21 May 2011

Weight lifting - my 1st try since high school, thoughts on programs

I haven't lifted free weights at the gym since high school (and I wasn't great at it then). I have been going to the gym to lose weight (in addition to tracking my calories on Livestrong.com/myplate) but I've been sticking to cardio that doesn't bother my knee injury (essentially Elliptical machines). After reading more about weight loss and weight lifting at Reddit.com/r/fitness, livestrong.com, and StartingStrength.com I've seen a few common recommendations for starting with weight training.
  1. Form is super important - it doesn't matter if you're lifting a lot if you're doing it wrong. Focus on form over pounds. More repetitions with correct form but less weight is better for beginners. Have an experienced lifter show you how if you can. If none is available, watch several videos showing proper form, start with super low or no weight and try to get the form right. Film yourself and analyze it after if you don't have a live critic.
  2. Don't go back for the same lifts the next day - you need a day of rest, sometimes more.
  3. Warm up - usually this is lower weight and lower reps to practice form and get your body ready for the full weight.
  4. Rest 1-5 minutes between sets. 1 minute rest is better than 5 minutes.
  5. Stretch after. Dynamic stretches or "mobility" training may be better than static stretches.t
  6. There are a few commonly recommended starting weight lifting exercises with the barbell from Starting Strength (or StrongLifts5x5): squats, bench press, barbell row, overhead press, and deadlift. Obviously there are hundreds more and yet more variations, but you've got to start somewhere and this seems to be a consensus group of lifts to begin with. The form for these is hard to get right, so here are some videos:
Squat -

Bench Press -

Deadlift -

Barbell Row

Overhead Press -

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