Every person who
has hit the gym has been in this position before – whether you’re doing cardio
exercises, weight and resistance training or simply want to stay fit. You’re
can be done for a number of reasons – for strength, lean muscle gain, weight
loss, and general fitness.
If you lift
weights incorrectly or too often, you could end up getting hurt. Correct form
and volume is essential in weight training. But don’t be discouraged. Every
person started off where you are – at the very beginning.
You should stick
to a beginners’ routine for at least three to six weeks to avoid overexertion
This will ensure
that you develop correct form and balance before moving onto a higher intensity
“A higher amount
of reps with a lighter resistance is great for beginners to improve endurance
of muscles and ‘tone’ muscles,” said registered Biokineticist, Monique Bouwer.
reps while increasing resistance improves strength and increases muscle mass,
Since you are
starting out, try using very light weight such as 2 kg dumbbells and monitor
how well you are able to do the exercises. You should take it easy for the
first few weeks and you can later increase the weight by 1 kg or more,
depending on your personal performance. Don’t rush into it.
Warm up by doing
some light cardio for five to 10 minutes. This includes walking on a treadmill,
or cycling on a stationary bicycle.
“The tempo of
all exercises should be slow and controlled and no momentum is used to perform
the exercises,” said Bouwer.
Leg curls flexing the
lower legs and knees towards the glutes against resistance – 15-20 reps (1 set)
Lat pull downs sitting
down pulling the bar down to your chest with your elbows away from the body – 15-20 reps (1 set)
Dumbbell press lying down
on your back starting with the dumbbells shoulder width apart and elbows away
from the body, raising the dumbbells to the ceiling – 15-20 reps (1 set)
Standing barbell curls lifting
the barbell with an underhand grip to shoulder level until your biceps are
fully contracted and return to starting position with elbows fully extended – 15-20 reps (1 set)
Standing calf raise lifting
your body as high as you can onto your toes and lowering your heels down as
much as you can – 15-20 reps (1 set)
Sit ups lying flat down with
your knees bent; lifting the torso to a sitting position and back down again – 15-20 reps (1 set)
Crunches lying flat down
with your knees bent; roll up with your chest until your shoulder blades are no
longer touching the floor and your stomach muscles are contracted. Return to
start position – 15-20 reps (1 set)
You should rest
for at least 30-60 seconds between each set and exercise for overall fitness.
It is also
important to remember that, as a beginner, resting and recovering after a
workout is crucial to allow your body to rest in order for it to become
stronger. You could rest every alternate day after a workout or train every day
if you alternate upper and lower body exercises, Bouwer suggests.
The amount of
sets can further be increased to three once you have adapted to the programme.
Monique Bouwer, Registered Biokineticist
This article is provided through a sponsorship from
Pfizer in the interests of continuous medical education. Notwithstanding
Pfizer's sponsorship of this publication, neither Pfizer nor its subsidiary or
affiliated companies shall be liable for any damages, claims, liabilities,
costs or obligations arising from the misuse of the information provided in
this publication. Readers are advised to consult their health care practitioner
for specific information on personal health matters as this is not the
intention or purpose of the publication. Specific medical advice or
recommendations on the clinical management of patients will not be provided by
Pfizer. In this regard Pfizer does not support the use of products for off
label indications, nor dosing which falls outside the approved label
recommendations and readers must refer to the Package Insert of any product for
full prescribing guidelines.