How Soon Can You See Results From Weightlifting if You're New to the Gym?

You can see results in as little as four weeks from lifting weights.
Image Credit: Mireya Acierto/DigitalVision/GettyImages

We all know patience is indeed a virtue — but that's especially true for people who are starting a new weightlifting routine.


No doubt, if you've been going hard at the gym, it can be discouraging not to see results in the mirrors lining the weight room walls. But rest assured, progress is being made and you will start to see it in your body and lifting numbers soon enough.

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Ahead, learn exactly how long it takes to see results from weightlifting. Plus, five tips for fast-tracking those results.

How Long Does It Take to See Results From Weightlifting?

"Assuming a person is training three or four days per week, four weeks is an adequate amount of time to make physical adaptations," says strength and conditioning specialist Alena Luciani, CSCS, founder of Training2xl.

In particular, you can see these results if you have historically not exercised at all. This is a concept called newbie gains or beginner gains, in which you see a pretty fast increase in muscle mass and strength when you first start lifting, according to Hone Health. How long do newbie gains last? The answer: around 6 to 12 months.


However, the exact answer to the question of "how soon will I see results from lifting weights" depends on a wide variety of factors such as age, genetics, overall health, exercise routine, nutrition, stress levels, and sleep quality and quantity, according to Luciani.

"A person who has their nutrition, sleep and stress levels dialed in is going to see and feel results faster than an individual who does not," she tells


Fact is, research has shown that lack of sleep, poor eating habits and high levels of emotional and mental stress all impede progress toward your goals. As such, someone who doesn't adjust other lifestyle habits while adding in exercise may take closer to 8 to 12 weeks to notice progress, she says.

One under-appreciated consideration in how long it takes to see progress is training age, or the total training time a person has over the course of their life, explains physical therapist Grayson Wickham, DPT, CSCS, founder of digital movement platform Movement Vault.



"Someone who used to have a regular fitness routine who took a period of time off and is returning to the gym for the first time in a while is going to make more gains in the first four weeks compared to someone who has never had a regular fitness routine," he tells

Why? Because the person who has a higher training age (aka more exercise experience) is going to make neuromuscular adaptations faster, Wickham explains. "Their body is going to become efficient at moving correctly and activating the correct muscles faster," he says.


That's because your body remembers how to do this. Meanwhile, someone who is brand spanking new to the gym will have to learn how to move correctly and properly activate their muscles for the very first time, which has an associated learning curve.

How Fast Can You Feel Progress With a New Lifting Routine?

While it may take four weeks (or more) to ‌see‌ progress in terms of weight loss or muscle gain (depending on your goals), you'll ‌feel‌ progress faster than that.


"The post-workout high is a real and common phenomenon marked by exercisers enjoying the way the rush of endorphins make them feel," Luciani says.

That's because when you exercise, your body bumps up the production of feel-good chemicals in order to decrease its perception of pain associated with hard work. Although this experience is most commonly associated with running (think: runner's high), Luciani says it can happen during any type of exercise that results in an increase in heart rate.


The feeling of euphoria associated with a good workout may last a few minutes or a few hours, according to Luciani, and it can serve as a positive motivator. It can be really empowering for people to know that if they want to feel better or less stressed, exercise can help, Luciani says.


Endorphins aside, your exercise routine may motivate you to make other positive lifestyle changes, like eating more nutrient-dense foods. "The more healthy habits you can commit to, the faster you'll see results," Luciani says.

4 Tips to Help You See Progress as Fast as Possible

1. Don’t Go Full Speed Ahead

When you first start a new exercise routine, you might feel inclined to tackle all your goals at once. But Luciani recommends against going too hard or too often, too soon.

"When you're first building toward an exercise routine or habit, you want to start small — likely, smaller than you initially want," she says.

In practice, that means committing to exercise two or three times per week to start, rather than immediately trying to do two workouts a day or going to the gym six days a week. When you start with a manageable goal, you increase your likelihood that you'll adhere to your goal even during busy weeks. This, in turn, increases your odds of adhering to the goal in the long term.

