We often hear how important cardio training is for our health, and especially our heart, and there’s no debate about that. But, according to American Heart Association (AHA), strength and resistance training should also be included in a healthy workout routine. Stronger muscles protect your body from injuries, enable you to easily perform everyday activities, boost your metabolic rate, support bone strength, and ultimately lead to a better quality of life.
AHA recommends this type of training at least twice a week. However, going into strength training from scratch can be challenging for beginners, especially because it’s important to do it safely to avoid injury. With that in mind, here are some best strength-training workout routines for beginners.
Before You Begin: Get Your Kit Together
Beginners don’t need a lot of expensive fancy equipment for strength training. You will need some basic pieces such as kettlebells, dumbells, barbells, and cables. If you are working out at a gym, then you’ll find them all there. If you are more into working out at home, you can stock up easily at any sports shop.
Later on, you may need to get a pair of weightlifting trainers. If you start doing heavy deadlifts, you could need a lifting belt for back support. Also, weight lifting gloves are useful for cushioning your palms and improving your grip.
There are some pros of strength training using just your body weight, especially if you are just beginning your strength-building process. The exercises that are useful here are push-ups, pull-ups, and other explosive power workouts.
Be Realistic: Start Light
You wouldn’t start jogging long-distance the first day you start doing cardio, so don’t do it with strength exercises either.
As we mentioned, bodyweight training is a good choice for beginners. The good thing about this approach is that there are several variations you can try as you get stronger and your abilities improve. You can change the angles of workouts to make them more difficult. For example, do push-ups against the wall or single-leg squats. Moving up your tempo with power moves, such as lunge jumps or squat jumps, are also ideal workouts for developing strength.
For a full-body workout, you can do compound movements. These are exercises that simultaneously include a lot of muscles and force your body to work in unison. One example is the barbell squat. You can do 1-5 reps for dense muscles and strength, or 6-12 for equal amounts of strength, muscular power, and size. If you do more than 12 reps, you will primarily build muscle size and endurance.
Choose the Best Weight for You
Many people select their training program based on how much they can lift. This is not good, even for beginners. Training protocols should be prescribed based on your average strength but also based on your familiarity with the lifts and how quickly you can recover and make progress. The key to choosing the weight is to find a weight that is neither too light nor too heavy.
How will you know? Well, if it is light enough that you can do an entire set with minimal effort, then it is not the right weight for you. On the other hand, weights that are so heavy that you can’t do more than three reps are too much. Find the weight that is challenging enough but also light enough that you have control.
Key Strength Training Exercises for Beginners
When you start working with weights, you will be able to move on to strength training workouts for beginners that work the entire body. These exercises can be done with some modifications or different levels of intensity.
- Squats work the legs, core, and upper body. They are most efficient when adding a dumbbell at each side for more resistance.
- Different push-up variations help strengthen the core and arms.
- Planks accelerate strength throughout the body and engage multiple muscles.
- Deadlifts are great for strengthening your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, which will eventually help you minimize back pain.
- Rows help with strengthening the back muscles, which is especially important for those of us with desk jobs.
Other useful strength exercises for different body parts are the bench press, chest press, overhead press, hammer curls, lateral raise, bicep curls, dips, triceps extensions, kickbacks, back extensions, crunches, pelvic tilts, lunges, and calf raises. You can have a trainer at the gym show you how to do each one properly, or if you’re working out at home, you’ll find some great trainers on YouTube demonstrating these fundamental exercises.
If you are new to weight training, it’s not unlikely that you will be able to see real improvements in a short period, especially if you are working out regularly. The biggest development is seen in the first few weeks, while your body is adapting to new stimuli.
However, you need to be consistent with your training to get tangible and lasting results. You can use supplements to increase muscle mass, improve recovery, stimulate gains, and enhance workloads. For example, Turkesterone is one of the hottest supplements in the fitness industry right now. It’s designed to supercharge your lifts and improve your strength, but without the side effects that anabolic steroids often have.
If you are not working with a professional trainer, you need to be really careful with your workouts, as it’s really easy to get injured when you’re not doing everything properly.
First and foremost, pay attention to your posture. When working out, stand tall, hold your abs tight, and lift your chest. Whatever you are doing, move slowly to ensure you are relying on muscles to do the lifting. Lastly, remember to breathe properly throughout the process.
Give Yourself Time to Recover
Sometimes we get so amped up about working out (especially during the first few days) that we forget our muscles are sensitive and our body is (somewhat) fragile. You need to give your body at least one day to rest and recover. This is not a sign of weakness but rather a time to build lean muscle tissue and avoid injury. It’s also important not to do the same muscle groups two days in a row. It would be a good idea to focus on the upper body one day and the lower body the next day, for example.
Switch It up
Just like you want to focus on different body parts at different times, you should also change things up when it comes to the weights you’re lifting and the routines you’re doing. The idea is to make things more challenging. If you are lifting the same weights and doing the same exercises every week, your body will not make any progress. So, modify the repetitions or the weights and frequently change the exercises or even the order in which you are doing them. One change at a time can make a huge difference.
When it comes to strength training, as with anything else, getting started can be the hardest part. Arm yourself with knowledge and motivation, gear up, and get ready to hit the gym mat. The effort will definitely pay off, and once you start experiencing all the benefits strength training has to offer, it will become an enjoyable part of your lifestyle.