Beginner’s Guide to Weightlifting: Resistance Training 101

Starting out with any type of exercise can be intimidating; there is often a lot of technique to learn and if you are not in good shape it can seem incredibly difficult. While this can certainly apply to everything from running to yoga, it may not be more true than with weight lifting. Weight lifting, also known as resistance training or strength training, is a great workout and a favorite form of exercise for many men. Having said that, if you are just starting to weightlifting, you might be filled with trepidation and wondering how to get started weightlifting.

You’re not alone; many people feel too intimidated or baffled by the whole world of strength training to even begin. However, with just a little guidance and a few tips and safety guidelines, you can easily start lifting weights and building strength. Even if it has been months (or years) that you haven’t worked out with any regularity, it is entirely possible to start a safe and effective weight training program that will make you stronger, fitter and more confident. your body. Ready to start building muscle? Read on for our complete beginner’s guide to weightlifting and strength training and challenge yourself to try a few exercises today.

What is weightlifting?


When you are new to weightlifting, even the terminology can be confusing as there are several interchangeable terms for essentially the same thing. Weight lifting can also be referred to as strength training, weight training, or weight training. Whichever term you use, all of these terms refer to performing specific exercises with some form of resistance to increase muscle strength. Resistance can be dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells or other types of weights, resistance machines, elastic bands, or even just your own body weight. It doesn’t really matter what kind of resistance you use in strength training as long as the muscles you are targeting are working against some load. If you don’t have access to a gym, you can even use items around your house like water cans or bags of rice.

Benefits of Weightlifting

man using cable machine line.

Each form of exercise improves your fitness and some health markers one way or another, but the specific benefits depend on the mode of exercise and how hard you perform it. Strength training or lifting weights is one of the most effective forms of exercise because it offers a wide range of important benefits, including the following:

  • Build lean body mass
  • Reduce body fat
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Increased bone density
  • Prevent musculoskeletal injuries
  • Strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments
  • Improve neuromuscular control
  • Improve athletic performance, speed, power, efficiency and economy
  • Increase in core strength
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Reduce the waistline
  • Optimizing hormonal balance and regulation
  • Build confidence
  • Improve mood
  • Decreased anxiety and stress

Weightlifting equipment

barbell weights.

There are many tools that can be used for strength training, each with the general benefit of stimulating your muscles to increase strength, but each also offers unique benefits. A well-balanced weightlifting program will use different types of resistance equipment to reap the many benefits in each. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the most common strength training equipment:

It is important to note that your own body weight can also be used as resistance in a resistance training exercise. Particularly when you are just starting to strength training, bodyweight exercises can be a great way to focus on form and technique while working your muscles. Even advanced athletes can still participate in difficult training using only body weight.

How often should I strength train?

man doing lat pull down.

In general, it is recommended that you strength-training at least 2-3 times per week, depending on your fitness goals, weightlifting sessions, and general exercise program. A marathon runner, for example, will benefit from full-body resistance training sessions 2-3 times per week to supplement mileage, but may not have time to lift additional loads. On the other hand, if you don’t focus on just one sport but rather the whole aptitude and improvements in body composition, weight lifting 4 to 5 days a week is ideal. If you want to become a serious bodybuilding athlete, you can lift weights up to six days a week. With that said, it’s important to also incorporate low impact cardio or some other form of exercise and a day of rest to keep your body healthy and prevent injury.

Strength training for beginners

man doing curls.

There are tons of strength training exercises out there, which is definitely one of the reasons beginners often feel overwhelmed. However, mastering a few of the basic resistance exercises in your first few weeks will give you a solid foundation for learning various advanced changes and movements. Here are some of our favorite strength training moves for beginners:

  • squats down
  • Deadlifts
  • Steps up
  • Front and back lunge
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • pull-ups
  • The farmer wears
  • Lines
  • Shoes
  • Chest press / Bench press
  • Breast fly
  • Reverse fly
  • Boards
  • Dips
  • Buckles
  • Hamstring curls
  • Calf lift
  • Aerial presses
  • Dog bird

Strength training tips for beginners

lifting weights with an observer.

Learning to lift weights correctly is key to ensuring that your workouts build strength, prevent injury, and improve your fitness. Here are some helpful weightlifting tips for beginners:

Use a lookout

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when lifting weights. Recruit a friend or work with a trainer if you are going to be trying to lift heavy weights with dumbbells, dumbbells, or other free weights.

Focus on your form

Using the right form is not only essential in preventing injury when weight training, but it also ensures that the exercise is genuinely effective. It is always very important to prioritize form and technique over repetitions and load. If you find that you cannot maintain the correct form for all the reps in a set, reduce the weight you are using and if your form starts to deteriorate during the set, stop. It’s not worth risking injuring yourself to gain a few more reps.

Do not cheat

man doing chest press.

For any exercise to be effective, you need to use your muscles. Therefore, with any weight lifting exercise, focus on slow, deliberate movement throughout the movements without relying on momentum or swinging the weights. Likewise, don’t let gravity do all the work on the way down; control the weight with an eccentric contraction.

Progress to make progress

You need to use enough weight or resistance to provide enough load to stimulate your muscles to get stronger. Select a weight that you can lift in good form for the full range of motion of the exercise for 8 to 12 repetitions. If you can hit 15, it’s time to move on to a higher weight. If you’re really focused on building muscle mass, you’ll want to drop those reps even lower, like 6-8 max, and increase the weight.

Do you see

man lifting weights by mirror.

Most gyms have multiple mirrors. It’s not just to give you an ego boost when you casually flex as you pass; Instead, performing your strength training exercises in front of a mirror can help you monitor your form and correct any problems.

Don’t be afraid of weight machines

man flying chest.

While free weights like barbells and kettlebells provide a more functional form of training and recruit additional muscles like those that make up the core, there are some advantages to using weight machines, especially for beginners. The weight system will help you control weight and will only allow you to move in the intended motion plan. That way, using a weight machine can help you master basic technique and movement pattern while reducing the risk of injury.

To mix together

You’ll get the most out of your weightlifting workouts if you vary the exercises you do, the resistance form you use, and the volume (reps, sets, and load). The variety will also prevent boredom and burnout and keep you motivated and fun.

Be patient

Remember, the strongest guys in your gym were newbies too once; give yourself the grace and time to develop your technique and build your strength. You will get there.

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Evelyn C. Tobin