Weight Training is the art of lifting weights, with the aim of increasing your personal fitness & looking aesthetically defined. Men usually lift weights to build bigger muscles and increase their strength & women lift weights in order to ‘tone' up and build strength.
Weight Training can be done with a wide range of equipment, from barbells & dumbbells, to kettlebells and even resistance cable machines. If you're using resistance machines, you'll find that each machine is built to target different muscle groups.
When you start weight training, you'll target a single muscle group per workout. For example, Mondays are widely recognised as ‘Chest Day', where you will train only your chest.
Over a period of time, you'll notice that the weight that you can lift will increase. This means that you're getting stronger & you'll notice your muscles getting bigger. This is known as progressive overload, which is a steady increase in pressure on your muscles, which stimulates your muscular development.
Weight Training has many benefits & it's the most popular form of training. Whilst Cardiovascular training is also popular, the benefits aren't quite as good & you also have to work harder to get the same results.
How do I start Weight Training?
The easiest way to start weight training is to grab some dumbbells, or head to the gym! For most exercises, you'll be able to train alone & you won't need a training partner. A quick note; As the weight you can lift increases, the need for a training partner may also rise!
Your weight training should follow the same regular pattern, consisting of a warm up, your main workout & then a cool down. In addition to this, you can also opt to add a short, high intensity interval training workout which can help you in a cutting diet.
One of the biggest myths is that you should stay in the gym for a minimum of 90-120 minutes. At Lift Bible, I advise that you should completely ignore the time. If you've completed your workout after 30 minutes, you're finished! At the same time, if you've been sat on your phone in the gym for 3 hours, you can stay and get some work done! Let's have a look into the breakdown of your weight training workout.
It all starts with the warm up, which is designed to get the blood flowing around your body. If you've had your pre-workout, you'll start noticing the pump, with tingling sensations about to take over. You won't push things too hard at this point, you're going to be taking things light and getting ready for your actual workout.
Your warm up should consist of exercises such as; Skipping Rope, Burpees & Star Jumps. If you're more advanced, you could also throw in some pull ups, lunges & squats to really get things moving. You don't need to spend too long on your warm-up, I'm not a fan of setting time-limits to any part of my workout, but I'd say to dedicate around 10 minutes of your workout to warming up.
If you hit the chest press without having warmed up, not only will you struggle to lift close to what you should be able to, but you're also increasing the risk of injury.
After completing your warm up, it's time to have a sip out of your water bottle and get prepared for your main workout. This will be a set of exercises which you have to complete. It's always best to prepare your workout before you enter the gym, so you can be mentally prepared to hit your goals.
If you're training Back, which is known as ‘back day', then you'll only be completing exercises which target your back muscles. That means no lunges, chest press or shrugs.
You will have a list of exercises to complete, but you might be wondering how many times you should perform each exercise. It will depend on which type of program you're following, but a general rule of thumb is to perform between 3 and 5 sets.
What's a set? A set is simply a collection of repetitions. You will have between 8-15 repetitions inside a set.
After you've completed between 8-15 repetitions of the same exercise, for example 15 lat pulldowns, you take a small pause to increase the weight. After the weight has been increased, it's time to start set number two.
It's completely normal to complete less repetitions as the weight gets heavier, in fact, if you can complete 15 repetitions all the way through, the weight is too light.
The exact list of exercises that you perform will vary depending on what exercise routine you're following. However, the Sets and repetitions work the same for all workouts.
Should I follow a weight training plan?
The odds will always favour a man with a plan! Apologies for that.
There are many benefits to following a training plan. They are designed to specifically target every muscle group, which is something that a lot of people forget to do. It's easy to forget what you have or haven't trained in any given week, but if you're following a plan then you'll be more likely to call today leg day, instead of Tuesday!
How many times a week should I be weight training?
This answer all depends on experience. If you've recently started weightlifting, 3 times a week will take it's toll on your body. As you gain experience, you can increase that to 4 times per week.
I wouldn't advise to train anymore than 5 times per week, as a recovery period is required. If your muscles aren't given time to recover, you won't be able to make them bigger or stronger. Healthline support this amount too.
What should my Diet be like?
If you're just starting weight lifting, I wouldn't rush to make too many changes to your body. If you transform from not weightlifting, to cutting calories and rapidly changing your diet… you'll notice a huge drop in energy levels. Make small changes, over time.
Work towards a long-term target, slowly reducing your calories and eating cleaner. You will definitely see the results. It's hard work, but the results are worth the effort that you put in.
What equipment do I need for Weight Training?
Most workouts can be completed with a Barbell, Dumbbells & an adjustable bench. If you're thinking of building a home gym, I'd set yourself a budget of around £1,000 minimum. Alternatively, head to your local gym as this will have all of the equipment in exchange for a small-ish monthly fee!
The Home Gym vs Commercial gym discussion will always be active, and there's no right or wrong answer. It's all based on preference.
When you're in a gym, you might hear some terms which could confuse you. We will finish this post with those key terms so you can be part of the Gym lingo!
- Reps (Repetitions) – The amount of times you perform an action during a set.
- Sets – The amount of times you complete your Reps. (3 Sets of 10 Reps = 30 Reps).
- Drop Set – Completing a set, then immediately lowering the weight and performing another set.
- Super Set – Completing two sets of different exercises, in the same muscle group.
- Free Weights – Unfixed weights. This can be Dumbbells, or Barbells and Iron Weight Plates.
- Resistance Machines – Fixed machines in the gym which usually contain a Pin to increase/decrease weight resistance. The resistance is applied via a cable, and they're also referred to as Cable Machines.
This should be enough to get you started in the gym. Lift Bible are everything fitness & you should stay tuned as we are about to release some exercise guides & more tutorials & explainers to help you on your fitness journey.