How to Lift Weights

Four Parts:Lifting ProperlyWorking on Your ArmsWorking on Your LegsDeveloping a Routine

Developing a weightlifting routine and learning correct weightlifting technique is a great way to get in shape and take full advantage of what the gym has to offer. Keeping reading to learn how to get started pumping iron.

Part 1
Lifting Properly

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    Choose an appropriate amount of weight. When you're first getting started lifting, it's difficult to know how much weight to lift. You don't want to start with too much and max out after only a few reps, because multiple repetitions are the proper way to build muscle. Likewise, you don't want to lift weight that is too light for you. To choose the proper amount of weight will take some practice.
    • Figure out how many reps are appropriate for the routine you're working on. If you're doing bench presses, you'll want to do more than 3 or 4 reps to build muscle, so you'll need to find an amount of weight you'll be able to lift 10, 15, or 20 times before you experience muscle failure.
    • Muscle failure is the point at which you physically cannot perform another unaided rep. The more you lift, the more familiar you'll become with your muscle failure point, and the more you'll be able to push it.
    • Ideally, muscle failure will occur immediately following your last intended rep. Choose the heaviest weight that you can lift for the intended number of reps.
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    Lift slowly and steadily. Getting a workout done quickly isn't the best way to maximize the good effects of lifting. Don't rush your way through your lifts, which risks injury and ends up being a waste of time. Doing fewer reps slowly and properly is better than maxing out on super-heavy lifts and getting done in record time.
    • For a good workout, set aside at least an hour. Don't work out more than a few hours, and try to work out for a solid thirty minutes to ensure a healthy routine.
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    Make sure you haven't eaten 50 minutes before you start exercising, or you might end up with cramps.
    • Do make sure you aren't exercising on an empty stomach either, or you won't have the energy to preform the exercises. Have a meal 1 to 2 hours prior to exercising, and just a little snack of fruit 15 minutes before you start if you are hungry again.
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    Do a warm up routine before you start exercising. This will get more oxygen in your bloodstream and to your muscles. It also prevent -or at least reduce- muscle soreness after your workout.
    • A typical warm up would be to do is 5 push ups and 5 sit ups. After you do both, rest for 30 seconds. Then 10 of each, rest 30 seconds again. 20 of each, rest. Then work back down to the 10 and 5. After that, stretch your torso and do squats and stretch those muscles again.
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    After your workout, do a cool down routine. This could be just stretching, or the same like your warming up. The goal is to gradually lower your heart rate again and prepare your body for a rest.

Part 2
Working on Your Arms

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    Work on your bench press. The bench press is probably the most popular work out move, and it involves lifting weight straight up from your chest while laying on your back, usually on a weightlifting bench. It's a smart idea to use a spotter to help you rack and unrack the weight, especially if you're new to lifting and haven't gotten a good sense of how much you can lift yet.[1]
    • Grab the bar firmly, shoulder width apart. You need to hold the bar quite tightly to create tension and flex in your biceps, shoulders, and torso muscles. Take a deep breath, driving your chest upwards and pulling your shoulder blades back and down into the bench.
    • Plant your feet and drive them downward as you unrack the weight. Move the bar directly over your chest and keep your muscles tight.
    • Without dropping it, lower the weight in as straight a line as possible, slowly and evenly, until it reaches your chest. Without allowing your chest to collapse or losing any tension, push up with your legs and arms, driving the bar to its "up" position.
    • Start with an amount of weight you can easily lift to practice developing your form. Always use a spotter, especially in the beginning as you're just getting started.
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    Do dumbbell presses. Dumbbell presses involve a similar technique to the bench press, but involve lifting a single dumbbell in each hand, rather than lifting one weight with both hands together.
    • Take a dumbbell of an appropriate weight in each hand and lift them straight up from your chest in a reclined position. Lower them slowly and steadily until each dumbbell touches your chest between your shoulder and nipple. Bring them back up until they touch again, straight up above you.
    • For a different but similar work out, do some chest curls by keeping your arms perfectly straight and lowering them out to your sides. The dumbbell press is more like a push-up while the curl is more like you're flapping your wings.
    • To work a slightly different muscle group, also consider doing both bench and dumbbell presses on an inclined bench. The technique will be basically the same, but you'll lift at a different angle to your body to make the bar or bells go straight up, which will work different muscles.
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    Work on your bicep curls. To build your biceps, do curls from a standing or seated position. With an appropriate amount of weight, let the dumbbell hand down at your side, one in each hand and bring it up to your chest by flexing your bicep.
    • The dumbbell should be parallel to your side. To bring it up to your chest, rotate the dumbbell so your palm faces your chest as you lift it.
    • You can either alternate arms or you can do several reps with each arm before switching.
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    Do dumbbell rows. Dumbbell rows are a smart exercise to round out your arm workout, lifting dumbbells with each arm up from the ground toward your chest in a kneeling position. Work one arm at a time.
    • Get onto your hands and knees, either on the ground or kneeling on a weight bench.
    • Take a dumbbell of appropriate weight in your hand and lift it from the ground up to your chest before lowering it to complete the rep. Switch sides.

