Weightlifting is a vital part of any exercise program. Strength training improves your muscle tone and strength, increases your metabolism, improves your posture, makes you less prone to injuries and helps prevent chronic conditions such as osteoporosis. Individuals new to weightlifting benefit from having a well-designed program to follow. A good program will prevent muscle imbalances as a result of a poorly-designed program or no program. A weightlifting program outlines individual exercises to perform each day along with keeping track of the amount of weight you are lifting and the number of sets and repetitions you complete.
Benefits of an Exercise Chart
Many people who begin a new exercise routine quit after a few weeks. Often, it is because they are not seeing results. To prevent this, it is important to track your progress. To see that you started the program doing biceps curls with 10 pound weights, and you are now using 20 pound weights provides motivation. Exercise charts help you track weights and other factors involved in a strength training routine.
Beginner Exercise Chart
An exercise program should always be tailored to your ability level and any special conditions you may have. For a healthy adult with no exercise impairments who is new to weightlifting, a good strength training plan will work all major muscle groups in eight to 10 exercises. It is often recommended that beginners perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Therefore, the exercise chart should be divided into upper and lower body exercises and include blank cells where you may add in your sets, repetitions and weights used. Good compound exercises to start with include chest presses, shoulder presses, squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups.
Advanced Exercise Chart
A simple exercise chart that includes weights, repetitions and sets works well for individuals new to weightlifting or people whose goal is to strength train a few times a week for general health. However, if you take weightlifting more seriously, there are many other components you may want to include on your weightlifting charts. One additional factor to include is intensity. You may do this one of two ways. One option is to wear a heart rate monitor and measure intensity based on your heart rate. The second option is to gauge your own intensity and use the Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale. With this scale, you simply rate yourself on a scale of one to 10 depending on how you feel.
Advanced Techniques and Specific Muscles
Advanced exercise charts may also include more advanced strength training techniques such as drop sets, negatives and super sets. Also, rather than dividing the exercises based on upper and lower body, you may divide them based on each muscle. Repetitions and sets will also vary.
Plan for Safety and Success
The safest way for you to begin a new strength training program is to consult with a fitness trainer. The trainer will show you how to correctly perform exercises to avoid injuries. The trainer may also create or look over your exercise chart to ensure you are not leaving out any major muscles or overworking a muscle group, which could lead to muscle imbalances.