5 essential tips for beginner lifters

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Ready to add weight training to your fitness routine but don't know how? Forget the "burn-baby-burn" approach used by experienced (and mammoth) body builders. These five essential tips will get you started the right way.
  • Start light. As a beginner, you must start with light weights. It may be only 1 or 2.5 lbs - whatever works for you.
  • Build up. When performing 12 repetitions of the same motion (that's called one "set" of 12 "reps") becomes too easy, then it's time to add weight.
  • Work each muscle group. Work each muscle group (arms, shoulders, abdomen, chest, back and legs) with only one or two sets.
  • Warm up. Don't forget to warm up beforehand with five to ten minutes of stretching or light aerobic activity like walking.
  • Take regular breaks. A good routine only takes 20-30 minutes a few times a week. In fact, resting between weight-training workouts is essential in order to allow your muscles time to recover.

Of course, you'll also want to ensure you're using correct form so read up on the subject, rent a DVD or, if you have a gym membership, ask a trainer.


  • Mayo Clinic - Weight training: Improve your muscular fitness: website
  • Mayo Clinic - Strength training: Get stronger, leaner and healthier: website
  • Weight Training for Dummies, by Liz Neporent, Suzanne Schlosberg and Shirley J. Archer

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