A Beginner's Guide for BHS Weight Training Students
Let's Get Started
Below are the basic guidelines and rules for starting out in a weightlifting program; whether it is for strength, weight loss, lean muscle gain, or just overall fitness, this article and workout can help you figure things out and get started off on the right foot toward your health and fitness goals.
Strength training provides remarkable results in those who have tried and failed at overhauling their fitness with just diet or cardio. Consistent training (more than twice per week, for 12 weeks) can provide such benefits as:
- Increased muscle-fiber size
- Increased muscle contractile strength
- Increased tendon strength
- Increased ligament strength
All of these add up to a much healthier, fitter body that is less likely to be injured. You end up looking pretty good, too!
Wildcat Weight Room Etiquette
- To start, always bring a towel and be kind enough to wipe off the machines, benches and equipment you use.
- Be sure to re-rack all the weights and replace all the dumbbells or barbells that are used.
- Don't rest for extended periods of time on a machine that someone is waiting for; if possible, work in with them between sets. Most people are more than willing to share when asked nicely.
- Finally, please leave your cell phone in your locker or car; nothing is more distracting than listening to another person's conversation unwillingly.
Sitting on a leg press machine, position your feet together against the crosspiece about should-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Grasp the handle grips or sides of the seat. Bend your knees and lower the weight as far as possible without changing the position of your hips.
Do not lower the weight so far that your hips start to curl up off the seat! Then slowly push the weight back up using your heels, not your toes. Do not lock your knees at the top, but rather take the weight to just before lock. Then begin to lower the weight again SLOWLY. You can change your foot positions to vary the angle on the muscle.
Using a leg extension machine, sit in the seat and hook your feet under the padded bar. Adjust the pad and/or the seat so that your knees hang off the end of the seat and the footpad rest on the lowest part of the shins. Grasp the handles on the machine or the edges of the seat to keep your hips from lifting up as you perform the exercise. Extend your legs until knees are straight, making sure you remain seated flat on the machine.
Raise the weight all the way, lock and hold briefly, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Get the full range of motion and feel the muscle being worked during the entire movement. Do not SWING the weight up!
Watch the video showing how to squat with perfect form.
A few tips to make your new training program work for you more effectively:
- Stay hydrated! Be sure to drink at least the minimum USDA recommended 8-10 glasses of water each and every day; dehydration can make you weak, and sick and less effective in the weight room. Drink a lot of water during your workout as well.
- Eat a small, balanced meal with equal portions of lean protein (lean chicken, turkey, beef or fish) and complex carbohydrates (oats, rice) 30-60 minutes prior to each workout; and again within 60 minutes after you train with weights. A huge meal is not necessary, just enough protein and carbohydrate to refuel and encourage healing in the body.
- If also performing cardio work for weight loss, do so after you train with weights, not before; or at separate times of the day all together.
- Keep a record of what you do, and when you do it... an awesome tool!
- Take progress pictures, keep track of weight loss or gain, and record measurements of your body parts. You can even start a Body Blog!