Part 3
Working on Your Legs

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    Do some squats. Most gyms will have squat stations available for you to work out your quadriceps, the large muscle group in your legs. This is another exercise that's important to have a spotter on hand for, especially when you're first starting out. Using the same kind of free weight involved in the bench press, take the weight onto your shoulders in a standing position.
    • While the weight is still racked, put your hands in the same positioning as you would for a bench press, and duck under it, putting the bar across your shoulders and behind your head.
    • Lift the weight from off the rack and take a steady step backward. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your head forward. It's important to keep your back very straight during this exercise or you can risk straining it.
    • To perform the squat, bend your knees and hips, taking your thighs parallel to the ground. Pause for a second before pushing yourself back up into a standing position.
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    Step up. Using a similar technique to the squat, take the bar on your back, in front of a box, sturdy bench, or a raised platform.[2]
    • With your feet hip-width apart, raise one knee up and plant your foot down onto the box. Your thigh should be parallel to the floor. Step up and bring your other foot onto the box or the raised surface.
    • Reverse the motion by bending your leading knee and and hip and carefully stepping back with your leg.
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    Lunge with dumbbells. Doing a basic lunge exercise while holding dumbbells as if you were about to do a bicep curl can be a great exercise for your whole leg. Keep your back straight, your torso flexed, and your head and feet forward to do a lunge with the proper form.
    • To perform the lunge, step forward with one foot, heel first.
    • Lower yourself slowly, until your trailing knee touches the floor.
    • Push back with your lead foot and straighten your legs. Stand up straight to complete the rep. Do the same number of reps on both sides.

Part 4
Developing a Routine

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    Highlight the groups of muscles you'd like to work out. Try to make a routine that you will be able to follow, and that you'll be excited to work on. For example, you might structure your week this way:
    • Monday: Concentrate on Biceps.
    • Tuesday: Concentrate on Legs and Back.
    • Wednesday: Concentrate on Triceps.
    • Thursday: Concentrate on Abs.
    • Friday: Concentrate on entire torso.
    • Saturday: Rest.
    • Sunday: Rest.
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    Add weight progressively. After about a week of lifting, you will notice that it has become easier to do the same exercises with the same weights. Continue with these exercises and weights until the end of the week, making sure you are doing it with the right form. After this week, add some weights to what you were already using. It shouldn't bee too much, just enough to make it just as tough as your first week.
    • You will want to use weights which are still comfortable to use, but heavy enough to 'only' let you do 15-20 reps.
    • You use the same weights for a total of two weeks, doing the same exercises.
    • Add some more weights, and use these for the next two weeks, doing the same exercises.
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    Do pyramid sets. Get the weight heavy enough to do a maximum of 15-20 reps. Then, do pyramid sets with the weights, doing a set of 5, then 1 set of 10, 1 set of 15, before working your way down again. Rest between your sets for 30 seconds to a minute.
    • After the minute of rest between sets, do another pyramid set that trains the same muscle groups with the same amount of reps and rest. After these three sets, move on to another muscle group.
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    After you are completely done, take a hot shower and/or bath. It really has to be hot, but still within your comfort zone. This will help you relax and will also make your arteries in and around your muscles expand, which allows oxygen to flow in more easily and let the acids that developed in your muscles flow out easier.

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Categories: Building Muscle & Strength | Weights for Strength Training