"If you pick an aggressive goal to start, your risk of falling off is higher if you have a few busy days in a row," Luciani says.

Meanwhile, if you're currently exercising zero days per week and set the goal of exercising two days per week, you give yourself the opportunity to slowly adjust your schedule and lifestyle to accommodate more time spent at the gym.

"Long term, consistency is the most important part of an exercise routine," Luciani says. So, when crafting your exercise goal, don't hesitate to start small. "It's mentally easier to up the number of times you go to the gym per week after being successful in your first goal than it is to scale back after failing to meet an initial goal."


2. Follow a Structured Training Program

The only thing worse than showing up to the gym only to find your AirPods dead is showing up to the gym without a workout plan in mind. This is just one of the reasons Luciani suggests that new exercisers hire a fitness professional to put together a training program that takes their individual health and fitness goals, training age, exercise experience and schedule in mind.

"A good, structured training program will help you meet your fitness goals as efficiently as possible," she says.

When written well, these programs will gradually make your exercise routine more challenging, so you keep pushing your body to reach greater heights (er, weights and distances) even as your body begins to adapt, Luciani explains. Known as the progressive overload principle, this approach is essential for making progress as fast as you can.

3. Fine-Tune Your Form

If there's anything that sidelines your fitness routine faster than your in-laws coming into town during the holidays, it's an injury.

"Most often, injuries are caused by poor form," Luciani says. While poor form isn't likely to cause injury right away, sub-optimal form can, over time, put wear-and-tear on your connective tissues that leads to overuse injuries over time, she says.

Your move: Hire a professional who will spend time teaching you proper movement mechanics. If that's not logistically or financially feasible for you, another alternative is to video your form on your phone and compare it to the videos of instructional videos on YouTube.

4. Prioritize Mobility Work

If you work a desk job, this tip is especially important!


"Our bodies conform to the positions that they are in most often," Wickham says. So, if you spend the day hunched over your computer or phone, your chest, back and shoulder muscles get locked into those tight positions, he says. Similarly, sitting all day results in hips and hamstrings that get locked into less fluid positions.

When you get to the gym, the positions of these muscles can literally make it impossible for you to access the range of motion you need in order to move with sound form, Wickham says. The good news is that is a way to gradually loosen tight muscles and help your joints regain access to a fuller range of motion: a mobility practice.

If you consistently incorporate mobility into your daily routine for 5 to 15 minutes, you'll gradually undo the shapes sitting all day has forced your body to conform to, according to Wickham. "It doesn't have to consume your day, so long as you are performing active stretches," he says.

Depending on your particular areas of tightness, you may want to consider the following active stretches.

1. Active Hamstring Stretch

Activity Stretching
Region Lower Body
  1. Start in a low lunge position with your right foot in front and your left knee on the ground.
  2. Lean forward and place both palms on the ground inside your right foot.
  3. Push your hips back and extend your right leg.
  4. Once you feel a deep stretch in your hamstring, contract your hamstring by digging your right heel into the ground. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 3 to 4 times, resting between reps, before switching sides.

2. Lateral Overhead Reach

Activity Stretching
Region Upper Body
  1. Stand with your arms to your sides, feet about shoulder-width apart
  2. Take a small step forward, crossing your left foot over your right foot.
  3. Reach overhead with your right arm and stretch your upper body to your left side, keeping your lower body rooted.
  4. Lower your arm back down as you return to starting position
  5. Repeat 3 to 4 times before switching sides.

3. Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch With Rotation

Activity Stretching
Region Full Body
  1. Get in a half-kneeling position with your left foot on the floor, knee bent at 90 degrees, kneeling on your right knee.
  2. Squeezing your glutes and abs, extend your right arm across your body and twist through your core, rotating toward your left leg.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.


Static stretches don't qualify as mobility work and may actually impede your performance. One 2023 review published in the Journal Functional Morphology and Kinesiology found that static stretching leads to decreased progress on the strength front.




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