Beginner’s Guide to Weightlifting
What do you think of a toned, muscular, lean and strong physique? Eager to achieve the same sharp results as your Insta influencer of choice? U.S. too!
If this is you, it’s time to step away from the old cardio machines and grab a bar. Weightlifting is the answer to getting your optimal physique, so let’s take a look at the things beginners need to know, along with a beginner’s guide to weightlifting training. No, you won’t suddenly look like Arnie overnight …
Men dream of suddenly gaining mirror muscles and getting out of their shirts. Women fear the same results from a few chest presses or barbell curls. But the point is, it takes time, effort, and focus to look like a bodybuilder. Women in particular are not genetically engineered to look like this and need to overcome their genes to some extent to create those unusually ripped physique you see in figure competitions. What a weightlifting workout can give you is a lean and muscular physique, low in body fat, and in great shape – the look everyone is going crazy for right now!
Types of weightlifting
Olympic weightlifting focuses on two movements: the snatch and the clean and jerk. These are explosive movements of power that owe as much to speed, mobility and technique as to brute force. Powerlifting, on the other hand, is your “strong man” or your old strong woman. Powerlifters work on the bench press, squats, deadlifts, and other accessory or compound movements. They often play around with atlas stones, tires, weighted sleds, and other functional kit parts. CrossFitters focus on Oly lifting movements and use weightlifting techniques with dumbbells, kettlebells, and dumbbells. Strength workouts at the gym will take their own format, but can use lighter weights and higher reps. Some people will use stationary weight machines and others will use free weights, in order to train stability and micro-muscles along with the major muscle groups. At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a “right” type of weightlifting, but you will see the best results from constant training, a learning program supervised by experts, good nutrition. support, adequate rest and heavier weights over time. The key is progressive charging. You’ll read a lot of theory about reps for hypertrophy versus reps for lean muscle mass and so on, but in the end, full body dumbbell work with increasing weight loads for one to five. reps is your key to building a lean, strong body – and even a “ripped” body, if you really work at it and adjust your lifestyle to maximize your gains.
The force scene
Forget the old image of meaty men growling in a dirty gym. They’re still there, happy to work out, but today’s weightlifter is just as likely to be a millennial woman in branded sportswear doing a kettlebell and dumbbell workout at the gym.
CrossFit has also played a big role in the adoption of weightlifting, and your local box is a great destination to get started in trained weightlifting – absolutely essential for techniques that will help you progress faster and avoid injury. Many CrossFit boxes also have dedicated Oly lifting and strongman classes, so you can really focus on your technique and mobility, and repeat lifting exercises. It’s always humbling to know that competitive weightlifters who have won medals for years will say they still learn something new every time they train. The social scene can be great, although the sport is individual, and there is often a large community of supportive, helpful and experienced weightlifters who are happy to help newbies of both sexes. As you progress you will also find opportunities to compete in all age groups, giving you new goals and extra focus on your training – in addition to making you look and feel superb!
Getting the most from your training
When you start to exercise regularly, say three to five times a week, you will see gains quickly and you will probably find that you need to cut back on your cardio work to avoid “burning” your muscle gains. Remember that if you do an Oly lift or high intensity lift, you will also gain a cardio workout. To get the most out of your workout, make sure you are eating a diet that is high in protein and with minimal waste. Eliminate or cut back on alcohol and sugars, which will do nothing for your gains. Get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to maximize recovery and muscle repair (as they get bigger and stronger) and supplement sensibly with BCAAs, whey, magnesium, creatine, and other helpful extras that can make the most of your new passion.
Tempted to start weightlifting? Take a photo of yourself now and another in three to six months. You won’t believe the difference!
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