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  • The Hammonton Gazette

Weightlifting tips for beginners


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Strength training is a vital component of an effective exercise regimen. Guidelines from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommend adults include moderate- to high-intensity strength training activities in their workout regimens at least twice per week.


Individuals with little weightlifting experience may not recognize the value of strength training, which is often associated with building as much muscle as possible. Though strength training helps build muscle, it’s also a great way to burn fat. Muscle increases resting metabolic rate, which means individuals who engage in strength training will burn more fat during rest than they would if they did not include such exercise in their workout regimens. Stronger muscles also provide more support to bones and connective tissues, which reduces injury risk. That’s an especially important benefit for aging men and women.


As valuable as strength training is, it’s imperative that individuals approach weightlifting and other strength exercises with a measure of caution. Improper form or going too hard too soon can increase injury risk. Beginners can heed these tips as they acclimate to strength training.


• Work with a personal trainer. Proper form is imperative to avoiding injury while strength training, and personal trainers can guide individuals through an assortment of exercises to make sure they’re performing them correctly. If a long-term commitment to a personal trainer is beyond your financial means, find a trainer with limited commitment packages or one who lets clients pay on a session-by-session basis. Many fitness facilities include one or two free personal trainer consultations for new members, so take advantage of these opportunities when they’re offered. If you plan to work out at home, ask a friend with weightlifting experience to show you the correct form or watch online tutorials.


• Begin with light weight. Beginners should avoid reaching for the heaviest dumbbells on the rack. Mastering form is vital at the beginning stages of a new strength training program, so go for lighter weights and gradually add weight as your body acclimates. If you find yourself completing a set without much effort, you can add a little more weight. But start with light weight and build from there.


• Warm up with some light cardio prior to lifting any weight. The fitness experts at Gold’s Gym note that some light warmup prior to a strength training workout increases range of motion, decreases injury risk and contributes to more permanent change in muscles. Keep warmup sessions to between five and 10 minutes, opting for anything from a low-intensity jog on a treadmill or session on an elliptical. After warming up, perform some stretches that target the muscles you’ll be focusing on during your workout. A trainer or online tutorial can be good sources of stretches to perform before working out a particular muscle group.


• Recognize the need for recovery. Rest and recovery is vital for any athlete, and that includes strength training beginners who are not yet lifting a lot of weight. Rest helps to build lean muscle tissue and prevents injuries. When planning a strength training regimen, ensure muscles get adequate rest by never working out the same muscle groups on consecutive days.


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