If you have just begun training or you would like to start then here are some muscle building workout tips for beginners. Working out regularly is not just about building muscles or losing weight, but changing your whole life, picking up habits that will help you to reach your fitness goals. If you have started, you are on the right way for a better life!
I started doing workouts several years ago, and I did many things badly at the beginning.
How to start building muscle safely and effectively
1. Try various muscle building workout plans
Some people like lifting heavy while others prefer lighter weights with higher reps. Others enjoy intensive workouts when weight lifting is combined with cardio like Crossfit.
No matter what sort of exercise program you start, it is essential that you should enjoy it. If you do not like something, sooner or later you get rid of it, aren’t you?
When I was younger, I wanted to get big and toned muscles. So, I began doing bodybuilding. I did it for 2-3 years. I had some real results, but generally, I did not enjoy it. However, I still wanted that attractive physique. What did I do? I tried other sorts of workouts. At last, I turned to calisthenics (bodyweight exercises). I have been doing it for 6-7 months now and I see better outcomes than ever before. What is most important, I love it!
Decide what you want, then try different training and pick the one that you truly enjoy.
2. Consult with your doctor
I recommend consulting with your doctor before starting any kinds of workout routine, mainly if you have an illness. Do not risk your health in any way. If your doctor does not suggest to start that training, do not do it. Find another one which is suitable for you. You want to be fit and healthy, don’t you?
I know, there is a ton of medical advice online, but a doctor is the only one who knows what is good for you.
3. Get quality shoes
The most important clothing, no matter what you do, are your shoes. Get a quality pair of shoes, which you are suitable for your workouts. If you want to run and do intensive cardio get a pair of quality running shoes. There are special shoes for lifting weights as well.
Shoes are the most critical apparel for strength training that protects your joints and helps avoid accidents. I see people at the gym training in slippers. Those are for the beach and not for strength training.
Related: Guide to weight lifting accessories
4. Rome wasn’t built in day
One of the biggest mistakes of beginners they do not start gradually. They jump into a program and sooner or later they suffer from injuries. Your body needs time to get used to your new lifestyle. Start slow, and increase the sets, repetitions and number sessions little by little. Be patient!
5. Don’t follow gym workout plan for beginners blindly
It is not hard to find a beginner muscle building workout routine online. There are thousands on pages about the topic. The problem is that we are all different. Some of us are genetically big and strong, while others are lean and weaker. Some of us have training background while others nothing.
If you feel that an exercise does not help you to develop, or maybe uncomfortable for you, try others. There is always an alternative. For example, if you feel uncomfortable while doing barbell bench press, do it with dumbbells. My cousin did that and he got much better results as if he was suffering under the bar.
I had problems with overhead press with a barbell. I felt pain in my shoulders. So, I did it with dumbbells instead.
The list of strength training exercises are endless. You can find a substitute quickly.
Get rid of the ones for a short time that do not help and replace them with others. In the future when you will be on a higher level, you can start doing them again.
By the way, do not care about that 9 from 10 do the same exercises for a specific muscle group. Do what works for you!
6. Learn the proper form of each exercise
Known how to perform the exercises correctly is among the most critical factors affecting muscle growth and to avoid injuries.
Poor form is not just the mistake of beginners, though. I have seen guys going to the gym for years doing strength training exercises with such a wrong way that it was terrible to see.
Why do most people not care about the technique?
I believe because they rush and want to show the world and for themselves that they develop faster than others. Or, simply because they are impatient.
Each exercise we do have a purpose, for example, to target a specific muscle group, burn fat, or to gain strength. If you do them poorly, they lose their effectiveness, in most cases drastically. So, you almost suffer for nothing. You may see results, but not as fast.
On top of that, since the basics are not complete, you will not be able to step forward to more advanced movements.
When you want to learn a new exercise, do not use heavy weights that you cannot handle. It will lead to an incorrect form.
7. 1-hour workout a day is enough & Don’t train every day.
Your training should be complete but intensive. It is good for nothing if you spend hours in the gym. That usually happens for two reasons.
The first reason is that people have a too long rest between the sets because of doing something else like checking their cell phone or staring the girls. You are there to train, and not for having a rest. 2-3 minutes break between the sets is enough.
