If you know me, you know that I love to lift weights. It is my favourite form of training and the one which gives me the best results. Not only does it make you get fitter and stronger and feel like a badass, but it has a multitude of health benefits including increased bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis. Plus it enables you to build up muscle tissue and as a result sculpt your body! If you're new to this approach, I thought I would share my top five weight lifting tips for beginners:
- Focus on form. Form means how you execute the exercise and it is the most important thing when it comes to resistance training. Using correct form ensures that you will not only be targeting the right muscles and getting a more effective workout, but you will significantly reduce the risk of injury too. If you're ever unsure about how to perform an exercise, ask a trainer at your gym who will be happy to help.
- Lift heavy. Gone are the days of light weights and high reps – if you want to build lean muscle you need to challenge yourself ladies! I promise you, you are so much stronger than you ever imagined. Use weights which really push you out of your comfort zone, all while maintaining that essential good form. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Every single session is a new opportunity to get stronger and fitter!
- Train your whole body. You might think its a good idea to just train the specific area you really want to target but in reality it can lead to muscular imbalances and injuries. Have you ever seen those guys in the gym who just train chest and neglect their back, and as a result have poor posture? Let's try to avoid that! Instead, ensure you work every muscle group to develop a balanced physique.
- Be consistent. Lifting weights has the power to completely transform your body – but only if you stick with it. Resistance training once a month isn’t going to cut it. Try to do it once or twice a week at first and then go from there. Once you see the results, you will be hooked!
- Look after yourself. Warm up, cool down, stretch and foam roll appropriately to release tension and reduce the risk of injury. Lifting weights causes micro-tears in your muscles and as they repair, they grow stronger – take rest days to facilitate this. Listen to your body – if you're too sore or too tired, give yourself some time off. If you ever feel any sharp pains, persistent niggles or constant aches, stop what you're doing and go and see a health professional. Injuries aren’t fun.
If you have any top tips for girls who are starting to lift weights then leave them in the comments below! A full comprehensive guide to lifting weights and designing your own workout program will be in my book which you can pre-order here! (Nudge nudge, wink wink).