Resistance training – A quick start guide

So we’ve looked at the benefits of resistance training, knocked a few myths down and we’re ready to start out.

Big breath needed, lots of different weights, machines, attachments and bands – where do we start??

Easy is the answer, as with all skills we learn in life, resistance training is no different. That is, we need to learn how to move correctly and how to make the right shapes, this will take our body a little time to get used to.

I’m sure you’ll have a whole load of questions, so let’s aim to cover as many as possible by creating an 8-week plan together below:

Excuse the suck eggs bit, however, we need to start from the top.

Warm up, we need to get blood around our body for the work we are about to undertake, ideally this should be ‘full body’ so something like the cross trainer or rower is always a good starting point.

We’ll be able to get our heart rate up and move all of our joints. Aim for 5-10 minutes, remember, this is your warm-up, so getting our heart rate up is going to be different for everyone.

Start by working major muscle groups, so let’s think about 2 exercises for each of the major muscle groups and then move onto the smaller ones.

  1. Leg Press
  2. Kettlebell squats
  3. Pull downs
  4. Rows
  5. Chest Press (barbell, dumbbell, plate)
  6. Shoulders
  7. Arms (Biceps and Triceps)

Quick pit stop, why the major ones first?

This is because they are multijoint movements, this gives us a bit more bang for our buck.

We want to train the larger groups first as they incorporate the smaller ones. We then train the smaller ones toward the end, once we have worked the larger groups.

How many sets/reps, and how fast/slow should I go?

OK, so there is going to be so many different approaches to this and to keep our plan straight forward we are going to keep the reps the same and increase the sets to start out with.

The main key is to learn the techniques, then improve our performance over the length of the plan.

We are going to perform a warm-up, then 2 working sets of 15 with a moderate weight. For the first few sessions, we just need to focus on the technique and if the weight needs to be increased the following session, so be it!

A quick indicator of the correct weight would be that the last 2 reps are tough, but you can keep correct form.

Once we have got ourselves comfortable and our technique is looking sharp (better than the first workout at least) we can look to progress the plan.

This is where we can look to add a third set of each exercise, alternatively, increase the weight slightly as our technique improves.

After this, we can look at different variations of the movements, using different weights during the set, as in starting with one weight, then increasing it in the next sets. Again, there are many ways and none are either right or wrong.

So with all of this in mind and taking in to consideration that we also need to rest – think about full body having a rest day between each workout, let’s see what it looks like:

ExerciseWeek 1 & 2Week 3 – 6Week 7 onwards
Warm-up10 mins10 mins10 mins
Leg Press2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps slightly heavier3 x 15 – increased effort Set 1 – 70% Set 2 – 80% Set 3 – 90%
Kettlebell squats2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps
Pull downs2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps slightly heavier3 x 10 reps slightly heavier
Rows2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps
Chest Press dumbbells2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps slightly heavier3 sets – 12, 10, 8 increasing weight each set
Chest Press cable machine2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps
Shoulders2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps
Biceps2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps
Triceps2 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps3 x 15 reps

So, I’ve taken some liberties on week 7 onwards, as mentioned there are lots of routes, including sticking with 3×15 if that is working and feels good! – remember, there is no one size fits all here.

Once we’ve finished, we should undertake a cooldown, and stretch off.

So, we’ve created a nice workout to get us feeling comfortable in the gym and started on our resistance training journey.

If you would like some help creating yours and understanding more about how best to workout for yourself – pop us an email