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The Ultimate Weight Training Guide for Beginners

You need to pick the right exercises to achieve results in the gym.

A lot of weight-training beginners make the mistake of registering in a gym blindly and lifting weights without any idea of what they’re doing. This lack of information is the major reason why some people become confused along the way, lose motivation and give up.

So if you desire to start a weight training routine to build muscle, lose fat, increase strength, and build stamina, you need a proper guide to achieve the best result.

Yea, there is much inconsistent and contradictory information from many media sources today, and this has caused many people to struggle to build strong and shredded bodies.

Beginners’ Failure in Weight Training

When you visit many gym centers today, you will notice some dudes in cut-off t-shirts, taking sips from their brightly-colored pre-workouts drinks and taking reps of bicep curls weekly. Normally, you would expect some great improvement, but instead, they remain at the same level.

Some cardio queens also repeat endless sets of triceps kickbacks and cardio to “tone” their muscles, but end up frustrated along the line.

You’ll also notice young athletes with bewildered expressions while wavering under a 45 bar.

The truth is that all these people described above are still beginners despite their large efforts and commitments. That’s not because they invest poor effort, but because they are not properly informed and guided.

So to help you get the best result in your weight training journey as a beginner, we’ll share with you some basic principles and facts that will put you on the right track in the gym.

Ultimate Principles on Weight Training for Every Beginner

 Focus on the compound, multi-joint movements

A lot of beginners make the mistake of isolating each muscle group when training. This is a sure way to remain small, weak and injury-prone.

For great improvement and better results as a beginner, you are meant to train compound, multi-joint movements. This way, you will be able to develop a strong strength base.

You need to pick the right exercises to achieve results in the gym. You can use the hamstring curls, biceps curls, or shoulder raises train as a beginner.

But dwelling on these isolation exercises will only work on a small part of your body. So you need to include big movements like squats to help you get better results.

To keep it simple for you as a beginner, you can use these five movement patterns as the base of your weight training program:

  • Push: push-ups, one-arm presses, bench press, jerk, overhead press.
  • Lunge: step back lunge, Bulgarian split squat, step back lunge
  • Squat: goblet squat, back squat, front squat, Zercher squat
  • Hinge: kettlebell swings, good morning, deadlifts (all variations)
  • Pull: seated row, one-arm row, pull up, bent-over row

These movements put major muscles to work at multiple joints, and that’s the basis of most movements in sports. So you can incorporate these movements in the early stage of your weight training as a beginner.

Work on improving quality over quantity

It is good to work to beat personal records and add more weight to the bar, but what’s more important is improving the quality of each rep.

As a beginner, you have to focus on mastering the techniques of major movements. So you have to stay tight to your deadlift, achieve depth on your squat, and always perform full chin-ups at the gym.

Instead of competing to beat your buddy in a bench-off, work on improving your exercise techniques. This way, you will achieve better gains with a lower risk of injury.

Focus on the basics

First and foremost is to decide on a goal. Whether you want to lose weight or build muscle. Unlike popular belief that cardio is best for losing weight (which is a load of bull), weight training actually surpasses cardio exercises in all aspects when it comes to weight loss. Either way, calculating your TDEE is the first step to reach your goal. So click the below link to access the TDEE calculator.

TDEE & Macro Calculator

Next, Don’t try to imitate dudes doing hundreds of curls in the corner of the gym. That’s completely wrong and complicated does not mean effective.

So stick to the basics and don’t try to do programs consisting of 50 different exercises or pain-inducing timed sets. You don’t need all of those advanced methods as a beginner.

You can work on your barbell and dumbbell exercises. Yea, they work! So try including primary exercises like deadlifts, squats, push-ups, lunges, and cleans into your program.

Remember! These exercises have been around for 100+ years and they are proven to be effective.

Choose free weights over machines

It’s really funny when you see beginners trying machines just on the first day in the gym. You don’t need all those machines at the early stage of your weight training.

Why? Machines will lock your body into place when you try movement patterns. And your body is not trained to handle the load from these movements. So ensure you stick to free weights as a beginner.

Make sure you warm-up

Don’t ever jump into your weight training workout routine without a proper warm-up. You might suffer from chronic muscle injuries if you do. So the best way to start your workout is to take 10 minutes to warm up your muscles.

Your warm-ups should include neutral activation exercise, sports-specific movements, and active stretching techniques. These movements should target key movement patterns and muscles you intend to train during your upcoming session.

When you warm up properly before your weight training exercises, it helps to increase your stability, stimulate your nervous system, address movement deficiencies, and activate proprioceptors.

You don’t have to go through complicated warm-up exercises. Yea, there are simple moves like the cradle walk, forward lunge, bodyweight squats, and more, which are great for a lower body day.

Use the appropriate load, reps, sets, and volume

You need to build a big strength base regardless of your weight training goal.  And that’s why you need to understand how to use loading, reps, sets, and volume.

Here’s a recommended order to follow as a beginner:

Dynamic movements: throws, sprints, jumps:

Try proper dynamic warm-up. Use two to five sets of two to five reps for activation.

Power: jumps, snatches, power cleans

Perform two warm-up sets and move on to three to five sets (3-5 reps). Ensure you keep the load moderately heavy and attainable.

Compound strength: presses, pulls, squats, deadlifts

Perform three to six sets of a couple of major movements. These should be heavy, but must not past failure. You should be able to perform it in good form.

Compound / higher rep

Perform two to four sets of one or two movements for ten to fifteen reps. and these movements should be moderately difficult.

Isolation work

Perform two to three sets of one or two selected movements and do fifteen to twenty reps. Near-failure is allowed here and incomplete recovery can be used. But don’t go overboard.

By following these principles and weight training guide highlighted above, you wouldn’t fall for the pool of fake information out there for beginner weightlifters.

You can now get the best result from time spent in the gym. Remember, the principles work for everyone- whether you are a high school athlete working to get bigger and stronger, or you’re a 75-year-old grandpa hoping to begin a fitness routine.