Kinda terrifying right? I’m with you on that one. When everyone else in there seems to know what they’re doing and you haven’t got a clue how or what you should be lifting. It can be an intimidating aspect of the gym and yet one of the most rewarding.
I started with the very basics and only since I’ve started training with people who have more experience, have I really raised my game and started lifting what I am actually capable of.
First things first, there is so much information online. Tonnes of it. In a way that’s good and in a way it’s bad. One of the best places for videos on workouts and form and the ones I use are:
This site has really good information on weight training, including pictures and videos and is a great place to get started.
I really like this account on Instagram, she does cool and simple videos that you can watch and replicate yourself. Always a good mix of moves you’ll know with weights on top.
To give you a feel for how I started on free weights (dumbbells/kettlebells) I started on 4kg/6kg and for most arm work I started on 3kg. That gave me an idea of what I could and what I found easy and hard. Once I sussed that out I started increasing. I always went for 3 sets of 8/10 or 12 depending on what I was doing.
For squatting I started with a fixed weight barbell (if you want a basic rundown on the names so you know what’s what in the weights section go here: http://www.ironworkout.com/gym_equipment/)
I was on 10kg to begin with, this meant I had time to really focus on my form before I upped the weight. Once I was confident with that I moved on to the Smith Machine and Squat Racks.
Both have good and bad points but for me I’d opt for the Squat rack so that you can get your body in the right position for you to squat, because the bar is on runners on the Smith Machine your movement is somewhat restricted. The good side of the Smith Machine is you can go to the point of failure and drop the weight, the frame keeps it in place. You’ll need a reliable person to spot you if you’re intending to push yourself this far on the rack.
Top Tips for Weights
1. Watch people, I do it all the time and pick up on loads of different moves I then try out myself.
2. Don’t go into the weight section without knowing what you’re planning to do. Its intimidating enough going in there with the grunting and the selfies (I'm being overly stereotypical I know), if you know what weights you’re going for, your reps and the moves then you’re more likely to stick it out. When you have a plan you won’t want to bail out before you’re done.
3. Always put your weights back, there are no words to express how annoying it is when weights are abandoned everywhere. Especially if you’re in a small gym like mine.
4. Use the benches, not for a quick 5 minute rest to scroll through Instagram but incorporate them into your workout. There are loads of great moves you can use – YouTube it!
5. Mess up, lots. I did and still do. That’s the whole point of learning something new and all the people looking like pro’s… they all started where you did. Remember that and try not to worry so much about it.