Lifting weights for the first time can be a daunting experience. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Did you know that the average 30-year-old will lose about a quarter of his or her muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90? That’s according to Harvard University and it’s sobering news indeed. Not to mention that stepping into a gym or lifting weights for the first time can be a daunting experience. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s no secret that physical activity is the way forward if you want to improve your health and life in general. To get the blood pumping many people simply default to jumping on a treadmill or going for a jog around the block. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this the value of lifting weights or ‘strength training’ is often overlooked in this instance. As a result this ends up being a missed opportunity to create lean muscle mass, learn new movement patterns and improve mobility. All of these things are critical to improve your quality of life as you age. To put it simply, when you’re 75 years old you’ll want to be able to sit down on a toilet, hang out the washing or bring your grocery shopping in from the car. 

Where to start?

One of the most powerful things I say to clients when we start together is ‘life gets better when you simplify’. It’s often overwhelming when you start something new and keeping the process simple is one of the best ways to navigate a new task. When it comes to lifting weights or resistance training one of the most simple ways to incorporate that into your life is via push/pull training.

With push/pull training you can spread your workouts over a couple of days which means you can also do shorter workouts. This is beneficial if you’re trying to introduce physical activity into your week. Another benefit of this style of workout is that you can hit all areas of your body. As an example, below there are 3 workouts you could do across one week that targets your upper and lower body. 

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Day 1

Upper pull/Lower push

Resistance band pull back x 20

MB or DB Squat x 12

Bent over DB rows x 12

Reverse alternating lunges x 20

Bird dogs x 20

Skipping or Air Bike or Jumping Jacks x 1 minute

1 x minute rest

Complete each exercise one after the other, take short rest after individual exercises if needed. Do 4-5 rounds with 1 minute rest between each round.

Day 1 – Upper / Lower workout

Day 2

Upper push/Lower pull

Body weight push up x 8-12

Fitness Ball hamstring curls x 12

DB chest press x 12

Romanian Deadlift with DB x 12

Bird Dogs x 20

Skipping or Air Bike or Jumping Jacks x 1 minute

1 x minute rest

Complete each exercise one after the other, take short rest after individual exercises if needed. Do 4-5 rounds with 1 minute rest between each round.

Day 2 – Upper/ Lower workout

Day 3

Upper pull/Lower push

Resistance band pull back x 20

Sumo Squat with DB x 12

Bent over DB rows x 12

Reverse alternating lunges x 20

Bird dogs x 20

Skipping or Air Bike or Jumping Jacks x 1 minute

Complete each exercise one after the other, take short rest after individual exercises if needed. Do 4-5 rounds with 1 minute rest between each round.

Day 3 – Upper/ Lower workout

So there’s a few workouts for you to try and see if it’s a style you enjoy. Overall, a great way to look at your health and fitness is to think of your body as a high performance car. You only take it out a few times a week, put good fuel into it, never thrash it and keep its fluids maintained. It really is as simple as that. So when it comes to lifting weights start slow and find someone to show you the ropes. Some of our favourite coaches and gyms include iNform Health and Fitness, Flow Athletic, JT Performance, Tegan Haining, and PEAQ Performance. Good luck.

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About Simon Mitchell

Simon is the Brand Manager and Head of Training at Xpeed Fitness. Simon has a Bachelor of Human Movement, is a certified FMS trainer and has worked in the fitness industry since 2003. Simon started his fitness journey as a trainer with iNform Health and Fitness before moving into commercial radio and then back into fitness with Bodyism in the United Kingdom and Australia. A career highlight was being one of the cast trainers on Star Wars IX - The Rise Of Skywalker.

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