? Try to give your body 24 hours between total body training and 48 hours between lifting for a specific muscle group like your arms or legs if you’ve worked them intensely.
- Know your body’s genetic response to exercise. Believe it or not, weight lifting may or may not be right for your body. Nutrigenomic tests for fitness are genetic tests that can tell you more about how your unique DNA affects how your body responds to exercise and can give you information about what types of exercise are likely to yield better results.
Weight lifting is just one way to transform your body into a longer, leaner, healthier you. No matter why you’ve chosen to lift, make sure to do it safely so you can stay healthy and prevent injury. Remember that results don’t happen overnight and the older you are, the harder you’ll have to work to gain and maintain muscle mass so be patient, work hard and stick with it—your body is sure to change for the better.