Starting your resistance training journey to build a better body shape can be an intimidating experience. You don’t know where to start and have limited knowledge of the exercises you need to do, so that the process is safe, enjoyable and effective.
By getting your training programme right, you can make excellent progress, both in the gym and with your body shape and learn to fall in love with exercise. Get it wrong, however, and you can run the risk of injury, which can then leave mental scars and put you off training for a long period of time.
So, what is the best workout to start with? And what factors do you need to consider for you to make great progress?
Generally, the best workout for beginners is full body. This is because you can target upper and lower body muscle groups that need strengthening in one session. Very often, beginners are not strong in key areas of their body, such as the posterior chain (quads, glutes, hamstrings), back, shoulders, and arms and these workouts allow you to make great improvements in these areas. It also makes the sessions simple and less daunting, meaning you can put all your focus on performing each exercise expertly.
When it comes to how many sessions you should do each week, this depends on the individual, their goals, and their availability. However, two to four sessions per week work for most people as it allows them to make great progress and have adequate recovery time over the week. If you are someone who struggles for time, you may want to start with two sessions and then build up as you go along. You can also make use of the weekends, when you potentially have more time and energy, to make up for lost time during the week.
Strength vs Volume
Your training programme will vary depending on your gender. For example, men have a lot more testosterone than women, meaning that strength levels are higher and they can shift more weight, whereas women’s potential to lift very heavy is limited, even though significant strength gains can be gained. For women, a bigger focus should be placed on higher volume, more metabolic style training where more lactic acid goes into the muscles. This will be much more beneficial for achieving a more toned overall look to the body.
Another key part of your training programme when you are a beginner is having exercises that you can progress as you go on. For example, moving from a machine-based exercise where you are locked in and can progress the weight, to a freewight, compound movement that recruits multiple muscles at once and is more metabolically challenging is an excellent sign of improvement. However, if you are initially weak in key muscle groups, make sure that you train muscles in isolation first before moving on to compound exercises that require strength from multiple areas in function.
So, if you are a beginner looking to get in shape, the best resistance training plan will depend on your goals, experience, biomechanics, and availability. However, the most suitable workouts are ones that target multiple areas in the body 2-4 times per week, can be progressed over time and vary between strength and volume if you are a male or female. This will be a great stimulus for you to build muscle, improve your metabolism and, with the right nutrition and lifestyle habits, burn body fat consistently.
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