Introduction to Weightlifting
Have a Goal
Work out Plan
You can make up your own schedule easily, just make sure you have 1-3 days of rest between the days you work each muscle again.
Your larger muscles: Quads, Chest, Shoulders, usually need two days rest in between each work out session. Smaller muscles need one day. Abs and obliques, however, can be worked everyday.
The most important thing in weight lifting is to have a goal. First step is to decide what exactly these goals are. Is it to get bigger muscles? Is it to get stronger? (bigger muscles and strength don’t always go hand in hand)
If you just want to look good, then you only need to work your upper body, like most models do. If you want to look good and perform good in sports, then you should work your whole upper and lower body. Your upper body includes: biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders, trapezes, latissimus dorsi, and abs. Your lower body includes Hamstrings, Quadriceps, and Calves.
Once you know what your goal is, you might even want to write it down, you need to figure out a way to accomplish it in a most efficient way, common sense, right? For this you need a workout plan. Most people work out
3-4 times a week. Some people step up to the next level and work out 5, some even 6, times a week. However, that is usually too intense for an average person. The point of having a schedule is so you don’t overstrain your muscles, and they have enough time to heal. Refer to sample work-out programs.
Once you got your schedule you’re ready to work out. I recommend working out at a gym, because it is usually cheaper than buying all the equipment and setting up a gym in your home. If you live on where near a gym, and you decide to buy, there is a lot out there. Getting a squat rack, a bench, barbell, and weights should do it, however you’re looking at about $1000 right there.
If you want results your session should last about 60 minutes to one and a half hours… So you’re at the gym, got your sweats, shirt, CD player, deodorant, wrist straps. etc. When you work out it’s best to wear something that will keep you warm. Like a sweatshirt you can later take off when you get hot. Muscles perform a lot better when kept warm. Which brings us to the first thing you do — warm up. Like I already said your muscles perform a lot better and longer, and you don’t get sore, if they’re warm, so warm up for 5-10 minutes. You can do anything you want - run, jog, ride a bike, jump rope - anything that will make you break a sweat. If you’re going to be doing strength oriented lifting, you might want to make sure your warm up isn’t too intense and you don’t wear yourself out. For example, running a mile or two before an intense weight lifting session is a bad idea, you will probably have a hard time lifting weights that are 80% of what you usually lift.
Sets & Reps
Now one of the main things in weight lifting is “sets” and “reps”. Reps is the total number of times you can lift a certain weight repeatedly. Sets are made up of reps. So suppose you lift a certain weight 8 times, and you do 5 sets, then you will lift it 8 times, take a break, lift it 8 more times, take a break and so on, until you have 5 sets of 8 reps each.
Which brings me to the next subject, the results you get depend on the number of reps you do. .
If you’ve never lifted before then I recommend starting with about 8-10 reps, because it is important to know how to lift. I mean it sounds easy, but your body has to be used to doing this specific movement. Breathing is also extremely important. Exhale while pushing away from your body. Example — When you bench press, your arms have to be a little over shoulder width apart, you need a good grip, but not too tight, you bring the bar down slow while inhaling, it should take you about 2 seconds, bringing it down to the bottom of your chest, then exhaling and pressing it back up, not too fast, yet faster then you bring it down. Most of these movements are pretty natural.
After doing a set, you need to take a break and let blood flow back up to your muscles, or basically rest. Each break should be around 1 - 2 minutes, sometimes you can take longer breaks, if your muscles are especially tired. This is very important, resting is just as important as lifting. However taking too long of a break can also be bad. Also remember to breathe, if you stand up and your head is spinning and you’re seeing stars, then you are probably not getting enough air. Just take a short break, and take a few deep breaths.
Like I already said, I recommend doing 4-5 sets per exercise, after you’re done with that exercise you should take a 2-5 minute break, and start with the next, you can work the same muscle, or you can switch to a different muscle, depending on how you worked out your muscles are.
Sets & Reps
Most people do about 8 reps, which is good to gain general muscle size. Bodybuilders do 6-8 reps, but they may do as many as 20 sets. Which is very intense. Strength athletes do as little as 1-5 reps, with much heavier weights, with fewer sets. If you do over 15 reps, you won’t get any extra muscle, but you will loose fat, and tone up.
Weight Loss Oriented Work-Out
If you are working out to primarily loose weight, then what you do will be a little different. First off, running will be a very important factor in any serious weight loss program. Of course, running can be substituted with biking, jump-roping, swimming, etc. whatever burns the needed amount of calories. Studies show, however, that running isn’t absolutely necessary. If you perform a regular work-out, doing higher reps (8-12) and taking shorter breaks (1-2 min.) between sets, this can produce nearly the same affect as running or jump-roping.
Also, a generally under looked fact: simply having muscle, reduces fat just by itself. Muscle burns fat! So if you maintain a somewhat muscular physique, keeping fat off wont be as much of a hassle. Basically, a good diet helps, but is not absolutely necessary. Assuming you are not a “junk food monster”, and you eat regular day-to-day food, the little fat you get will not interfere with your goals. Eat basically what your mother told you to eat: fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. Drinking soft drinks, for example, is primarily hazardous only because it destroys the calcium in your bones, so drinking diet soft drinks wont help. Simply use your common sense when it comes to dieting, counting every single calorie is not needed.
Only if you are engaged in a very serious fat-loosing program, you will need to count calories. However, commonly overlooked fact is that when loosing weight, your primary activity should be exercising, not skipping meals or drinking slim-fast. Unless you engage in regular exercise, even if you do manage to knock off a few pounds by selective dieting, you will gain it back within a few months. Human beings were not mean to sit in an office 7 hours a day, so to substitute all the hunting and gathering our great ancestors did, some sort of exercise is required.
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