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Jan 3

The Beginners Guide to Weight Training – The Manual

Deciding to seriously go after your fitness goals can seem daunting at first. Beginner workouts are useful to help get your body acclimated to a new routine. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, train for a marathon or endurance event, or simply take better care of yourself, making a habit out of exercising is the first step. Weight training creates a stable foundation that sets you up to achieve your fitness goals, but it can feel overwhelming and even be dangerous for beginners.

On a physical level, weight training can improve strength, endurance, balance, and it also helps keep your bones healthy, says Kenta Seki, ACE-certified personal trainer and FitOn App Trainer. On a mental level, exercise and weight training can improve your mood and sleep patterns, and even boost your self-confidence.

If youre new to weight training, youve come to the right place. We worked with Kenta to create a beginner workout guide that will help familiarize you with the movements and techniques you need to know in order to execute these exercises safely and give you the results youre after. You dont need a ton of workout equipment to see results quickly you just need a basic understanding of the weight training principles.

Before you start throwing heavy weights around your home gym, Kenta has a few pieces of advice for weight training safely.

Dont skip your warm-up, says Kenta. A light cardio exercise, like a 5-minute run or jog, and light stretching will help your body prepare for the work its about to do.

Another tip: Remember to breathe. Avoid holding your breath during any of the exercises below. Exhale while youre putting forth the most effort on an exercise, and inhale as youre coming back to your starting position.

Finally, Kenta underscores the importance of form above all else. Dont sacrifice form to lift heavier weights, she warns. If your form is suffering due to the amount of weight youre lifting, take it down a notch and work toward that heavier weight. Having goals to strive for is important in fitness, like anything else. Youll feel better when you can lift that heavier weight confidently and properly than if you exhaust and possibly injure yourself in the process.

Squats certainly help build muscle in the leg, but the squatting movement also creates an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building. Squats can help you improve both your upper and lower body strength when done correctly, so nailing this exercise will set you up for success in future moves.

Execution

Deadlifts sound easy: At first glance, it just looks like youre picking up a heavy object and setting it down. It might look simple, but this movement is actually incredibly complex and easy to do incorrectly, which can result in injury if youre not careful. This exercise strengthens your legs, back, and the rest of your posterior chain, which helps take the stress off your lower back. Its a beneficial exercise when done right, so establishing proper form is crucial to avoid having to correct bad habits later.

Execution

Chest presses will help develop your upper body strength by toning your pectorals, deltoids, triceps, and biceps. This foundational arm workout is an effective and straightforward way to work out your upper body and developing that wide chest most men covet.

If youre working out at home, this exercise can easily be done with dumbbells.

Execution

Rows are another upper body workout that carves and sculpts your back muscles. This exercise is especially important because its a movement that we dont typically do in our daily lives, so its activating and building a muscle that rarely gets any attention. It also helps strengthen your posterior chain, which can alleviate back pain.

Dumbbell rows give you a better range of motion than other row variations, so its what wed recommend here.

Execution

The shoulder press engages your shoulders and core, which can improve muscle definition as well as stability. Your shoulders get activated in nearly every upper body strength workout, so strong shoulders can improve your performance in other exercises.

Using dumbbells in this exercise helps activate the anterior (front) deltoid more than when using a barbell.

Execution

The triceps are the muscles in the back of your arm, which is why they tend to be ignored in favor of bicep workouts that give you those bulging muscles out on display for the world to see. But if you want balanced, tank-top-worthy arms by summer, you need to make sure youre giving your triceps a little love.

The overhead triceps extension exercise is an isolation exercise, meaning it focuses on the tricep muscle alone. You can do overhead tricep extensions with one or two dumbells, either standing or seating.

Execution

Bicep curls are perhaps the most recognizable weight training exercise. The bicep muscle plays an important role in most pulling exercises, like deadlifts and rows, so focusing on beefing up your biceps will certainly pay off and help you unlock your full fitness potential.

Execution

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The Beginners Guide to Weight Training - The Manual

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