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How to Start an Exercise Program


How to get started in weight training

I would suggest for starters, doing a circuit training program on machine weights that include the chest press (pecs), lat pull downs (lats), biceps curls (biceps), tricep pushdowns (triceps), lateral raises (delts), seated rows (traps/rhomboids), military press (delts), leg press (whole leg), leg extension (quads) and leg curl (hams).

Have a certified trainer or gym employee show you the proper techniques for each machine... and proper range of motion (ROM). This is very important! Form is the most important element in training... Don't rely on watching others to copy them... it is my experience that 90% of gym goers do the wrong thing... seriously....

Then, start by doing one set of each for 12-15 reps for the first week, and no more than 2-3 times per week with a day of rest minimum between each workout. On those days, do 15-20 minutes of cardio as well using the HIIT method for cardio (High Intensity Interval Training).

Anne Via Working on Her Arm After a week or so, up it to 2 sets with a minute rest between sets, then 3 sets for each exercise. The most important thing to remember is this: always go heavy enough that on the last few reps of each set, you are struggling to get those weights up... it should be hard, and maybe you might not get to the last reps on later sets... e.g. the first set, you may get 10 reps, the second set only 9 and the last set maybe 7 or 8... that is okay... just do the most you can lift. If you find that you get 15 easy from it, make a notation on the next set to increase your weights on that exercise. Keep a journal everyday of what you lift and how many/how much... and if it needs to go up or down in weight based on RPE (rate of perceived exertion)... never be afraid to go heavy.... YOU WILL NOT BULK UP...

Let me explain.... the bulking up that most women THINK they get is NOT muscle growth... it is extra blood pumping into the muscles, making them seem fuller and bigger... but it is not an increase in muscle mass.... it will go away within a few weeks of stopping lifting... which, again, is why when girls take a break from training, they think they are losing muscle tone, but they really aren't... what they are losing is the muscle pump that they had when they were training and more blood was flowing through their muscles... it will fill up again as they begin training again... but true muscle growth takes a long time for women and never ever happens by accident... believe me, I know... I try work very hard to add bulk... ! (in fact, for all my heavy training, my thighs shrunk an inch!! I didn't want that!)

After you are comfortable with the machines, I would say after 4-6 weeks, you want to give free weights and cables a try. They are much better for a good overall workout because they are much harder to control than machines, which stabilize and balance the weight for you. So, by switching to free weights and cables, you get more of a workout for your core and abs…

Anne Via Working on Her Arms and Legs

As you add more variety into your workout, more auxillary muscles will get worked out while training other body parts. For instance, NOTHING trains my abs better or harder than a good chest workout. I do incline chest press, flat dumbbell presses, overhead chest presses, cable flyes, etc. and the next day, my abs are sore. This is because my body needs to stabilize itself so that I can isolate the chest, mostly the core is responsible for doing that, and in return, core muscles, as well as leg muscles, step in and get a workout in isometric type exercises (where no lengthening or shortening of the muscle takes place during contraction)... but I assure you it is a very good workout...

The important thing is to keep changing your workout... the order of it, the amount of sets and reps, and the amount of weights... these are all variables that can be changed to keep your body guessing, and in turn, improving...

Anyway, this is a broad overview, but hopefully gets you some understanding of where to begin.