The other reason is that they do to many exercises. They think, the more they work out, the faster the results will come. But, the body does not work like that. A too long workout has a counter effect it exhausts you both mentally and physically. It does not support muscle growth at all.
The same is true for the number of workouts per week.
If you are a beginner, 2-3 days a week is enough. This way, the muscle fibers have enough time to recover.
Have enough rest between workouts!
8. Use free weights instead of machines and do compound exercises
If you enter the gym, you can see shiny and modern machines everywhere that look like the ultimate tools to build muscle. But, the truth is that just a few that are worth to use.
If you want to be strong and gain muscle mass, stick to free weights, and compound exercises.
Most of the machines come with such a mechanism that controls the motion too much. I mean, they drive the movement. This way, you can focus on one particular muscle group (isolation exercises), but other muscles are hardly engaged. And, our muscle system is not made for that.
Let me give you an example, you do a preacher biceps curl with a machine. The muscle that works is your bicep, and a bit of your forearm since the mechanism control the motion.
If you do the same exercise with a dumbbell, a lot of other stabilizer muscles are activated because it is much harder to control the motion. The dumbbell moves here and there, etc. So, exercise is more complicated, but more natural as well.
What are the essential compound exercises?
- Bench press
- Barbell squat
- Military press
These practices work everything (both small and large muscle groups) and teach your body how to coordinate the different muscle groups to perform the compound motion. Hence, they should be included in a beginner mass building workout.
9. Do not focus only on your upper body
A huge mistake of beginners, and not just theirs, is that they only focus on their upper body. They want a big chest, arms, back, and six-pack. An, simply they neglect the lower body workout. And, that is how big guys are born with chicken legs.
An asymmetrical body not just looks funny but also leads to an imbalanced physique. Your legs are the basement of your body, and if they are weak, then you are not really strong.
On top of that, lower body exercises such as squats are excellent practices to improve your stamina and cardio. And, to pack on a lot of muscles that leads to a faster metabolism and leaner body.
10. Listen to your body
Do you have back pain after exercises? Is it hard to breathe? Do you have pain in your body parts?
Pay attention to your body!
Pain in your joints and muscles may mean that you have some sort of injury or strain, but it is maybe because they are not strong enough yet.
There are a few exercises which put you in an unnatural position or force you to make abnormal movements. Get rid of those for a little time.
You should know your limits. Over-training has various negative effects on your body. Besides, it influences your mind and may cause failure.
11. Increase Your Flexibility
Another serious mistake that beginners commit they do not spend time on stretching after and before workouts. Developing your flexibility is critical to avoid injuries and also beneficial for muscle and strength growth.
Do stretching exercises for 5-10 minutes after and before your training. This way, your muscles get ready for the training and recover faster. On top of that, you can perform the strength training exercises more correctly because you can reach the full range of motion.
12. Take time to warm up and cool down
If you are over your routine and you did your best, take time to warm up and cool down.
Warm up with light cardio and stretching. 5-10 minutes will do. But, warm up all your muscle groups even if you are not going to strengthen it today.
At the end of the training, take deep breaths, think about what you have done well or maybe wrong. Be proud of yourself that you did it!
13. How to eat to build muscle – The most important!
A huge mistake that beginners commit is that they only focus on working out and they do not care about their nutrition. But, the food you eat is more important than the exercises.
The food you consume is the fuel and the building blocks of your muscles. If you have bad food, you will not gain.
The bodybuilding diet is a huge topic that needs a book to describe.
In short, you need protein such as lean meat or protein powder since it is the building block of the muscles. Good carbs such as whole grains which will provide you energy without making you fat. Good fats such as Omega-3 that keeps your body healthy. And, finally minerals and vitamins.
- Eat more often to speed up your metabolism and to give constant fuel for the muscle fibers.
- Avoid junk food since the nutritional value of them equal to zero.
I know, you can get supplements to take in all of these nutrients, but I believe that best is if you take the large part of them from real food.
Here are few more useful nutritional fitness tips for beginners. For example, how many grams of protein you need to gain muscle.
