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  • Writer's pictureTim Fred-Jatto

The beginners guide to strength training

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Strength training is a fantastic way to improve your overall fitness, build muscle, boost your physical and mental well-being and manage injury. While it may seem intimidating at first, especially if you're new to the world of exercise, starting a strength training routine doesn't have to be complicated. This beginner's guide aims to provide you with essential information, tips, and guidelines to get you started on your strength training journey and a Freebie at the end of this blog to get you started!

1. Set Clear Goals:

Before diving into any fitness program, it's crucial to establish clear goals. Determine what you want to achieve through strength training. Whether it's increasing/maintaining strength, improving endurance, simply enhancing your overall fitness, maintaining/ building muscle mass or a combination of this. For beginners and even seasoned gym goers that I work with, I often recommend setting strength goals to begin with. This is because for you to achieve your strength goals, you will need to have and develop good mobility, balance, coordination, be able to move pain free and have healthy joints. Strength as a result helps you build and maintain a strong, healthy and resilient body.

2. Start with Basic Exercises:

Focus on mastering the fundamental exercises that target multiple muscle groups. Some excellent compound exercises for beginners include squats, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, bench presses, rows, and overhead presses. These movements engage multiple muscles simultaneously, including the largest muscles in the body such as the glutes, latissimus dorsi, quadriceps etc and a lot of the smaller stabilising muscles. As a result, they provide a solid foundation for strength maintenance and development and healthy joints.

3. Learn Proper Form:

Maintaining proper form during strength training exercises is crucial to getting the most out of each exercise and maximising results, this will also minimise your chances of injury. Take the time to learn and practise correct technique for each exercise. Start with lighter weights or even just your body weight until you feel comfortable with the movements.

4. Gradually Progress:

Progression is key in strength training. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the resistance as your muscles adapt and become stronger, this concept is known as progressive overload. It stimulates muscle growth and prevents plateauing. To do this well, you will need to keep a training journal to track your weights, sets, and repetitions you performed, allowing you to monitor progress and make adjustments to your routine as needed.

5. Prioritise Recovery:

Rest and recovery are essential components of any training program. Give your body enough time to recover between workouts to prevent overtraining and reduce the risk of injury. Aim for 48 to 72 hours of recovery time between sessions targeting the same muscle groups. Adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and hydration also play a vital role in supporting your body's recovery process.

6. Mix It Up:

To keep your workouts engaging and prevent boredom and also ensure that you are making progress, incorporate variety into your strength training routine. Include different exercises, try different training methods such as, circuit training supersets, or tempo training. This variety not only keeps things interesting but also challenges your muscles in different ways, allowing you to continue to make progress. The way I do this with those I work with is to run each training programme for 4 a week block. After, we substitute a few exercises for different variations of the same movements or completely new exercises depending on the goal for that 4-week training block.

7. Listen to Your Body:

Pay attention to how your body feels during and after each workout. It's normal to experience some muscle soreness, but sharp pain or discomfort could be a sign of injury. If something doesn't feel right, it is okay to stop and talk to a fitness professional to see where you might be going wrong.

8. Consult with a Professional:

If you're new to strength training, I highly recommend consulting with a fitness professional or a certified personal trainer. They can help you create a personalised training plan based on your goals, teach you proper form and technique, and ensure your sessions are safe and effective.

Embarking on a strength training journey as a beginner can feel overwhelming, but with the right approach and guidance, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Remember to set clear goals, learn proper form, progress gradually, prioritise recovery, and listen to your body. By following this beginner's guide, you'll be well on your way to improving your health and building a strong body for life!

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As promised here is also a FREE 4 weeks Beginner Strength Training Programme to get you started!

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