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Weight Lifting 101

by: Kevin Valluzzi

Starting a Weight Lifting Routine

What do you do now? So you now know what strength training is and you know why it will help you change your body. "But how do I actually go ahead and get started?" As I said before, this is one of the main reasons if not THE main reason that most people don't lift weights. But what if I was to tell you that it's not nearly as complicated as you might think. What we're going to discuss now is the "nuts and bolts" of designing a strength-training program. Let me first start out by saying that if you are out of shape, haven't exercised in awhile, suffer from any kind of medical condition (heart problems, high blood pressure, etc.) or are over 40 years old, you should make an appointment with your doctor to get a physical to make sure you are ready to start lifting weights. With that said, here we go!

One of the very popular questions is what equipment do I need to strength train? Or better yet, what equipment is the best? Luckily, there are plenty of options; machines, free weights (dumbbells), elastic bands, using your own body weight, which is called isometrics (push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, etc.). I guess the best way to decide what equipment you are going to use is to first decide exactly where you'll be working out. Will you be at home, or will you be at some kind of gym or fitness center? Let's first explore the many options you have at a gym or fitness center. Depending on your particular gym, you will probably have the choice of using free weights (dumbbells, weight bars, weight plates, etc.) or machines. If you are a beginner to lifting weights, I highly recommend you use the machines for a few reasons.

  • Almost no chance of injury
  • Much easier to use proper form
  • Easily change weights via a pin

  • Also when using machines, especially the newer ones, there is usually a picture on the machine that demonstrates someone doing the actual exercise. There is also a great product out now that is a ring of 50 pocket-sized exercise cards. They not only show a full color photo of each exercise, but each card also contains easy-to-read instructions as well as helpful trainer's tips and common training mistakes, which are found on the back of the cards. These cards are excellent and I highly recommend them. Log on to my web-site at and go to the "Products" page. There you will see a link for the cards. Click on that link and order your set of cards today. There is a lot more that comes with your set of 50 cards, and they are definitely worth having. Another option is to purchase some really great books. There are hundreds of great picture books out there to help you get started. If you go to my web-site ( and go to "products", there you will find a link to Amazon. Once you click on the link, you will find some great books that I recommend that are very helpful for the beginner exerciser. There is of course the third option, which is to hire one of the personal trainers that works at your gym or an in-home personal trainer, like myself, who comes to your house and sets you up on a program.

    One word of advice if you decide to get a trainer. Make sure this person has the right credentials (personal trainer certification and/or fitness related degree). Don't just assume that since they work in a gym or because they call themselves a personal trainer, that they are qualified. It's always best to watch the trainers for a couple of weeks if you are at a gym, or get a free session from an in-home trainer. See how they operate, how they get along with their other clients, what kind of personality they have, etc. Make sure you think that they will be a good fit for you. I would personally love to tell you about all of the wonderful exercises you can do, but I would need about 200 pages just to list the pictures and explain proper form and technique. Your best move would be to buy the cards (they are great) get your hands on a good "beginner's exercise" book and/or hire a certified personal trainer. Are you now saying, "But what if I don't want to go to the gym, it takes too much time driving, it's always packed, and I just don't like the whole gym scene." "Can I still lose weight and get in shape at home?" Absolutely!

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