Workout Guide: How To Start Lifting Heavier
Ready to crush your goal of lifting heavier weights? Our workout guide will get you started on weight training basics, and give you a 4 Week Plan to follow to inspire you to go the distance.
The following workout guide is a 4 Week Plan to increase your lifting weight over one month. Follow this plan for 4 weeks, then repeat for another round as desired for your long term goals. Each session we anticipate that you will increase either the weight or reps as you get better at the lifts, and as you get stronger!
NOTE: Experts don’t recommend increasing weight by more than 5-10% each week at a time to avoid injury and muscle fatigue. At times, it’s also advisable to stay on the same weight for say 1-2 weeks, focussing on perfecting the movement, aiming for the right speed, or just adding a rep or 2 to your last session. Do what feels right and safe for your body!
The 4 Week Plan includes the following exercises:
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Find your starting weight. Depending on your current strength level, you may be starting from the lowest weight available, or you may already be able to perform the movement with a certain weight that you’ve lifted before. SIMPLE RULE: If you can achieve the target reps for the program, the weight may be increased for the next set. If you cannot achieve the target reps for the program, then the weight is too heavy.
On the 4 Week Plan PDF we’ve left space for you to write in your working weight (Week 1 - Target reps, and then 5-10% increases each week after) each week so you don’t forget! Remember, you don’t have to increase, but it is nice to plan.
REMEMBER: A barbell weighs approx. 20kgs, so beginners may choose to just start with this.
It’s essential to warm up before performing weight training. You can warm up with some light cardio (5-10mins) and a few reps of some bodyweight movements related to and including the strength movement that you are about to perform.
SETS AND REPS:
Once you’ve got your weights ready on the bench or on the rack, it’s time to get into it! Perform 8-12 reps of each exercise for 3 sets, with a 60-120 second break in between each exercise. You should aim to do 2-3 weight training sessions per week, leaving 1-3 days rest between each.
Don’t overdo it! You might feel like Hercules in the moment and be tempted to do more sets, but slow and steady wins the race here. Check in how you feel the next day, a small amount of delayed soreness is normal, but any extreme pain may mean you need to drop the weight back or increase your rest. We recommend seeing a health professional for any ongoing pain.
FOLLOW THE PLAN:
You’re on the journey now! Follow the 4 Week Plan, repeat with a 5-10% weekly weight increase (if you’re achieving your targets) and you’ll be lifting heavier in no time!
Get the Lift Heavier 4 Week Guide PDF
HOW TO PERFORM:
Start with your feet parallel side by side and directly under your hips. Your feet should face forward. Stand with your shins approximately 1-2cm behind the bar. Your hands will grip the bar directly below your shoulders, arms are straight with no bend in the elbow, with your arms on the outside of your legs. A good target here is to have the inside of your elbows lightly touching the outside of your knees. Set your hips back, allow your knees to come forward slightly until your shins make very light contact with the bar. This is a hip-dominant movement, as such it’s ok to have more bend through the hips, and less through the knees… it’s not a squat. Pull your lats down and stabilise your entire torso with a deep breath in. When you lift the bar from the floor, you perform simultaneous hip extension and knee extension. Don’t allow your spine to flex forward, don’t ‘grip & rip’. Smoothly move the bar up to the top, up to full lockout focussing on driving the hips forward. There is no need to lean back beyond vertical once you’re at the top. To return to the floor, use the same breathing and bracing technique, and slowly drive the hips back as you lower the bar to your starting position.
Start with setting up the rack at chest height, then rest the bar on the upper back, with your hands gripping the bar as close to your shoulders as is comfortable. Lift the bar off the racks and take 2-3 very small steps backwards and set up your feet: at or slightly wider than shoulder width and your toes pointing slightly out at 11 and 1 o’clock. Slides the hips back whilst simultaneously bending the knees, keeping the knees tracking out to your middle toes, and heels remaining on the floor. Lower as far as comfortable, with a goal of ‘thigh parallel’, whilst maintaining perfect back and head alignment. Reverse the movement back up to the top.
Barbell Row (bent-over row)
Start by gripping the bar slightly wider than hip width. As a guide, wiggle your thumbs, they should just be able to reach your thighs. At a position which is half way down/up on the deadlift (ie/ the bent over phase), stay here to perform the lifts. Pull your shoulders back as you row the barbell into a comfortable target position between your navel and lower sternum.
Dumbbell Bench Press
Start with lying flat back on the bench, feet flat on the floor, and the dumbbells held directly above the shoulders. Lowering: drive your shoulders into the bench whilst maintaining mid-back muscle contraction. Lower the dumbbells towards your armpits whilst keeping your elbows at 45 degrees to your torso. Press back up to the starting position.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Start with sitting on the bench,, feet flat on the floor, and the dumbbells held at the shoulders. With your palms facing forward, press the dumbbells directly over the shoulders to their top point. Lower the dumbbells back your shoulders. Maintain a strong connection with your pelvis in an anterior tilt to prevent your back arching.
Want more? Chat to club staff about finding the perfect Personal Trainer for you and your goals. Our PTs will be able to provide you a personalised workout plan with a wider variety of exercises and techniques.They’ll also be able to check and correct your technique, as ultimately, this is the most important element of weight training.