I want to begin lifting weights. Where do I start?

A good place to start is to follow the American College of Sports Medicine’s FITT principles for strength training:

  • Frequency is the number of sessions in a week. Strength training should be done at least 2 sessions (days) a week. During each session, you should target certain muscles and perform sets of exercises. Within each set (usually 2–4 per exercise), you should do 8–12 repetitions of that specific exercise.
  • Intensity is the amount of weight used per repetition. For muscle strength, 8–12 repetitions of 65%–90% of your 1RM per set for 2–4 sets should be done.
  • Time of your sessions should range from 30–60 minutes with 30–120 seconds of rest between sets.
  • Type of exercise should vary to prevent boredom and improve gains. You can do a combination of free weights and machines in your strength workout.

Rest days are extremely important for your muscles to repair and rebuild. Including a rest day between workouts improves your strength and reduces the risk for injury.

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