Get started with strength training and avoid the most common beginner mistakes, so that you feel at home in the gym from the beginning. To that here are 9 important questions that you need to ask yourself
How do I overcome the fear of looking stupid or doing something wrong in the beginning?
Everyone who works out at the gym has had a “first day at the gym”, as they were nervous about making mistakes. So everyone knows what it’s like to be a beginner. People are usually quite helpful if you yourself are friendly and accommodating. If you feel like it, self-irony can be a good quality to take with you the first time you visit the gym. Do not take yourself or the gym too seriously – after all, it’s just training. Be relaxed and find out how things work in the gym, and take it easy if you do away with yourself.
Moreover, find a gym that is best designed for your needs. There are plenty of gyms that cater only to beginners and have helpful staff to guide you and things like a lunk alarm to deter the heavy lifters. Joining such a gym can be the perfect beginning to your journey towards achieving a healthy body.
Do I need any special clothes?
You do not need to buy new clothes to start exercising – as long as you wear clothes that you can move freely in without them tightening or irritating. You may not want to show the navel when you do e.g. shoulder presses and arms should be carried over the head, in which case it is good if your shirt reaches far down. When it comes to shoes, there are models that are developed for strength training, but if you are a beginner, regular training shoes are usually good enough.
How often should I exercise?
It is best if you have the opportunity to train three times a week. As a beginner, however, you can get good results even if you “only” train twice a week.
Are free weights or machines best?
There are pros and cons to both. We recommend a combination where you use the machines that suit you best but choose free weights for the exercises where you risk that the machines do more harm than good. Most rowing machines that you sit in usually e.g. work well, while you can get more pain in the shoulders in a shoulder press machine due to the locked path in which the arms move. Traction devices can be a good middle ground because they are as easy to start with as rowing machines while the freedom of movement is good. It is individual which exercises work best, so choose the ones that work best for you.
How do I use the machines?
On most machines, there are illustrations that show how to do it. Many machines are also quite easy to use. You can prepare a little at home by looking for videos online that show how to do different exercises. In addition, you can always consult an instructor at the gym.
How many exercises should I do?
If you are a beginner, you may well be content to do an exercise with each muscle group in your exercise program. When you get a little more used to it, you may. add another exercise for the major muscle groups such as the back, chest, and thighs. On the next page, you will find a good beginner program.
How heavy weights should I use?
In the beginning, you should choose weights that are so heavy that you can do a maximum of 8-12 repetitions before you have to rest. You get the most versatile training if you train both strength and endurance.
What should I do if I get hurt?
It is important to distinguish between good and bad pain. You can count on a certain amount of training pain. That type of pain is harmless. More distinct and more severe pain in e.g. the joints is another matter. Do you get pain when you do chest press, shoulder press, or leg press, then you should finish the exercise. The dumbest thing you can do is ignore the pain. The weights are heavy and if you use the wrong technology you risk being injured.
When will I see the results?
If you train twice a week, you can expect it to take about 3-4 months before you will see any clear results in the mirror – depending on your starting position and your training diligence in the gym. However, it does not take long before you start to notice that you have become stronger and able to lift heavier weights, or that you have the strength to do more reps than you did in the beginning.