If you are looking to get into weight lifting, perhaps to build strength and tone, or to bulk up muscle, you might be unsure of where exactly to start. It can be quite overwhelming to look at the different weights available whilst trying to figure out what is right for you and your needs, so here is a quick guide. You can also find a lot of great information in various places. One great place to go for fitness tips is Strength To Go. Whether you’re an athlete or someone who is trying to get into better shape, they have everything for you.
Type of weights
The first thing you will want to consider is the different types of weights. If you head over to blkboxfitness.com you can see a wide range of lifting bars and weights to go with them, that you can use at home or in the gym. Dumbbells and kettle bells are fantastic for developing strength and core power and generally working on your cardiovascular fitness. They can help sculpt your muscles, and because they are so small and versatile, they are ideal for working out at home.
Also in the free-weight family are bars and weight plates. Weight plates come in varying sizes and, of course, weights, to allow you to build up what works for you. There are also different types of bars including an Olympic bar (durable and able to hold a lot of weight – see the link above), curl bar (for working your biceps and triceps), power bar (for power lifting as much weight as possible) and a hex or trap bar (ideal for anyone with back issues).
This is not to mention various machines you’ll find in your gym, such as the seated leg press, lateral pull down and the chest press. Each has its own benefits and the weight is adjustable for each machine to make it work for you.
The type of weight you use will change the amount of weight you can handle.
A basic rule of thumb is that you should struggle on the last few reps, but still be able to keep your form. The idea is that you have to really push yourself towards the last few reps, but not to the point that you compensate by using other muscles, causing injury. If you find it too easy, or feel that you could carry on with a few more reps at the end, you have chosen a weight that is too light for you.
Different parts of your body
It should go without saying but different muscle groups are likely to need a different weight to work. Don’t be disappointed if, while working the back of your shoulders you find yourself needing a much lighter weight – after all, it’s a smaller muscle group that tends to be used less and is therefore weaker.
Whatever weight you are using, form is vital to avoid injuries. It’s better to go down a few kg but keep your form looking perfect, than overstretch yourself too far and end up compromising your form and then having to take a few weeks out due to an injury. Remember, it’s not a competition and it’s all about choosing the right weights for you.