Getting started with weight training
Weight training is a great overall workout
Weight training is lifting heavy weights in different ways, to improve strength, fitness, and muscle tone. It’s a pretty popular activity for a lot of young people now, and does have some great benefits. However, it’s important to remember that you can seriously injure yourself lifting weights, so it’s really important to do so as safely as possible.
How do you do it?
There are lots of different types of weight training. Some of them involve lifting weights, such as barbells or dumbbells, some of them involve lifting your own body weight, such as press ups and sit ups, and some of the involve using weight machines.
Examples of weight training exercises include:
- Bench press, which target chest muscles
- Shoulder press, which targets shoulder muscles
- Dumbbell curls, which target bicep
- Squats, which target upper leg muscles
Where can you do it?
The most common places for people to weight train are gyms. There are gyms all over the country, but costs can vary greatly. If you’re a college student, your campus may have a gym that you can use for free.
You can buy weights in some shops, and weight lift at home, which is a cheaper option than the gym. Check out some YouTube tutorials for information on what exercise you can do. Follow the instructions carefully however, to avoid hurting yourself.
The cheapest option is body weight exercises, such as push ups and crunches. These only require your own body, and you can do them anywhere. Check out this list of body weight exercises here.
What do you need to take part?
- Comfortable clothes and shoes
- Access to a gym, weights, or information on how to do bodyweight exercises
- Someone to show you how to do the exercises correctly, or reliable information and video tutorials on how to do so
Who would it suit?
Some people do weight training because they want their body to look a certain way, and to become more sculpted and toned. Some people do it to get stronger and improve their fitness. Some people do it because it’s fun and they enjoy a challenge.
The benefits of weight training
- It can help maintain a healthy weight
- It builds strength and tones muscles
- It can reduce stress
- It can improve bone strength
- It can lower risk of certain illnesses
- It can improve flexibility
- It can improve heart health
How can I weight train in a safe way?
Weight training can be a great way to get fit, but it involves a high risk of injury if you don’t do it safely. In order to stay as safe as possible, follow these steps:
- Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in. Don’t wear restrictive clothes like jeans.
- Ask for help if you need it. If you’re at the gym and don’t know how to do a certain exercise or how to use one of the machines, ask a staff member.
- Make sure the weight is secure before lifting it.
- Warm up and cool down before and after every session.
- Practice the exercise exactly as it’s meant to be done. Ask for feedback from trainers and experts to see if you’re doing it right.
- Lift the weight slowly and steadily, and don’t use momentum to propel it.
- If you feel dizzy or like you’re going to faint, stop immediately.
- Don’t lift anything that’s too heavy for you. Start with lighter weights and work your way up.
- Take breaks. Rest between performing exercises, and take 48 hours off between each workout.