Happy Wednesday as always,
I am pleased to announce that I’m launching a blog series to run alongside our 6 week summer reset programme!
Over the next 6 weeks we are going to look at a range of fitness principles so you can expand your knowledge alongside your fitness ability!
Today we are going to start with the benefits of resistance training. I will share some simple tips when beginning to learn to lift weights, my experience with resistance training and then the amazing health benefits it can provide also!
Let’s start with some basic tips:
So you’ve seen people in the gym, or on instagram or you friends talk about their ‘bench’ or ‘deadlift’ and you’re curious but you have no idea where to start? I was absolutely there a few years ago. Wonder no longer!
Let’s start out with the premise behind resistance training, there are many reasons why someone would start to lift weights, whether it be to gain muscle mass, to feel empowered, to ‘look good’ or to improve their mental health. Whatever it may be, if its lack of knowledge that’s holding you back then after this quick read you’ll be raring to go.
So regardless of what motivated you to get in the gym, you’ve got your gym membership and maybe you’ve begun attending the gym but you feel a little lost?
Here’s what to do, first make sure you have a plan! Go into the gym with a small planned workout, whether you found it online or have received it from a PT you’ve paid. If you fall into the trap of ‘figuring it out when you get there’ chances are you’ll hop on the treadmill for a ‘quick warm up’ and end up faffing around for half an hour, work yourself up and go home again. So lets change that, turn up with a plan of 6-8 exercises, warm up, and stretches planned out and make it happen!
Second, research the correct form. There are so many injuries you can obtain from not lifting weights correctly, especially due to their large size. Before you start a new exercise, try it without a weight. Ensure your body is in the right position, your chest is up, your posture is correct, your knees are tracking over your toes, your elbows are pinned into your ribs, etc. Just please make sure you’re doing it correctly. There are some excellent videos out there showing you the correct techniques for movements, check it is good advice from a licensed professional and if in doubt, invest in a personal trainer. They are there for a reason, it’s always best to double check than get injured after all.
Thirdly, why not try out a new gym outfit? It is amazing how much your confidence can be affected by not feeling your best. Make an effort, if you want to wear a nice new outfit then do it! If you want to wear make up, go for it! It’s your workout and if doing these things make you happier then why not?
Now you’re pretty much set! Start slow, begin with some simple exercises (that you will have researched before coming to the gym) don’t overcomplicate it with crazy training techniques and slowly work your way through. Perform around 8-10 reps of each movement, 3 sets in total then move on. Be sure to rack your weights away when you’re done with them and remember that no one is there to stare at you. Put your headphones in, listen to whatever you like and do this for you!
Form tips for a basic two exercises:
Squat: For a squat you want to make sure your feet are slightly wider than hip width apart, turn your toes out slightly (aim for just less than a 45 degree angle). Next you want to send your hips back, whilst keeping your chest up. Rather than thinking ‘down’, think about sending those hips back until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Then push through your heels to come back up giving your hips a gentle tilt at the top of the movement and squeeze your gluteal muscles. Don’t force the hips forward here, this is terrible for your back, make sure the give them a slight tilt, tightening in the core and glutes.
Bench press: Before you start, whilst laid down on the bench, ensure your shoulders are back and down before grabbing the bar just wider than shoulder width apart. Lift the bar off the rack (if you are a beginner start with a low weight, a traditional barbell is 20kg without added plates on) and hold it above your chest so it is directly above the midline of your chest. Lower the barbell down with control and keep your elbows tucked at around a 30 degree angle to protect the shoulder joint. Allow the bar to gently touch your chest before pushing the bar back up. When at the top of the movement try to keep a slight bend in the elbows to prevent them from locking.
My experience in the gym:
The first time I stepped foot in a gym I was 18 years old in my first year of university. I was terrified and didn’t have a clue what anything was. I didn’t know any exercises, none of the terminology and couldn’t get my head around a single machine.
What really helped me was going with a friend, she knew a lot about the gym and gave me a few simple exercises to try alongside her. I was given form tips throughout, taught about reps and sets and I was hooked from there. I started to see progress really quickly which gave me the motivation to carry on, and I soon found myself excited to attend the gym each evening. I was studying dance at university at the time so training was also benefiting my studies incredibly well.
When going home during Christmas and the summer I found myself attending local gyms confidently by myself because I had built up my knowledge with someone else, that is what removed a lot of the ‘gymtimidation’ for me. They say knowledge is power and for me, I must say it definitely helped.
Some of my favourite weight lifting exercises include a hip thrust, I have always had strong glutes due to my background in ballet so I have always found hip thrusts a fun exercise! I also love an upright row, this is a shoulder exercise using a narrow grip to draw the barbell upwards until it reaches the middle of your chest. I cant explain what it is about the exercise I just find a lot of joy in it. I also really love the cable machine, whether it be cable bicep curls or tricep pushdowns, I enjoy anything cable related as I feel like I can truly feel the correct muscles contracting.
If you are wanting to start your gym journey, come into class, book your FREE 1 hour consultation with me and I can give you the skills you need to hit the ground running with confidence and eliminate that anxiety as quickly as possible!
Health Benefits of Resistance Training:
-Regular resistance training will decrease your chances of heart disease or heart attack
-Increase your metabolic rate after exercise
-You will experience improved self-image
-Have a distraction from daily routine
-Have stronger ligaments and increase bone density, an incredible long-term effect
-Improved muscular efficiency
-Increased tendon strength
-And improved posture, only to name a few!
All of the above benefits for minimum 2 hours a week commitment, that’s just one showing of your favourite film! Take steps today towards improving your long-term health and look after your older self now!
Have a go, pop into your local gym and try out a few big lifts, or come to class to experience a welcoming fitness environment and start your weight lifting journey today!
Tune in next week when I’ll discuss the benefits of cardiovascular fitness and how your cardiovascular health should be your top priority!
Have a fab rest of your week and do have a look at our 6 week summer reset programme! Designed to help you end your training plateau and achieve your goals with incredible supportive guidance!