Free weights, for a complete newbie.

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Hedphelym, Dec 25, 2009.

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  1. I have very limited knowledge of weight work, but decided that this year I'm going to make it an integral part of my training (Okay, it probably already should be but shh)
    I have researched this a fair bit, but haven't really found any great beginners guide. I am aware of the exercises I could do, bought a pair of dumbells so I'm ready to crack on in theory really - but it's the other things such as:

    - What weight to start at and when do I change it? On a pre-determined basis, or just when I feel I can?

    - Rep wise, if I stick to say 12 reps of each excercise and increase the weight, do I at any point increase the reps?

    - How many different strength exersizes should I do in a workout? And do I keep the amout of sets and reps the same for each?

    Mainly, I'm looking to just get stonger but a little bit of extra bulk wouldn't be unwelcome on my tall slim frame.
    I apologise if these questions seem a little bone to some of you, but as I say I'm a complete newbie when it comes to weight training.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks,
  2. For what you want to achieve I would suggest 3 sets of 8. To figure out what weight you should be lifting start out with a low weight and gradually get higher until you cannot complete the full set, so for the biceps start out with something like 10kg, do a full set, easy? Add 5kg, repeat, still easy? Repeat. Finding 20kg to be the right weight as explained below then stick with it until thats easy and so on and so on for each muscle group...

    4-7 reps - Strength

    8-12 reps - Hypertrophy (size)

    12+ Endurance

    Pick a range and stick to sets of 3, lift as heavy as you can while maintaining perfect form, so by the last few reps you should be fighting to lift the weight while STILL maintaining perfect form. When you find you can fit in extra reps into your set then you know it's time to up the weight, so add a couple kg on. Rinse and repeat until desired physique is achieved. Don't bother with training plans until your 6 months into lifting, the first 6 months just hit the body all over, 3 by 8 each gym session, you want to shock your body into change. Once you start 'plateauing' then you can start thinking about training plans, 3 day splits etc which should be around the 6 month mark if you stick to it 4/5 days a week. Oh and stick to compound lifts too, don't bother with any isolation excercise until your well into weight training. That's about it, i've got a banging headache. over and out.
  3. I use this site Linky

    It's very informative and even gives you small Gif images so that you can understand the mechanics of each exercise.
    It doesn't give advice regarding reps but for building up a good workout and targeting particular muscle groups it's the tops.

    It's the best I've come across.
  4. This'll do you for about 1 month, after which you'll not see any more gains, though his point about perfect form is correct. There are many different theoris and styles, the most important thing to learn is what works for you and keep changing.

    For some, working each muscle group once each week, for others is three all over body workouts each week. My suggestion at the moment would be 4 different exercises with 4 sets of six to ten reps on each muscle group. You should aim to start on hitting 10 reps on the first set and, if you're working hard enough, should only be able to do 4-6 reps on the last one. If you're still able to do 10-12 reps after the first exercise, you ain't working hard enough

    Also, don't forget body weight exercises (press ups, chin ups, dips and heaves). Lastly, biggest benefit to getting a massive and well defined upper body is, believe it or not, including leg exercises. As your biggest muscle grouops,. leg exercises force yourbody to release more muscle growth hormones and such. 1 set of Squats for victory at the start of each session will help you see big gains.

    Lastly, if you just want to be strong and defined, don't worry about increasing your food intake or protein powders and such, most people only need these if they want to proper massive.
  5. Best advice? Join a good gym, mate. I love training with Dumbbells, but a pair of Dumbbells on their own will not be enough to give you a good workout. You need Olympic Barbells and a Squat Cage for a start.

    Join a good gym - one with lots of Free Weights not just machines - and talk to the instructors. They will show you how to do the basic, high-percentage exercises like Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift etc. They can also draw up a training program tailored to your specific needs and abilities.

    Good luck! :D
  6. You can't go wrong with one of Stuart McRobert's books about weight lifting/bodybuilding:


    Gives no nonsense advice for natural trainers. None of the bollocks you'll find in Flex magazine etc.
  7. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    I do some weights between cardio - very high reps, low mass - as stated good for endurance - I also find there is far less chance of injury even though you can push it till you simply can't lift anything anymore.

    25kg - 30kg with reps of 80 - 120 is what I used to use when competing in various silly things a long time ago and it still works for me now.

    the killer I find is the 40 mins of cardio - nowadays you can check your HR and hold it around 135 - frankly I go do weights just to have a little rest before getting back on damn cycle/cross trainer/rowing machine which I hate with a passion.
  8. Many thanks for the replies so far guys, big help. Though I am feeling somewhat undermined with my 20kg dumbell set to spread between the pair, and Schaden talking about his endevours there!

    BornSlippy, so you would reccomend and sharp shock to the system, hitting mulitple muscle groups in one session rather than a progessive build up? I'll certainly give it a shot - I'm going to start out gently today, working out my starting weight and such and hopefully start on something more solid by the start of next week.

    I've never signed myself up to a gym in my life, I came close last year but the gyms around my area which i paid a vist seem very strange and expensive areas. Any pointers you could give on how to spot a decent gym?
    The places I have seen have been impressive, gucci places with hi-tech stuff and fancy ultra-modern decoration, with gleaming white grins from all the strangely happy staff... As I said, impressive, but puts me off at the same time...
  9. Hedphelym, yes I would recommend hitting the body all over but only for the first 6 months. The first few months are known as the 'noob gains' period where you will make the most progress, during this period you want to batter your body, you want to force it to rapidly change to meet new demands. Make the most of this golden period for when your body becomes used to the constant abuse your rate of progress will slow to a crawl, and you'll be wishing you pushed yourself harder initially. After this phase is over then look into a workout program such as a 5 day split (training a different muscle group each day) or a 5x5 routine, you can start incorporating isolation exercises to focus on lacking areas etc, find a plan that works best for you. Never workout when your really hurting, its ok if your a little sore but if you can't move then your going to be doing the exact opposite of what you want to achieve.

    Edit: unless you can find a dead cheap gym don't bother. An average gym membership will cost you around £500 a year, just invest in a cheap power cage/bench/barbell set and you got everything you need.
  10. If it does'nt have Olympic barbells and at least a couple of Squat Cages - it's not a real gym.

    They can be hard to find; there are dozens of gyms in Edinburgh, but most are machine weights based. OK for women or guys recovering from an injury. Fcuk all use for real strength training.

    The most high-tec machine will not give you as good a workout as a barbell or pair of dumbbells. This is because machines force your muscles to move in a grove. They isolate the muscles being worked. Free weights require you to balance them as well as lift them. For example Bench Pressing two Dumbells is harder than Benching a Barbell.

    As someone else pointed out, do not neglect bodyweight exercises such as push ups, pull ups and dips - again, better than a machine any day.