16 August

Weightlifting: Tips for Beginners

Image of a woman lifting weights with the help of a personal trainer

As you start out as a personal trainer, remember that many of your clients may also be just starting out too. As your clients explore training options for them, it’s likely that you’ll recommend that weightlifting become a part of their routine. Weight training (or resistance or strength training) involves moving your body against some kind of resistance, like weights, and is a great way to build muscle mass, make your muscles stronger, strengthen bones and joints, help you burn more calories, and keep you healthier. However, it’s important to help your clients ease into weightlifting and strength training to avoid injury. Personal trainers can help their clients with the proper form of specific exercises and set up a strength training program tailored to their needs. Here are eight weightlifting tips you can share to help beginners get into weightlifting.

Gather the Right Equipment

You may be hesitant to start weightlifting because you don’t have the right equipment or access to a gym. While some strength training exercises only need your body weight for resistance, at-home workout options can be expended greatly with a good set of dumbbells. Adjustable weight dumbbells are great options because they can easily be increased as you get stronger. Kettlebells are another option, as are resistance bands, which are typically cheaper and are light and portable.

Ask your personal trainer to show you the different options and explain what each is used for and how they can be beneficial for different workouts. Equipment can be an investment, and you can always join a gym that already has this equipment but remember that you’re investing in your long-term health and wellbeing, and it will be worth the investment in the end.

Don’t Skip the Warmup

Warming up with some light aerobic activity, such as a walk or jog, jumping rope, or doing jumping jacks can increase blood flow to the muscles and get you ready for a workout. Stretching before and after a workout is also important for increasing strength and improving recovery between sets.

Start With Lighter Weights and Gradually Increase

You won’t be a lifting pro overnight, so it’s important to start light and work your way up. Be sure you know the proper form before you even pick up a weight to avoid injury – your personal trainer can help you master those basic patterns and suggest corrections so you can progress safely.

Start with a weight that can be lifted 10-15 times with proper form and begin with one to two sets of repetitions and slowly progress to three sets. When you can do the recommended number of reps and sets, increase the weight by 5-10%.

Remember that you can decrease the weight if you must, and it’s important not to lift too heavy too fast, or else you risk injuring your muscles.

Work all the Muscle Groups

When just starting out, you can stick to the same basic moves two to three times a week to build a basic level of fitness and strength. Increase the weight as you get stronger but focus on mastering the moves.

Your trainer can help you create a plan to work on all of the muscle groups, alternating focus on legs, back, chest, and arms. Mixing up focus through the week can keep your muscles from overworking, but also helps improve strength across the board.

Don’t Go Overboard

First, be sure to rest between sets to prevent muscle fatigue, especially as a beginner. This can be 15-60 seconds depending on the exercise. Also limit workouts to 30-45 minutes (at most) each session. Longer sessions may not lead to better results and can actually increase the risk of burnout and muscle fatigue.

You also don’t have to weightlift seven days a week and doing so can be more harmful than good. Our NPTI Florida (Orlando/Tampa) certified personal trainers suggest training at least two days per week to maximize muscle growth, but three to five days is ideal.

Proper Recovery is Key

Stretch immediately after your workout to boost flexibility, ease tension, and reduce risk of injury. Then, rest between workouts to give your muscles time to recover and restore your strength. Take rest days when your body tells you to.

You’ll also want to consume enough protein and stick to a healthy diet to maximize recovery and results. Nutrition is key to seeing results in and outside of the gym.

Keep Track of Your Progress

It can be difficult to see your progress, especially in the first few weeks or months. You may not see the scale decreasing and it can be frustrating, but the number on the scale isn’t always the best way to track progress.

For example, bring a notebook and pen or use an app to record the number of sets, reps, and weight you used. Refer back to see what you did and increase it over time. You can really see your progress over a few weeks.

You can also take progress photos and measurements, but don’t forget to focus on non-scale victories like your clothes fitting better or lifting heavier. 

Other Weightlifting Tips for Lifting Safely

When you first start weight training, it’s important to pay attention to your body and keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Wear the right clothing, like closed-toe shoes and weightlifting gloves (if needed).
  • Pay attention to proper form and perform each exercise slowly to maximize effort.
  • Use a spotter if you’re doing heavier lifts.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Never hold your breath – inhale before you lift and exhale during the lift.
  • Stop your workout if you feel a sharp or stabbing pain.
  • Talk to your doctor or trainer before starting a weightlifting program, especially if you have a health condition.

These are just a few weightlifting tips you can give your clients who are just starting out with weightlifting. Visit NPTI Florida (Orlando/Tampa) today and see why we are the largest ACCSC Accredited Personal Training School in the country offering Next Generation Personal Training Education. Visit our website www.nptiflorida.edu to learn more about the requirements to become a personal trainer, or call or text 407-772-0057 to schedule a FREE class.

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