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A Beginners Guide to Strength Training

Updated: Feb 1

The Joy of Learning How to Use Weights

Woman Doing Goblet Squats Exercise

Making the decision to add strength training to your fitness routine is a great first step towards a healthier you. Your next step is to sign up for a gym membership, but the real challenge comes when you're actually at the gym, surrounded by all the equipment and feeling overwhelmed. If you're new to strength training, the gym can feel intimidating with its array of dumbbells, barbells, and squat racks that might seem like they belong in a torture chamber.

The key to overcoming this gym-intimidation is education and experience. Understanding the basics of strength training will empower you to feel more confident in the gym and make the most out of your workouts. You'll learn about terms such as reps, sets, and the best exercises to help you reach your goals. With the right knowledge, you'll be able to create a workout plan that's tailored to your needs and will keep you motivated and on track towards your fitness goals.

girl doing a biceps curl with a cable machine

Here's How to Get Started With Strength Training

Define and Write Out Your Goals

Before you start lifting weights, it's crucial to know what you want to achieve. Ask yourself why you want to include strength training in your fitness routine and what specific goals you have.

Do you want to lose body fat, maintain muscle mass, bulk up, get stronger, or reduce stress? Write down your objectives so you have a clear direction for your training. Why is it that YOU want to lift weights?

Having well-defined goals will help you stay focused and motivated as you embark on your strength training journey.

Write it down.

Having clear goals will allow for more educated decisions when planning your workouts.

Deciding on how often to train and what exercises to do will be much easier if you have it all written down.

Women going a leg exercise on a weight bench

Frequency of Strength Training: Finding a Balance

One of the questions I am often asked is how many days per week should you be strength training. Well, just ask yourself this question:

Realistically, how many days per week do you want to exercise? What's practical with your schedule and lifetsyle?

This is an important question. At the end of the day, you're going to have to find a happy medium between what's best for your goals, and what is realistic for your life.

My suggestion is to start small. Try to establish a baseline consistency of exercise first. If you're inexperienced with strength training, start with 2 strength sessions per week for your first 2 weeks, and then add in a 3rd day once you're ready.

Unless you're training for a more body-specific goal or training for a particular sport, 3 strength sessions per week is more than enough for the average person.