Way beyond aesthetics, sculpting muscles with weights helps you perform daily tasks - such as squatting down to lift shopping bags (or even a small child) - with ease and without pain. Get started with our women's beginner strength training guide.
Weightlifting has numerous benefits including:
Burning calories and fat
Toning your body
Increasing bone density
Reducing the risk of diabetes
Keep reading to find out some top tips on how to get into weightlifting for the first time.
Ask For Help The First Time
Get some help the first time
Not only is going into the weightlifting section for the first time quite intimidating, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
I would recommend hiring a personal trainer or asking one of the gym instructors for help the first time.
This way, they can show you some great exercises to get you started and demonstrate how to use the machines correctly.
They will be able to watch your technique and correct you if it’s wrong.
This is really important, as you can seriously injure yourself by weightlifting if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Always warm up first
Five minutes of cardio will warm up your muscles and leave you less chance of injuring them during strength training. Try this:
- Jumping jacks (1 minute)
- Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
- Large overhead arm circles (15 seconds, repeat in the opposite direction for another 15 seconds)
- Crossover touch and reach (15 seconds on each side)
- Alternating side lunges (15 seconds on each side)
- Hip circles (30 seconds)
- Squat kickback (30 seconds)
- Shuttle runs (1 minute)
Don’t Be Afraid To Lift Heavy
If you lift heavy weights, you’re not going to develop muscles like a man, period.
You won’t get bulky, you will just develop gorgeous, lean muscle definition.
Lifting light weights that don’t challenge you won’t make any difference to your body, and it’s just a waste of time.
Carys (above) is one of my favorite fitness gurus, and she is famous for lifting REALLY heavy weights.
I think she looks so beautiful and doesn’t have an overly muscly body at all.
Obviously, start with the weight which is comfortable for you, but remember to increase the weight once it becomes easy.
Then, try the following dumbbell exercise for your first workout. Perform one set of 12 reps for each, pausing briefly between them to recover:
1. Standing shoulder press
2. Bent-over row
3. Dumbbell squat
4. Lateral raise
5. Farmer’s walk
6. Dumbbell deadlifts
7. Squat to overhead press
Like everything in fitness (and in life), you can reach your goals faster with a little bit of teamwork. Partner up with one of our personal trainers and they’ll take the intimidation out of strength training, creating personalized workouts to meet your needs and keeping you motivated all the way
Help Your Body With Protein
Building muscle and weightlifting is hard work for your body.
For your body to build muscle it takes a lot of protein, so many women help their body by taking a protein supplement or drink.
This is a very good idea especially if you are a vegan or vegetarian, or when you think you may not be eating much protein every day.
You can get whey-based protein powder or vegan protein powders made from nuts, soya, or even peas.
Simply mix this powder with water and drink after your workout.
Protein also has the added benefit of helping your muscles to repair faster.
This reduces the amount of muscle soreness that you can get the day after your workout.
Have Rest Days
It is really important to have at least two rest days each week.
Although this seems counterproductive to building muscle and losing weight, your muscles repair and hence get bigger once they have the chance to be rested.
If you keep working and working your body every day, you can actually lose muscle mass, and increase the risk of injury.
Look For Workout Videos Online
It is all too easy to lose ideas about how to work your body using weights, or you may just get bored with your usual routine.
I like to look at videos on Instagram and YouTube like the one above to find some new ideas for the gym.
Fitness gurus will show you how to use machines that you would never think to normally use.
Get to grips with these two basic moves
Two compound movements you’ve no doubt heard of but aren’t entirely sure how to perform: squats and deadlifts. The beauty of these moves is that you can stimulate multiple muscles in one go, using your own bodyweight as strength. Practicing these compound moves first will allow you to nail your form to prevent injuries when you start bringing in weights and other strength training tools.
Ignore The Scale
Muscle weighs more than fat, and that’s a fact.
It is likely that once you reach a certain level of fitness and weight lift a lot, you will actually start putting ON weight, rather than losing it.
This just means you are gaining muscle mass. Ignore the scales and go by how you feel and what you look like instead.