6 tips for starting your weight training program

Some think weightlifting is easy. Go lift weights, get big, get strong. Pretty straightforward, right? To be fair, it does kind of work like that in some cases.

However, in the last 10-15 years there has been an explosion of knowledge in the field of strength training that has, in turn, led to an explosion in opinions and new ideas.

I can’t say that they are all good ideas. Some, in my opinion, were novelties to make a quick buck, some were catered to the younger crowd, some were actually pretty good, but most were not worth the time invested.

Strength training has two primary goals:

  • - Improve performance for athletes
  • - Improve the quality of life for us ‘ everyday guys and girls’ not in a sport.

So what does one do?

Look online, read a monthly magazine, hire a personal trainer ($$$), join a gym, and good luck. It may be too general to say, but train for what you need. A stay-at-home mom, a powerlifter, and a tennis player all need strength at different levels. The best workout you could get is one that works for you.

What do you need?

Go to the end and work backward. The easy explanation first. The powerlifter needs to be able to lift as much weight as possible one time in three different lifts: bench press, squat, and deadlift. That’s the end game. They get to that point by moving quickly and every day. a non-competitive person needs what some call functional strength. (We’ll define “functional” another time) That is the strength to get out of a chair go up and downstairs, carry stuff, carry stuff upstairs, move whatever needs to be moved, play with children, and so on. A tennis player, to finish the examples, needs to not get injured, run fast, and hit the ball hard. How do you get those needed strength levels? No one wants to get injured, so the lifts must be skill appropriate and scheduled as often as will accomplish training goals. That is different for our three examples. You always want to consult an experienced, unbiased coach.

As you look for the best program and facility use these 6 guidelines for strength training decision making.

6 Guidelines for starting you weight training

  • 1. Longevity - are you getting into a program that will adjust and carry you for decades? Yes, decades.

  • 2. Do the workouts require difficult or unusual moves? Some do and if you can't do them, the whole workout is compromised.

  • 3. Goes anywhere. We all have one or two proprietary or special pieces of equipment, but for the most part, are you doing a program that any weight room in the world will accommodate?

  • 4. Adaptable. Sometimes life gets in the way and the schedule is shot. Are you in a program that will adapt to ever-changing schedules?

  • 5. Who’s getting the better deal, you or the trainer? It's a matter of value. Does what you pay for the program return awesome results?

  • 6. Fitness goals are why you are there. Are they being met? Don’t let a program or person take you in a different direction from why you went.

Let these be your guide. Good Luck and good health.


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