How to Start Weight Training: Key Components of an Effective Routine
Wondering how to start weight training? you’re not alone. With so many Coloradans stuck at home, many of our gym members are developing workout routines at home. The amount of information and the options available in the world of weight training can seem overwhelming. A good place to start is by understanding the definition of weight training. Weight training is a type of strength training that uses weights for resistance. A weight training routine stresses muscles in a way that makes them get stronger, similar to the way that aerobic conditioning strengthens the heart muscles.
One of the core tenets of CrossFit is weight training. CrossFit targets the explosive and fast twitch muscle fibers in your body, while also testing your mental strength. CrossFit has a general goal of achieving overall fitness using weight training exercises and increasing the number of repetitions you do in a short period of time. At DTC CrossFit, we provide classes for all levels of experience and supportive coaches to guide you through your CrossFit journey. Once you’ve mastered these routines, you can start training for Denver CrossFit competitions.
It’s important to acknowledge that even if you’re stuck at home with “shelter in place” restrictions, social distancing, or self-quarantining, it doesn’t mean you can’t start weight training. In fact, this might be the ideal time to do more research on how to start weight training and begin learning some foundational best practices, exercises, and routines that can help you reach your goals. If you’re looking for a friendly place to learn more about how to start weight training, DTC CrossFit has some excellent blog resources.
Now, if you’ve asked yourself, what are the components of an effective weight training program? We’ve got you covered.
Components of an Effective Weight Training Program
- Assess Your Health Goals
- Leverage Your Own Bodyweight
- Start with the Right Amount of Weight and Maintain Form
- Rest and Refuel with Water and Protein
- Build a Routine
How to Start Weight Training
1. Assess Your Health Goals
In order to reach your health goals, you have to start by identifying them. Whether you’re interested in starting to weight train to improve muscle tone or lose weight, it is a good idea to make a health plan. If your doctor has recommended weight training as a solution to a health issue, it might be best to consult them about which elements of weight training meets your needs. Of course, if you’re looking for more information about all of the health benefits of weight training, a coach at DTC CrossFit will be there to help you.
In general, the health benefits of weight training are endless. One of the primary benefits to your health is that weight training helps you build lean muscle, which helps you burn calories even when the body is resting. This is important whether your goal is to lose or maintain weight. It also helps strengthen joints and bones, which improves your muscular endurance and keeps you strong to avoid injuries.
2. Leverage Your Own Bodyweight
If you’re ready to start building your routine, but you’re still wondering how to start weight training, just know that you don’t need to own weights or belong to a CrossFit gym immediately. You can start by using your own bodyweight to create resistance for your muscles. Bodyweight workouts are an easy and effective way to make huge gains in strength, flexibility, and overall health. Just a few minutes of bodyweight training can have a major impact on the body’s metabolism allowing you to burn fat quickly. Even better–you can do them just about anywhere and you don’t need any equipment.
A foundational CrossFit exercise that utilizes just your bodyweight is the “plank.” Holding your body in a plank position develops strength primarily in your core, as well as your shoulders, arms, and glutes. If you want to know how to start weight training using just your bodyweight in plank, just follow these directions. This is also a great weight training exercise you can do from home.
- Plant your hands directly under your shoulders, slightly wider than shoulder width like you’re about to do a push-up.
- Then ground your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body.
- Neutralize your neck and spin looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Hold this position for about 20 seconds. The stronger your plank position gets, the longer you can hold.
3. Start with the Right Amount of Weight and Maintain Form
While weight training can be an effective way of meeting your health goals, it can also cause injuries if not done correctly. So, what are the components of an effective weight training program that will help keep you safe? One of most important things to remember when you’re figuring out how to start weight training is not to use too much weight or train beyond your capacity.
There are some people who feel embarrassed by starting with less weight when they’re just beginning to weight train. However, taking on too much weight when you first start could injure your muscles. Start with a weight that feels heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy that you sacrifice your form. There’s no shame in starting with lighter weights and working your way up as you become stronger.
Another common mistake is moving too fast through repetitions without maintaining proper form. It is important to remember not to arch your back, strain your neck or rock your body to generate momentum while you are weight training. Not only do these movements make your exercises less effective, but they can cause injury that will hurt not just your body, but your ability to meet your health goals. Different weight training exercises require different techniques and maneuvers. One of the benefits of starting to build your routine at CrossFit DTC is that we can help teach proper weight training form and posture.
4. Rest and Refuel with Water and Protein
What are the components of an effective weight training program? When you’re just starting out, this is a common question to ask. Just know that one of these essential components of weight training is to give your body rest between workouts. This could mean starting with just two to three days a week. When you’re just starting to work your muscles through weight training, it is essential that you give your body time to repair.
While it should be expected that your muscles will feel achy or sore the next day after weight training, you don’t want to overdo it. If you train too intensely, you can cause microscopic damage to your muscle tissue. Giving yourself rest days in between workouts gives your muscle fibers a chance to repair and build back stronger.
Just as important as giving yourself time to heal is refueling with water, carbs, and protein. After a good weight training session, you should drink a lot of water and choose a post-workout snack that helps meet your health goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, keep calories in mind when choosing how you refuel your body. Typically, about 10 to 20 grams of protein after a weight training session can help build and repair your muscles. This means eating a piece of chicken or protein bar might be a good option after a tough sweat session.
5. Build a Routine
Once you are feeling prepared with some of the basic information about weight training, it is time to build your routine. It is important to start with a proper warm-up which will increase your range of motion and prep your muscles for exertion. You can do this by using a foam roller to wake your muscles up and loosen tight muscles. If you don’t have a foam roller, you can do some simple stretches like touching your toes and reaching your arms over your head to stretch out your sides.
Another important part of building your routine is to pair upper-body moves with lower-body moves. In many ways, these kinds of full-body workouts will not only get you in the right headspace to start a CrossFit routine, but they maximize the amount of calories burned and the muscles used in each session. For example, squats and push-ups or walking lunges and lat pulldowns are both full-body workouts. If you want more information on how to do squats or lunges, contact us at CrossFit DTC to speak to one of our coaches.
More Workouts at DTC CrossFit
If you feel more confident about how to start weight training, it might be time to put your knowledge to the test. When you are ready to join DTC CrossFit, you’ll be able to take advantage of our beginner’s program–CrossFit 101. In the CrossFit 101 program, we slow down our usual pace and our coaches guide you through the basic movements and get you familiarized with proper form and technique. Your CrossFit coaches are also here to answer all of your questions, including “what are the components of an effective weight training program?” Learn more in our latest post, The History of CrossFit.
While Covid-19-related restrictions had limited our ability to conduct classes, the DTC gym is open again at time of posting this article; you can continue to refer to our social profiles as a resource to stay up to date on gym hours and changes. You can also keep in touch by following us on Facebook and Instagram. Once the social distancing is lifted, you’ll have all of the insight and at-home experience needed to excel in our classes at DTC CrossFit.