Beginner's Guide to Weight Training

Who would have thought a set of dumbbells and a training mat is all you need to start losing weight and gaining muscle?

Of course, you can go the whole nine yards and buy a set of gloves, a weight-lifting belt and a bar bell with a full set of weight disks, but it really is not necessary in order to set you off on the path to burning that excess fat and adding that all-important muscle.


As a beginner the most important thing to grasp is how often to exercise and how much weight to lift. For the first six weeks your body will be getting used to regular exercise before the real hard work starts! Make sure you have at least a full day of rest between each workout and pick a program that works all muscle groups. Take 5 to 10 minutes of light cardio work to warm up before you start each session.
The aim is to complete one or two sets of between 8 and 16 repetitions for each muscle group and to increase the weight and reduce the reps when you feel comfortable. Never go above 16 reps, it is far more effective to increase the weight and reduce the amount of reps.

It is best to choose one or two exercises for each muscle group in the upper body and three or four moves per muscle group in the lower body. The upper part of the body muscles are split up in to chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps and abdominal muscles. The lower body is any leg muscle including the gluteus maximus. Exercises for the lower body should consist of squats, lunges, dead lifts and calf raises. If you have access to machine weights a leg press machine is perfect for working most of the lower body.


The upper body is a bit more complex as there are many more muscle groups. For your chest you could try a combination of bench presses and push-ups. Similar to a bench press you could try overhead presses to work the shoulders. Mix this with sets of lateral raises or front raises.
For the biceps there is nothing better than the good old curl. Use dumbbells for standard curls and when you feel confident try hammer curls. To work the triceps effectively dips, tricep extensions and kickbacks are where to start. Abdominal crunches, reverse crunches, oblique twists and pelvic tilts are all fantastic for working the stomach muscles.

If your aim is to lose body fat and build muscle you should use enough weight so you can only do between 10 and 12 reps and 1 to 3 sets. You will need to rest for between 30 seconds and one minute between sets. If you are looking to gain muscle aim for 4 to 8 reps and at least 3 sets with a rest of 1-2 minutes between each set. This training is quite intense so you will need to start with some lighter training for a few weeks before attempting a muscle building regimen.


You will need to rest for two to three days between sessions to allow enough time for your muscles to recover. If endurance is what you are looking to achieve use enough weight so you can do 12-16 reps and 1-3 sets resting for 20 -30 seconds between sets.

So why wait? Weight-training is a cost effective way to start burning fat and gaining muscle and you will notice a difference within just a few weeks.