Good for you! Honestly. Deciding to being strength training is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has given me the confidence, capability and drive I believe every woman should have.
Lifting weights is my outlet, my pride and my sense of belonging. I get incredibly excited when I hear someone wants to begin strength training, which is why I am here to help you design the perfect program to get started.
Beginning Strength Training: The Next Steps
1. Decide how often you will train
Choose an attainable number of days. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out!
For example, if you haven’t participated in any physical activity in a while, start with 2x a week a few days apart for each other.
If you are already active but want to incorporate strength training, start tapering off your current regiment and adding about 3 day a week of strength training.
In either situation, let yourself adjust to the amount you begin with, let it become a habit, then add more days as you see fit. Don’t forget, rest days are important too!
2. Choose which exercises to master first
Choose basic exercises to master first, then go ahead and add variations/weight increases. Here are some good exercises to begin with.
Elevated Split Squat
Single Leg Deadlift
Seated Dumbbell Press
3 Point Dumbbell Rows
3. How to structure your workouts
Reps are how many times you perform the movement. Sets are how many times you repeat that.
It’s very important to perform higher reps when you’re just beginning (12-15). This will get your muscles and joints safely accustomed to the movements and reduce chance of injury and improper wear and tear on the body.
Although you will be engaging in higher reps, you still need to be choosing weights that are difficult to get the reps with without your form suffering. This will take some trial and error! Leave room for that.
I recommend 2-4 sets of each exercise depending on your previous level of activity (2 for non active, 4 for active).
4. Figure out which workout style you like
Straight sets, super sets, circuits? There are many ways you can program your exercises.
Straight sets are completing all reps and sets of one exercise before moving on to the other.
Here’s an example workout with all straight sets. In this workout you would finish all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next exercise:
Walking Lunge 4×12
Goblet Squat 4×15
Glute Bridge 4×12
Elevated Split Squat 4×12
Single Leg Deadlift 4×12
Super sets are performing one exercise, going right into another exercise, resting then repeating that for the amount of sets you choose.
For this workout, you would do a superset with 1-2 minutes rest between the two exercises four times through before moving on to the next super set:
Superset 1 – complete 4 times
Lateral Raise – 15 reps
Seated Dumbbell Press – 12 reps
Superset 2 x4
Push Ups – 15 reps
3 Point Dumbbell Rows – 12 reps per arm
Superset 3 x4
Bench Dips – 15 reps
Bicep Curls – 12 reps
Circuits are doing all the exercises you choose right in a row, resting then repeating that for the amount of sets you choose.
Plank 30 sec
Leg Lift 15
Bicycles 30 total
V Ups 12
Dead Bugs 30 total
Straight sets are the most moderate intensity, supersets are higher intensity and circuits are the most advanced intensity. Again, choose based on your current level of exercise endurance.
Rest periods should be 60-120 seconds for any of these variations.
6. Should you split up workouts based on body parts?
Dedicating days to specific body parts? This depends on how you want to distribute your soreness, develop certain areas.
If you enjoy the feeling of being sore all over and want to focus more on endurance, choose a few exercises from each category for each time you lift.
If you really want to zero in on developing certain areas, give those body parts their own day.
Remember** Spot reduction is a myth. Losing fat is a result of being in a caloric deficit and where you genetically store more fat. You CAN develop areas so they show more when you do lose fat.
Consider hiring a personal trainer
Hire a personal trainer. Just four sessions with a trainer to learn proper movement will benefit you long term by setting you up for a safe and productive journey of lifting weights.
The cost of those sessions will pay off forever. Plus, you can always do a session here and there if you need new ideas or help progressing!
If you choose this option, which I highly recommend, make sure you do your research! Every trainer has their niche, find one that will seem to fit your specific needs and ask them tons questions before you purchase a session.
Also, talk to other people who have worked with this trainer to hear what they have to say. Although there are many GREAT trainers out there, unfortunately there are some that are in it for the wrong reasons.
Do your research and don’t be scared to ask questions! The trainer you chose should make you feel comfortable, excited and empowered.
8. Have confidence
Check out 6 Things I Knew When I Began Strength Training to see more.
The best thing you can do is let go of any fears you have because they serve no purpose. Let yourself make mistakes and learn from them. That’s the beauty of strength training, there is always room to learn and progress more, always.
If you have any questions at all feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to help in any way I can.