There are some terms that may not be obvious to someone who is a beginner to weight lifting. Reps – short for “Repetitions”, this simply means the number of times you perform an exercise Sets – this is a certain amount or reps. For example an exercise routine may ask for 2 Sets where each set is made up of 10 reps, so in total you do 20 reps.
2) Strength or Endurance?
There is a clear distinction between muscle strength and muscle endurance. Different sports require different approach to training. In a sport like American Football, an athlete would benefit more from muscle strength because of all the physical contact. However if you prefer Soccer for example, you don’t need as much muscle strength as you need endurance. So how do I focus on one or the other you are wondering? Well that’s easy! There is a simple formula for that: Heavy weights with minimal reps = muscle strength Lighter weights with maximum reps = muscle endurance
3) How much weight?
If you are training for muscle strength, use as much weight as comfortable for 8 reps. The last rep should be challenging to lift. If you are training for muscle endurance, use as much weight as comfortable for 35-40 reps. The last rep should be challenging to lift. Obviously you will need to experiment a little before you get the correct weight for yourself. Over time you will progress and find that you can now do more reps with the same weight. In this case congratulate yourself on the improvement and increase the weight!
4) How Often?
This is a smart question! Do not over-do it. When you start seeing results it will be very tempting to push yourself harder. However this will only lead to injury. The optimal schedule should be weight training every other day. This will give you a day of rest. So either: Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. On your “rest” days, try to get some cardiovascular exercise such as running, biking, swimming, etc…
5) How to Lift
Remember to STRETCH before exercising and if you so desire after. When lifting weights, do not hold your breath. Inhale at the beginning of your motion, then exhale at the end. Refer to the pictures on how to do the exercises. If something doesn’t feel right(i.e.: you are not working out the muscle you are suppose to) then it’s probably because you are not in the right position. In this case readjust yourself until you feel that particular muscle is being worked on.