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How to get started the right way with strength training

Jul 25, 2008
I know, I know. You're champing at the bit to hit the gym after that New Year's resolution to get ripped this year. I was once like you; amped to get into the gym and start pumping iron. You're eager - but let's slow down a minute. You need to start slow and work your way up -- trust me! There's a few basics you should know. And if I didn't catch you before that first visit you're probably like I was when I first started working out -- too sore to workout for a week! All I was thinking was "what did I do wrong?"

The truth is, I had gone too fast and just jumped in when I should have taken things slow and built my strength gradually - although everything worked out fine in the long run, a lot of would be weight lifters get discouraged quickly because they failed to start small in their bodybuilding plans.

But this isn't my only concern (although I do sincerely hate to see people drop out and fail to reach their potential when they are so enthusiastic in the beginning). Injuries can easily result as a product of newly minted body builders getting too enthusiastic about those first few workout sessions and overdoing it or making dumb mistakes.

So with that in mind, I'd like to give those of you who are new to strength training a few pointers on getting started the right way. You know it REALLY can make all the difference between success and failure in weightlifting (and between getting those rock hard abs you desire or just "so-so results) so please, read on!

Let's start with anatomical adaptation (a big word, but it's easy to understand): you just want to help your body be prepared for the rigors of strength training. So before you even hit the weight room, consider starting with a routine of full body workouts to build overall strength and endurance.

Remember this: "Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were the weightlifting pros." So after a few weeks of the general strength training of your whole body, when you feel ready (or simply cannot wait), try just one exercise per area of the body you want to focus strength training on and keep your number of reps low; even if you don't feel "pumped" right away don't worry. You are laying the ground work for serious bodybuilding later. Be patient and just get a feel for all the exercises (this is especially true if you've never been in the gym or it's been a LONG time!).

After a few weeks, you're going to be ready for some serious lifting! Here's the best way to do it: Gradually increase the amount of weight you are lifting and add a few more reps each workout but stick with this new weight and number of reps for a few weeks before increasing. One more thing; the pros know this, but it's extra important for the beginner: You don't grow IN the gym, you grow OUT of it... so make sure to take a day off in between workout days (two days if it has been an exceptionally strenuous workout).

Remember, slow and steady is the smart way to start strength training. Why? Because proper form and performance of exercises is MORE important than how much weight you lift. Don't let your ego get in the way. You'll begin building muscle before you know it, but you have to start small. Have a great workout!
About the Author
author Caleb Lee knows a lot about building muscle. His website will show you how to build muscle fast.
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