Top Tips for Beginner Weightlifters
April 21, 2021
April 21, 2021
The first time you step into a gym can be very intimidating and confusing. Free weights everywhere, Machines that look like death traps, and a lot of people with headphones in that obviously don’t want to be bothered.
Where do you start?
How do you do it safely?
How do you not look like a newbie?
These are questions that every person ponders when they first start weightlifting.
Looking back to when I first started lifting, I realize that there are a lot of things that make me shake my head at, and wonder to myself “What was I thinking!?”. Clearly, I wasn’t
I usually come to the same conclusion that I simply just didn’t know what I was doing. I made a lot of mistakes, and it makes me think of all the people that are starting out who may be making those same mistakes.
Below are my top tips for beginner weightlifters influenced by my mistakes as a beginner, and if I had a time machine, would go back and do differently.
Tip #1: Forget Everything You Think You Know
There are a lot of people in gyms who believe they have enough knowledge to do it for a living. Usually, they are wrong. Because of this, a lot of bad information tends to seep into peoples minds, and gets stuck there.
Over time it turns into concrete, and you find people all throughout gyms doing things they shouldn’t be. If you want to see changes in the gym, and become stronger and healthier, it’s sometimes best to forget everything you’ve been told, and seek advice from someone who has the knowledge and experience to help you reach your goals.
Always going into something new with an open mind is going to give you an advantage later on down the road. This is applicable to almost anything in life!
Tip #2: Learn the Basics and Progress Them Slowly
This has got to be the number one thing that keeps people from being consistent over a long period of time. If you are brand new to weightlifting, and are starting out with Barbell Back Squats, or Barbell Deadlifts like so many people do, then there is a massive problem here. While I am a huge advocate of the big barbell movements, they should only be performed after you’ve learned how to properly squat, hinge, and press.
There are great alternative exercises to all of the big barbell movements that will keep you safe, and lifting for a long time to come.
Below are just a few of my favorite moves to perfect before someone moves on to the barbells.
Back Squat: 4 Point Squat, Goblet Squat, Split Squats
Barbell Deadlift: Good Mornings, RDL, SL RDL
Barbell Bench Press: Push-Ups, Floor Press, Flat DB Press,
Tip #3: Forget about your Ego
This is a tough one for me personally, and really hits home. I was the biggest ego lifter out there. Each workout was about getting more and more weight on the bar.
After time, the extreme stress I was constantly putting my body under began taking its toll. This is because I was never giving my body the rest it required. As a result, all of my lifts started getting weaker and weaker, even though I was working harder and harder.
The human body is incredible at adapting to stress, but at a certain point it just can’t keep up. This is where intensity sometimes has to take a back seat in order to allow your body to recover properly. This is also when the risk of injury can be significantly higher than normal.
The term “deload” gets tossed around a lot in training circles, but most people are either unsure how to properly program one, or they just don’t understand the importance of them.
Deloads give your body a chance to recover from the constant stress that working out places on it. A common mistake made while deloading is going too far in the other direction, and putting your body under almost no stress. They should still have a certain level of toughness.
An example of a good deload could simply be doing less sets than normal. If you normally do 4 sets of Squats per workout, do only three on your deloads. What you don’t want to do is something like 60% of your one rep max for 3 sets of 3-5 reps. Generally, 60% of one rep max can be completed for 10-15 reps per set.
Although, it may seem like good idea, you’re mostly just wasting time. A deload should still be challenging but not to the degree your typical workouts are.
Tip #4: Ask for Advice
One thing I have found in gyms is that most people don’t mind helping out. Even the “gym bros” I mentioned earlier who always have headphones in, generally don’t mind answering questions. Most people would prefer a “newbie” ask for advice instead of just going with what they think they know, and getting hurt.
The training community is generally very accepting and willing to help. Be careful who you take advice from, though. Just because someone may have a good physique doesn’t mean they necessarily should be giving advice to others.
And on the flip side, I’ve met casual gym goers who have more knowledge than professional trainers. Find people you trust, and soak in all the knowledge you can.
There are many things I wish I could go back and do differently. Learning these lessons earlier on in life would be one of my first do overs if I were given the chance. I could’ve avoided injuries, frustration, and wasted time.
If you are just starting out in the gym, or have been working out for years, these top tips for beginner weightlifters will aid you for many more years of training to come.
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And, as always…
Small steps, BIG results!
Brandon started working out as an athlete in high school, striving to push his limits and reach his full athletic potential. As he spent more and more time working on his own goals, he found a passion in the science of strength & conditioning, and using that new-found knowledge to help others. Brandon is exceptional at giving his clients the extra push to get stronger in a safe manner, while going above and beyond to making sure they feel comfortable and safe.