14. Avoid dehydration
It is a fact these days people consume far less liquid than their body requires leading to various problems in the long run.
And if you train hard drinking enough is even more critical. You sweat a lot, so you have to refill your body. If you are dehydrated, your muscles cannot recover so fast and perform at the maximum.
What to drink?
I know, there are sports drinks, but pure water is the best. It contains nothing else just what your body needs.
Related: How to drink more water
15. Reduce your body fat
If you are overweight, you should focus on leaning beside strength training. You can work out day in day out if your muscles are under a layer of fat. Most of us want to get a lean and muscular body, not just being big.
To get rid of fat, the key is nutrition and cardio training. If you have the right amount and type of meals, you will get all the nutrients, plus you will lose weight.
16. Basic home gym or use your body weight
The gym provides all the equipment you need for strength training, but what if you cannot afford to go for some reasons?
You can have a home gym depending on your budget or the space you have.
A pair of adjustable dumbbells and a workout bench is good to start with if you want to lift weights. Hand weights are so versatile that you can strengthen each muscle group with them.
If you have more money and space, you can get a power rack and Olympic weight set as well, and with that, you have a “real” gym.
Besides, you can also do bodyweight training (calisthenics) which requires almost no equipment at all since you use your own weight as the resistance. You just need stuff for pull ups/chin ups and dips.
A sample muscle building workout plan for beginners
This full body workout is perfect to learn the fundamental muscle building exercises and to accustom our body to the workload caused by weight training.
Do this workout twice, maximum three times a week. Have at least 1-day rest between. The purpose of this plan is strength and endurance development for beginners.
- Barbell bench press 1×20, 1×15, 1×12, 1×10, 1×8, 1×6
- Dumbbell flyes on bench 2×14 , 2×12
- Wide grip lat pulldown 1×20, 1×15 , 1×12, 1×10, 1×8
- V-bar row 1×15 , 1×12 , 2×10
- Lateral shoulder raise 1×20, 1×15, 1×12, 2×10
- Biceps curls 1×15, 1×12, 1×10, 1×8
- Triceps extension with cable 1×15, 1×12, 1×10, 1×8
- Deadlift 1×15, 1×12, 1×10, 2×8
- Leg extension 1×20, 1×16, 1×14, 2×12
- Squat 1×15, 1×12, 1×10, 1×8, 2×6
- Crunches 4×40
Here is another downloadable muscle gain workout plan for beginners PDF from muscleandfitness.com
How to work out at the gym?
Firstly, ignore the people. Some guys shout under heavyweights. Sexy girls everywhere. People who go there for chatting with others. There is all kind of creatures who may disturb you. But do not care about them. Get into a state when you only focus on your training and nothing else.
Also, there are hundreds of machines which tell you, “Come here and try me!” But, as I mentioned before, most of them are useless. Stick the free weights and just the most beneficial machines.
Get the music that motivates you and helps to get into your separated world.
To sum up, get there, do your job and get out of the gym.
How to get back into working out?
Well, I have been working out for 20 years, but there were times when I did not train for months, even a year.
Getting back is easy since your muscles and mind is already familiar with the training more or less. You just need to “refresh” them.
However, there is one huge mistake that you can commit, that is thinking that you are at the same level where you have finished.
I made that mistake. I wanted to get back to the track too fast. The result was an injury.
So, start slowly and gradually increase the weight and the intensity of your training. The results will still come much faster as if you were a total beginner.
Can you give workout tips for abs?
Getting an attractive stomach is one of the primary goals of beginners. But, if you want to get rid of your belly fat, doing a lot of abs exercises will hardly help.
Because they do not burn many calories that is required for weight loss. What works is cardio and a healthy diet to burn the fat covering your midsection so your abdominal muscles will be visible.
Related: Best way to get six pack abs
Gym workout for beginners to lose weight?
To lose fat the nutrition, a healthy diet is a must. But, you can speed up your weight loss by working out.
Cardio workouts, especially high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is a great way. Running, rowing machine, boxing, etc. are all good.
Related: Fat burning HIIT workouts
But, strength training is also recommended since it helps to gain muscle mass leading to a faster metabolism.
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