If you’re just starting on your weightlifting path, good on you. We believe that every man can benefit from lifting, as resistance training does so much more than make you strong: it keeps your bones and internal organs healthy and even increases testosterone. There’s no need to be scared of the herd of turbo-bros gathered by the watering hole: we’ve consulted top PT Jason Patmore on how to get started pumping iron. He walks us through everything you need to know regarding barbells, dumbells and machines.
The barbell is going to be your best friend in your weightlifting journey. Start getting cosy. “To start off, we’ll do simple movements without any weight“ says Patmore. Never mind what anyone else thinks: remove the weight from thebar. As a beginner, it’s better to perfect the motions you’ll be doing over and over again than to carry on with too much weight. Here’s three exercises Patmore recommends for newbies:
1. The barbell lunge.
– Place the bar across your back.
– Step forward with your right foot and sink into a lunge, so both legs are bent with your back knee as close to the floor as possible.
– Drive yourself back up and repeat on the other side.
2. The bench press
– Lie back on a flat bench holding a barbell in the rack above you with a shoulder-width, overhand grip.
– Lift the bar off the rack and position it above your chest with arms fully extended. From the starting position, breathe in and lower the bar slowly until it skims the middle of your chest.
– Push the bar back to the starting position explosively as you breathe out. That’s one rep.
3. Barbell Push Press
– Grab a barbell and hold it at shoulder height with palms facing forwards. Set your feet shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees to initiate the move.
– Push up with your legs to explosively press the barbell straight above your head. Return under control to the start position.
“Squeeze the bar as hard as you can,” says Patmore. “You want to try and snap the bar in two!” Sounds a bit drastic, but hulking out has its advantages. This sort of tension is designed to activate your muscles, so keep taut at the top of a lift rather than letting your joints take the weight. If you’re doing the bench press, imagine trapping a pencil between your pectorals and squeezing it: it’ll ensure you get the most out of every rep. Learning to do this now will prevent bad habits popping up in the future. Just don’t start turning green.
Barbells are fine for bigger lifts that hit lots of major muscle groups, but dumbbells allow you to target individual muscles. You don’t need much space to use them and they’re extremely versatile to boot. Patmore recommends three isolation exercises to target you arms and shoulders, vital in building the strength for bigger lifts. Load your guns.
1. Single-arm dumbbell row
– Hold a dumbbell in one hand in front of your body with an overhand grip.
– Raise your elbow up and to the side using your shoulder muscles to raise the weight up towards your chin. Lower under control back to the start position.