Strength Training for Newbies
A Strong Body is a Healthy Body. So let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to get started with Strength Training.
The first thing we need to figure out is what kind of strength training you want to be doing. This will primarily depend on what equipment you have available and what your goals are. Let’s go over the options before providing you with some programs to follow:
The first option is bodyweight training. With bodyweight training you need minimal equipment (or none at all), and you can train from anywhere.
It doesn’t matter if you’re at home, in a hotel, at a playground, in your office at work, or traveling around the world, as long as you have enough space to move around, you can get your workout done (and fit it into a busy schedule).
If you’re bodyweight training, grab a pull-up bar or a set of gymnastics rings (these can help you make exercises both easier and harder depending on your level).
If you’re just starting out, an exercise band to help assist you with movements such as pull ups or dips. However – none of these are necessary, you can easily do bodyweight training without any equipment at all.
The downside to bodyweight exercises is that you will need to consistently modify the exercise’s difficulty in order to ensure you are leveling up and progressing.
Dumbbells are a great way to start out with weighted strength training for a few reasons. First, most gyms will have a good set dumbbells, even if it’s a basic gym in your apartment complex.
If you want to train at home, you can get a set of adjustable dumbbells that don’t take up a ton of space. Second, dumbbells make it easy to add a small amount of weight to a movement, and dumbbell exercises can seem less intimidating than barbell training.
On top of that, starting with a 45 lb barbell might be too much weight at first. Dumbbells also have an added stabilization challenge, and point out muscle imbalances pretty easily.
If you can’t finish a rep, it’s much easier to drop a dumbbell than it is to drop a barbell. As a newbie learning the movements, this might be helpful.
The biggest downside about dumbbells? You may outgrow whatever set you purchase fairly quickly, and heavy dumbbells can get costly.
A gym membership with dumbbells that go up to (or over) 100 lbs should help solve this problem.
The barbell workout is my personal favorite. If your goal is strength above all else, this is the option that we recommend.
Barbells allow you to progress clearly and quickly, allowing you to add small increments of weight each week. Because a barbell is incredibly stable (using two hands instead of just one with a dumbbell), it’s also much easier to go heavy – especially for lower body movements like the squat and the deadlift.
For exercises like the squat or the press, you can use racks to safely load and deload heavy weights.
The biggest downside to barbell training is that in order to do it at home, you need to have a squat rack, a barbell, a bench, and enough weight in your house or garage (which is not an inexpensive investment when you’re starting out).
If not, you definitely will be needing a Gym Membership. So what is the best form of strength training? Realistically, it’s the one that you will actually do.
Barbell training may be optimal in terms of strength, but if you don’t see yourself actually driving to the gym three days a week, choose a different plan.
Likewise, bodyweight training might seem convenient, but if you don’t actually motivate yourself to workout at home, you might have been better off with a different option.
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