Workout Tips

This section of our health library is devoted to – you guessed it – workout tips! Learn about all things fitness in these articles that are designed to help you get up and get moving, regardless of your physical ability.

How Do I Start Weight Training?

If wanting to incorporate strength training into your exercise regimen but not sure where to begin, learn how to lift weights to minimize injury risk while maximizing gains.


While it is worthwhile to exercise, exercise should ultimately be worth your while. And after not reaping benefits of putting time in the gym, you may just want to throw in the towel altogether.

But rather than sweating the disappointment, you can gain control (and strength) by learning how to start weight training in a safe, yet effective fashion.

How to Lift Weights & Weight Train

If wanting to incorporate strength training into your exercise regimen but not sure where to begin, learn how to lift weights and train the right way with these tips.

1. Check with Your Doctor

Especially if managing a chronic disease or over the age of 40, consult with your doctor for stricter guidance. 

Their expertise can establish a safe starting point to prevent injury, all while considering your needs and workout goals.

2. Slow and Steady

Although lifting heavy and reaping the benefits of a stronger physique is highly desirable, it is important to do so in a slow and steady manner.

Overdoing it with heavy weights and too many repetitions may actually just cause injury, potentially pushing back your goals.

3. Lift an Appropriate Weight Amount

Especially if researching how to lift weights for beginners, you may be wondering, "How much should I be lifting?"

There really is no direct answer to the question, as individuals have varying established body strengths and abilities, but rather an informal recommendation and strategy. Weights should feel heavy, but bearable, and start to make muscles feel fatigued after 12 repetitions.

Most weight training programs advocate for achieving between 10 to 15 repetitions for three to four sets or rounds. For example, squatting with five pounds for three sets of 12 reps.

4. Focus on Form

Rather than uncomfortably trying to lift heavy weights, focus primarily on correct form. More weight can always be added, but learning the proper techniques and range of motions can facilitate better results and lessen the likelihood of injury.

And remember, technique is always more important than strength! Also as you start to feel more comfortable and stronger, give these 5 anaerobic exercises a try

5. Offer Balance

While bulking up the biceps may be your primary goal, all major muscle groups should be targeted, including abdominals, hips, legs, shoulders, arms, and the back and chest.

Strengthening the opposing muscles, such as the triceps, can foster even greater muscle growth.

6. Stretch

Stretching may be one of the most underrated components of physical activity. However, it is important to stretch directly following a workout when the muscles are still "warm" and loose.

Continuous light movement throughout the day can also prevent muscles from feeling stiff and tightening up.

7. Allow Rest

Fighting against "There is no rest for the wicked," rest is a necessary component of weight training. The body does need time to recover and repair itself, especially if the movements are something the body is not used to.

It is also critical to not push through severe pain, as doing so may cause severe injury.

8. Nourish the Body

Since exercise and diet go hand-in-hand, fueling and nourishing the body should not go unnoticed. 

Especially when weight training, adequate protein stimulates muscle repair and growth while healthful carbs replete glycogen stores and stabilize blood sugars.

In addition to these 10 best foods for muscle recovery, drink at least 64-ounces of water each day to reduce dehydration and muscle cramping risk.

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on March 15, 2019.


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