Weightlifting is extremely good for you. It helps your body remain strong as you age, helps increase sports performance, helps maintain muscle mass while trying to lose weight, and even helps prevent blood clots and stroke. That being said, lifting, especially lifting heavy weights, can be intimidating if you don’t know where or how to get started. Here are some starting points if you’re thinking about how to get started with weightlifting.
Health Benefits of Heavy Lifting
Weightlifting has many health benefits. Lifting builds muscle and strong bones. You have a reduced risk of cancer and high blood sugar and a lower risk of osteoporosis, all from lifting. Increased muscle mass leads to less likelihood of disease and less likelihood that you’ll injure yourself from a fall. Muscle actually helps protect joints and ligaments as well.
Aside from the health benefits, strength training alone won’t make you bulky. Athletes that are extremely muscular work really hard to get that way. It would take years of dedicated training and focused nutrition to get a bulky build. Regular weight training will give you a toned body and improved body composition. It’ll also make you strong, which is great for improving self-esteem.
Gaining Muscle and Nutrition
As mentioned, increased muscle mass is one of the biggest benefits of weightlifting. It’s commonly said that abs begin in the kitchen, and the same is true for building muscle. To supplement muscle growth, you need to make sure you’re taking in enough protein.
In fact, protein intake should be at the center of your diet. You should intake between .8 grams to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to build muscle. In addition, you need to space out your protein intake throughout the day, because your body can only process about 30 grams of protein every three hours.
If you’re having trouble reaching your protein goals, try a collagen protein shake to supplement what you’re getting from natural sources. Collagen protein has a lot of benefits in and of itself but can be especially beneficial to building muscle. Collagen protein also improves skin health and helps prevent bone loss.
Start with the Basics
Now that you know what to eat in order to build muscle, how can you get started? Lifting with an Olympic barbell is going to offer you a lot more intensity than using lifting machines. That being said, no matter which route you take, remember to start with lighter weights. Gradually build as you learn technique
This can be challenging for newcomers because they want to jump in and lift heavy with experienced lifters. There’s nothing wrong with starting slow and gradually increasing weight as you master technique though. Building muscle is a process, and you will be respected for taking your time and learning the fundamentals.
Supplement Big Lifts with Accessory Work
Squatting, benching, and deadlifting are fun. Throwing around a lot of weight can make you feel good and look good. But, just focusing on the big lifts while ignoring accessory work will leave you weak in muscle groups.
This leads to muscle imbalance over time. Imbalance can lead to injury or strain from overworking big muscle groups. Take the time to do accessory work every week. Focus on those small muscle groups that you’re not hitting with big lifts. This should also include movements that focus on working just one side of your body at a time so you can improve imbalances from side to side.
Warm Up and Cool Down
In addition to taking the time for accessory work, it’s also important to develop good habits of warming up and cooling down before and after lifting. Take the time to warm up muscles before you start lifting. Go for a short run or row for a few minutes. Then stretch and move your body to loosen those muscles that you’re about to push.
After lifting, you’ll want to spend some time stretching as well. This will help you recover and work out any stiffness before it sets in. The best time to stretch post-workout is immediately following, while your muscles are still warm.
It must be clear by now, weightlifting is so good for you! It’s time to use the above tips, and other tips and workout routines on Project Swole to get started with weightlifting. Get in the gym and get lifting today!