Weight Lifting...How much?

I’m a pretty weakass teen. I’m highly interested in increasing my strength. I was wonder how much should I lift, and for how long? Remember, I’m a very weak right now :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a dumbell set, which weighs up to 55 lb. Right now, I have 35lbs on it and can lift it a few times before being exhausted. What weight limit do you recommend I eventually work my way up to? Thanks!

Btw, I just realized I made several grammatical errors in my previous post and just wanted to let you know I’m not retarded :wink:

What lift are we talking about? You do realize there’s more than one way to lift a dumbbell, right?

No matter what, the appropriate is one you can do 8-12 reps with before you have to stop. Lift slowly–2 seconds up, 1 second pause, 4 seconds down. If you lift moving a joint one way, lift moving it in the opposite direction. Search for weight lifting in GQ, and check out exrx.

Also, you shouldn’t lift more than two or three times a week. Your muscles need about 48 hours to recover.

If you’re training for strength, aim for 3 sets of 6-8 reps of the heaviest weight you can handle with proper form for that many times; however, if you’re a beginner, start with a lighter weight, 8-12 times for 3 sets until you build a little muscle endurance).

Be sure to start each session on with your major muscle groups (chest, back, lats) and then focus on smaller groups such as bicepts/triceps, etc. Don’t focus your efforts on only one or two muscle groups (arms, for instance). A balanced workout will grow them quicker.

If your really serious about this and can afford it, try to set up at least one session with a physical trainer who can show you how to get the most use of the equipment you have. If you’re in middle/high school, ask the gym coach for help (and maybe use any equipment they may have). Most of the other students who may use the gym will be of great help, too. (don’t be intimdated).

Be sure to learn proper breathing techniques (exhale as lift, inhale as rest) and take your time - focus on proper form for the excerise rather than the weight you can lift. If you struggle with too much weight, decrease until you can do the excerise in proper form.

There is no amount of weight that you should aim for - if you lift properly and regularly (2-3x week should be enough), you should be able to continue adding extra weight. Eventually you may hit a plateau - when this happens, alternate with other types of excerises that work the same muscle group and increase the frequency of your workouts.

Not everyone has the genes to be a muscle-bound brute, but you’ll definitley notice an increase in mass and shape after a while. Diligence is key, and remember to eat healthy so you have fuel for your workouts.
good luck!

A minor detail, but there is no scientific evidence that the number of sets you do makes any difference. All that matters is how close you get to failure–if you can do it in one set, great, cause you’re saving time. But if you like a three set program, do that.

I am a long time proponent of the 3 set thing (actually 4 or even more) because you get to rest between attempts at abusing your muscles and thus get to lift more weight for more repetitions.

I’ve been lifting for about 20 years now, and here’s what i recommend:

  1. learn about muscle hypertrophy (how a muscle grows)
    muscle and fitness magazine often has good articles about this stuff, about every third month if memory serves correctly. If you have access to someone who knows alot about physiology (like a doctor) ask them.

  2. learn about the muscles, what each of them does, how each of them moves the body.

  3. learn exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time (bench press, for instance works the chest primarily, but the triceps and deltoids assist in the motion, so you’re really working 3 muscle groups at the same time)

  4. learn exercises that isolate each muscle- the more the better.
    check muscle and fitness or any of the fitness magazines for this stuff if you don’t know anyone who can teach you these things.
    -if you know what each muscle does, though, you should be able to make up your own exercises.
    putting it all together:
    do one or two exercises for each of your torso muscles such as bench press, and push ups for chest, then pull ups and rows for your back muscles then isolate each muscle for one or two exercises

all you have is dumbells right?

ok, i’m gonna assume you know nothing (sorry)
start with push ups (form is really important, keep your back straight, touch only your chest to the floor)
do one less than you are capable of (like if you can only do 8, do sets of 7)
so do 7 push ups, rest for a couple of minutes
this is what is meant by “set”
then do 7 more
do 7 more
do the same thing with pull ups
if you can’t do a pull up, get a box, or something to give yourself a little push off of with your foot when you get stuck (only when you get stuck)

then go to shoulders
do military presses (or shoulder presses) hold one dumbell in each hand, rest them on your shoulders, and push them straight up over your head
-remember, the key is to work your shoulder muscles, so no pushing with your legs, keep your back straight and only use your arms to push.
another good one is lateral raises
hold a dumbell in each hand, hanging down at your waist, lift them up to the sides with your arms mostly straight (a little bent is ok)

learn exercises to work triceps and biceps, i gotta go, i’ll try and write more later

remember, rest 2 days between workouts

it also helps alot to get a partner to work out with

if you can’t do an exercise more than 8 times without swinging your back, or cheating somehow, you’re using too much weight.

greck’s advice is solid, but his program has the flaw of missing everything below your sternum. This includes most of the muscles in your body. You want to do leg and torso exercises, because those will increase your stability, which will make it easier for you to use heavier weights in your arm/chest/upper back routine.

