Answers to Frequently Asked Strength Training Questions

I had tons of strength training questions when I first began lifting weights! And it took me a frustratingly long time to get answers to them. I got bad info and wasted time on inefficient exercises.

Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!

I don't want that to happen to you.

Have your own questions about strength training and exercise? Ask them here!

Here are the best answers I've found to common strength training questions. I hope they help you to the right path :-)

Answers for your most important strength training questions!

1. What exercises are safe for me?

Generally, all exercises done with correct technique are safe. Obviously if you have a recent injury or physical disability you should address that specifically.

However, for the beginner basic exercises like the squat, bench press, and deadlift can all be learned fairly quickly. Make sure you have a competent instructor to teache you good technique and you'll be fine.

2. What exercises are best for me?

For a beginner large, full body exercises that work many muscles at the same time are best. They teach your body to work as a unit, exercise major muscle groups at once, and cause straining and strengthening throughout your entire body.

Lifts that involve major muscle groups are best for beginners and even most advanced lifters. Big lifts are awesome!

3. Should I work different parts of my body at different times, or my whole body at once?

Generally, it's best to work your whole body at once as a beginner. You body works as one unit, and since you're just beginning your strength training you will recover from virtually any workout quickly. So, you get more bang for your buck if you work your entire body at each gym workout.

4. Is strength training safe for children and adolescents?

YES! It is safe to start training adolescents as young as 13 in weight training, as long as the practice is safe.

As long as the coach is mindful of their limits, has them use good technique and increases the weight slowly, it's actually safer for adolescents to lift weights than to play soccer or football. The most pressing issue for younger lifters is keeping it fun so that they stay committed.

5. Is weight lifting safe for women?

YES! Safety in weight lifting is determined by lifting technique and equipment, not by your sex. There are plenty of strong women in gymnastics, power-lifting, and other fields besides.

There's tons of info about women's strength training around, as well as on this site. This is one of those strength training questions should be really obvious and easy to answer.

6. How often should I lift weights?

Just starting, if you are below thirty lifting weights can be done 3-4 days a week. I recommend 3 days, since that keeps things simple and beginners normally don't want to spend tons of time at the gym.

If you are older than thirty, start at 2-3 times a week and ease into training. Your beginning number of workouts per week will depend on how active you've been in the past and how quickly you recover.

Generally, doing a gym workout of heavy lifting 3 times a week, leaving you sore and achy, is the best way. This is one of those strength training questions of personal preference.

I've tried some of the bodybuilding routines that call for 8-12 exercises a day, 6 days a week and I just can't do that. 3 Days a week is an excellent starting number.

7. What is the risk of injury when doing weight lifting?

When using correct technique, safe equipment, and knowing your body the risk is almost zero. Every training accident I've heard of (or done to myself) has resulted from bad technique or equipment.

If you're squatting or bench pressing, have a spotter or a power rack (or even better, both). Every year a few people get seriously injured because they try lifting too much weight and get crushed.

Just keep you technique good, work with a power rack, preferably also a spotter, and have good equipment. Safety is simple, just remember to do it.

8. Why should I lift weights?

Of all the strength training questions, this one is the easiest to answer. You become stronger, look better, feel better, and the list just goes on and on.

There are tons of strength training benefits, so just start do a gym workout regularly. You will see AND feel a great difference in your body.

9. Will strength training make me big and bulky?

Big and bulky? Only if you eat tons and work hard to gain weight. Contrary to what you see on TV and in magazines, it's pretty hard to gain muscle mass for the vast majority of the population. Also, because of women's low levels of testosterone it is extremely difficult for them to get huge.

You can become big and bulky, but it won't happen unless you make it happen. You won't just wake up in the morning surprisingly big.

10. Will strength training make me slow?

And slow? NO! Stronger muscles contract faster. In the fifties many martial artists and athletes believed that lifting weights would make you slower, but that old wives tale should be long dead. This is one of those strength training questions that should die and not rise again.

Bruce Lee, today's high school athletes, and Olympic athletes all strength train with weights to become faster. One of the best strength training benefits is that you get faster.

11. How fast will I begin to see results?

Time will vary, but if you've never lifted weights before you will see dramatic results in the first 6-8 weeks. Even in the second week you will be lifting heavier weights than you did the first week. Progress at the beginning is fast, though plateaus will come later.

12. What are the best books about strength training, especially for beginners?

Starting Strength and Practical Programming for Strength Training, both by Mark Rippetoe, are the best books for beginners. They go over technique for basic lifts, equipment, and what makes up the best programs.

Practical Programming for Strength Training even has detailed sections and programs for beginning, novice, intermediate, and advanced lifters. These books are the best foundation out there and will answer all of your strength training questions.

These answers should put most of your strength training questions to rest. But if you have more, just ask!

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