Weight Training for Beginners: How to Get Started
No matter what your age, fitness experience, or fitness goals are, incorporating weight training into your exercise routine can be really beneficial for your health and wellbeing.
At first, lifting weights may feel intimidating but don't worry - this feeling is normal. This guide is here to help you understand the fundamentals of lifting weights, so you can feel more confident when you step in the gym.
Starting something new can take you out of your comfort zone, but acknowledging these feelings and knowing that they’re only temporary can help put you in a positive mindset from the get-go. Everyone in the gym was once a beginner, so while you may not be completely confident at the start, with practice you will definitely get better!
Benefits of Weight Training
So why should we weight train? Weight training can provide a whole host of benefits, from physical health benefits, such as improved strength and building muscle, to mental health benefits like improved mood and reduced anxiety. And these are just a few to name. Find out more on the many amazing benefits of weight training here .It doesn't only improve how we function in the gym, but in our day to day life too, which is why it's so highly recommended for our wellbeing. The NHS recommends two or more muscle-strengthening exercises a week which focus on all muscle groups, and weight training in the gym can be a great way to meet these recommendations.
How to get started with lifting with weights
If it's your first time lifting weights, the thought of going to a fixed-resistance machine or the free weights area to complete a workout may feel a bit daunting. But rest-assured, once you familiarise yourself with the gym, the equipment and practicing performing weighted exercises, you'll soon wonder why you were so nervous in the first place.
The first step we recommend is to find out where the weight training equipment is in your gym. Each of our PureGym locations has a cardio area, fixed-resistance area, fitness studio, and free weights area, and most also have a functional training area. The three main areas where you would find weight training equipment is the fixed-resistance machines area, free weight area, and functional area.
Free weights area
If you prefer to have someone show you around our gym, you can book into an induction where you will be guided by a staff or personal trainer around the gym floor, providing a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the kit or weight training. Knowing where everything is can help give you peace of mind when navigating your way around the gym.
*Please make sure to get clearance from your Doctor or qualified health professional if you have any existing medical conditions or injuries before you start exercising.
Having a strong purpose behind your training is important, as this will direct your approach and give meaning to the efforts you put in at the gym. Do you want to learn how to deadlift? Do you want stronger arms to be able to pick up your growing kids? Do you want to improve your body composition?
Write down the goals you would like to achieve so you can start planning your weekly workouts. You can read our guide on how to set fitness goals to help you complete this step.
Now that you've got your goals, it's time to align these with what you do in the gym. There's no one right way to achieve your goals, so don't sweat it trying to come up with the perfect plan. The main thing is to get started and do what feels right for you and what meets your needs.
Here are some ways you can get into weight training.
- Hire a personal trainer: We have personal trainers in each of our gyms who can help you reach your fitness goals. They'll be able to teach you how to perform weighted exercises safely and with good technique, and create a weight training programme that's tailored for you.
- Try our strength plan: We have a range of workout plans on our app which you can try. This includes visual demos of the exercises and step-by-step guides, so all you have to do is follow along. Whilst this doesn't provide a bespoke plan like you’d receive with a personal trainer, it's free and can be a great way to help you get started. We also have over 400 free workouts to try in the app if you want to give these a go.
- Join a fitness class: We offer a range of fitness classes which are included in your membership. Some of these include using weights such as Pump, Body Tone, Kettlebell. Our classes are led by qualified instructors who will guide you through the workout so you don't have to worry about putting a workout together. Booking into a class is easy, just download the PureGym app to check out our class timetables. To ensure you can get a safe and great workout we have limited the number of spaces available in classes. We may also need to temporarily suspend them depending on Government instruction so please check the latest updates on the app or local gym page.
It's also a good idea to familiarise yourself with exercises using weights. You can check out our free Exercise guide with a range of weight-bearing exercises, which includes videos demonstrating exercises targeting different body parts and step-by-step instructions. This can help you gain more confidence when you do your workouts.
When you come to doing your workout, make sure to warm up beforehand and cool down after, as doing so is important for injury prevention.
For the first few weeks you probably want to work on making the gym a weekly habit, as well as learning how to perform exercises safely and correctly. You might find that you're not getting a sweat on, and you may feel like you're not getting enough of a workout in, but during this starting phase, it's really important to focus on good technique to avoid injury - doing so will allow you to get the most out of your workouts in the long run. Quality over quantity is key here! Also make sure you give yourself ample time to rest in-between sessions - find out why rest days are important with our guide.
You may find yourself regularly wondering "Am I doing this right?" which is perfectly normal. If at any point you feel you're not sure how to use equipment or perform exercises and you'd like some guidance, our staff and the personal trainers in the gym will be happy to help you, so don't be afraid to ask for help.
There will be a learning curve at the start but over time, you'll find that you will get more and more comfortable in weight training. You'll also start to notice improvements in your strength and overall health, and no doubt you'll be wondering why you didn't start this sooner!
For more training tips for beginners, check out our Starting Out in the Gym section.