How to Start Lifting Weights

After my post on Primal Workout Websites last week, my awesome co-worker, Earlene, told me she wanted to lift weights… but she didn’t know where to begin.  I tried to give her some simple advice… but that’s a little harder than it sounds.  After all people write entire books and devote entire careers to solving this problem.  But as someone who successfully self-taught herself how-to lift weights, I thought I’d share my 2 cents on how to get started 🙂

First.  Decide what exercises you are going to do.
This will require a little personal research, but I recommend choosing about 8 different exercises and mastering them.  My favorites are the bench press, squats, lateral pull-downs, dips, pull-ups, the overhead press, and deadlifts.  These movements are more efficient than things like bicep curls and crunches because they work your entire body.  This means you can do less of them, less often, and still get better results.

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Second.  Make a plan, and keep it realistic. 
Don’t tell yourself you’re going to do all 8 movements a day, 5 times a week.  You’ll get busy, or tired, and then you’ll feel overwhelmed and give up.  If you make your workouts intense, you only need to lift twice a week.  For example on Monday do 4 sets of 5-8 reps for 4 of your chosen movements.  And then on Friday do 4 sets of 5-8 reps of your other 4 chosen movements.  And repeat this week after week.

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Third.  Practice your form.
Before you start lifting anything heavy, make sure your form is correct.  Lifting weights provides tons of benefits, but you can hurt yourself if you don’t use proper form.  If you don’t know what good form is, YouTube is a wonderful thing.  For example simply searching “proper form bench press” will give you hundreds of video examples.

Helpful Sites: YouTube

Fourth.  Test out your weight.
Start off lighter than you think you can lift.  If you’re in decent shape, try lifting the bar (45 pounds) and work up from there.  If not, start with dumbbells or just your body weight.  Then once you can comfortably lift a weight, increase it!  Don’t stick to one weight because you’re afraid to get bulky, you won’t!

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Fifth.  Stop making excuses and start lifting.
Too intimidated by the weight room?  Trust me no one is paying as much attention to you as you think they are.  Don’t belong to a gym?  Well then sign-up, they’re everywhere.  Are gyms too expensive?  Then start working out at home.  With a little bit of research you can find affordable equipment online.  Or you can improvise and make your own. 🙂

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Good Luck & Happy Lifting!

5 thoughts on “How to Start Lifting Weights

  1. Hi Becca..thank you so much for sharing those really helpful tips on lifting weights. I know it’s too late for me to ever achieve a body like yours, but I will start slowly and gradually increase my workouts, and you are the awesome one.

  2. Thank you, this is all very helpful stuff. I’ve recently started adding weights to my normal workout routine and loving it (though I’m still a wimp!).

    Btw, LOVE that t-shirt. I want! 🙂

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