Recently decide to start strength or weight-lifting program, but don’t know where to start? Do you walk in to the gym and you’re not sure what machines do what? Everyone has been in this position at least once before; we were all once new at the gym, and you didn’t know where to go or what to lift or how to use the machines. Well, have no fear – your beginners guide to lifting is here!
First off – you have to get your body warmed up before you start working your muscles. Doing a short, low to moderate intensity warm up on any cardio machine for 5-10 will increase the blood flow and warm up the muscles preparing them for the workout.
Now that you are warmed up and ready to go, it’s time to do work.
Leg Press – Sit on the machine, feet shoulder width apart and heels flat on the platform. Release the safety handle(s) and lower the knees towards the chest, keeping your low back and hips flat on the pad. Once your legs are at a 90 degree angle, return to the starting position. Repeat for 12-15 reps, 2-3 sets.
Assisted Pull up Machine – This machine will allow you to do a perfect pullup by helping you pull up your own body weight. Grasp the handles slightly wider that shoulder width, pull yourself up to the bar and slowly lower yourself down until your arms are straight. Repeat for 12-15 reps, 2-3 sets.
Chest Press Machine – This machine is a great way to help beginners perfect the chest press/bench press movement. Set the machine so the handles are right at chest level. Push the weight out, keeping your back on the pad, and as you bring the handles back towards your body, stop before your hands are in line with the chest. Repeat for 12-15 reps, 2-3 sets.
Dumbbell Curl and Press – This exercise is great for the biceps and shoulders. Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length and sit on a bench. Without moving your upper arms, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders. Rotate your palms so they face away from your body, and press the weights above your head. Return to the starting position and repeat. Repeat for 12-15 reps, 2-3 sets.
Tricep Pressdown – This exercise Attach a straight bar to the high pulley of a cable station. Bend your arms and grab the bar with each hand, your palms facing the floor. Keep your elbows locked to your sides and bend your elbows so your arms are in a 90 degree angle. This is your starting point. Keep abs tight and without moving your upper arms or leaning forward or back, push the bar down until the arms are fully extended. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 12-15 reps, 2-3 sets.
Plank – THE BEST exercise for the core! To get into the plank position, start on elbows and knees, locking hands together. Straighten legs and raise your body so that you’re supported by the balls of your feet, with feet hip-distance apart. Face the ground, being careful not to arch your back or stick your hips in the air. Hold for 15-60 seconds, 2-3 sets.