And STRETCH afterwards. I can’t emphasize this enough. I’m particularly reminded about this because I am in agony right now because I forgot to do it last night. It will help keep your flexibility up and will help keep you from hurting yourself if you start getting into other types of athletic activity.

So please stretch. I’m going to go right now and see if I can fix my upper body.

I was in a similar situation as you are so heres a suggestion for you, get a pull up bar. I built one in a day from 3 2x4’s, a bar I broke out of an old paddle and a bunch of screws. Start slow and over time do more. I’ve been doing it for maybe 2 months and currently I can bench around 110lbs (before I started 85lbs was almost impossible) and best of all I’ve got abs. I didn’t expect it but I guess the pulling up motion also works out the waist. Its the only exercise I do besides some occasional running. It works great. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to check out my abs in the mirror…

As Wearia said, start slow. When I first decided to start a work-out regiment, I did several sets of several different exercises and, although I felt fine for the rest of that day, I woke up the next day in agony. It took almost a week for my muscles to heal enough to continue the work-outs. So, even though you know you can do, say, three sets, do only two and work your way up to three, and then four etc.

Start with eight reps of any given exercise and work your way up to 12. When you can do 12 reps of a certain weight without difficulty, increase the weight and start over at the eight rep mark. Continue to repeat this pattern and watch those muscles grow!

Limit your sessions to no more than an hour, especially if you are strength training.

I also recommend supplementation, but that is, of course, up to you. I currently take about five grams of Creatine Monohydrate and 20 grams of whey protein a day. Don’t be fooled into paying those exuberant prices for stuff like Nitro-Tech or Cell-tech just because they played around and added some Lipoic Acid or free form glutamate. The cheap stuff works just as well. You will see and feel the results of supplementation.

Most importantly — Discipline! Stick with your routine no matter what. Don’t tell yourself that you’re too tired today and you’ll make up for it tomorrow. Don’t make excuses! Your body will adapt to the absence of your work-out just as it will to the presence of it. The more sessions you blow off, the more out of shape you will become, and the harder it will be to get back to where you were.

Don’t be self-conscience about looking at yourself in the mirror. Do it. Do some poses and flexes. The longer you maintain your routine, the greater you’ll look in that mirror. Of course, if you’re starting this to feel better and not to look better, then don’t bother with the mirror.

As joemama24_98 said, not everyone can look like the bow-flex guy. He is just one guy, the best looking guy, out of probably hundreds who answered the casting call. Don’t expect to look like Schwarzenegger any time soon, if at all. Again, if looking great is not your objective here, then disregard this piece.

Most of all, enjoy yourself and know that you’re doing your body good!

Good advice all around. Take it easy in the beginning! Sets of twelve reps will get your muscles used to working out. Then move on to eight reps when you feel in control of the exercises and your limits.

Once you feel comfortable with eight reps move on to even lower reps if you are interested in things like speed, strength etc.

Personally I’d like to get a word in for three basic exercises; bench, squat and dead lift. While they are not easy to do correct you need to start out slow with these. However they are excellent alround exercises and very good when you don’t have a lot of time.

In a few months you can try the “ladder” with the basic exercises. I like this version the best. Lift something real easy 10-12 times, then some weight you can comfortably lift 5-6 times, then the weight you can lift 3 times and then lift whatever you can lift 1-2 times. Then go downwards again. I.e. 12-6-3-1-3-6-12 reps. Again this is if you’re looking to get faster or stronger etc. rather than just looking good (not that there is anything wrong with that).

And above all, get a lot of rest between the work outs. Focus on different muscle groups different days if you want to work out often, eat the right stuff and sleep.

My suggestion would be to go down to your local library and take out a book on weightlifting. Read it, and take lots of notes. The two most important things you need are:

  • Variety of exercises so you hit all muscle groups

  • Proper form

We can write and write and write, but you’ll only get a smattering of information from us. A well written book will have pictures for proper form and many suggestions of different exercises and structured routines.

If you don’t want to go the book route, ultrafilter gave a link to this site in a previous discussion. It’s got little movies to show proper form for many exercises, and a great list of all the muscle groups you should hit with your routine.

I want to stress form for a moment. If you use strict form and don’t “cheat” you will not need heavy weights to acheive some results. I can probably do curls with 50lb dumbells if I cheat, but 20-25 is more than enough to work those babies hard if I’m very strict with my form.

I fixed the title for you.