When we think of exercise, we often think cardio. Weight training is also valuable. Lifting weights is an important way to build muscle, strengthen bones, extend functional mobility and even beat stress. How often should you be doing it to get the most benefit with the least injury? Here’s what you need to know.

Weight training for beginners
Done right, lifting weights means more lean muscle mass. Even if the scale doesn’t move, you may find that you have more tone and your clothes fit better. That’s pretty powerful motivation. What’s even better is you can look leaner lifting just three day each week. Especially when you are just starting out it is important not to overdo it. Include rest breaks between sets. It is also a good idea to schedule at least one rest day between workouts.

Want to go from zero tone to wow fast? In addition to free weights be sure to include body weight exercises such as push-ups, squats, planks, lunges and triceps dips. When you do use weights go lighter until you perfect your form.

Happy muscular young man lifting weights in the gym

Starter Sample
Choose 8 exercises with enough variety to target your entire body. Perform each for two sets with ten reps. Take as much rest as you need in between. If your form is deteriorating, step down to a lower weight or reduce the number of reps.
•    Biceps curl
•    Squats
•    Triceps dip
•    Superman
•    Lateral raise
•    Planks
•    One-arm dumbbell row
•    Lunge
•    Bicycle
•    Triceps extension

Where to next?
At this stage of the game it is a good idea to check in with a personal trainer at your fitness center for some targeted advice. As you build more muscle and stamina you can increase training intensity. That means more weight, and can also mean more days each week.

If you are ready to make a serious commitment to total body transformation, bump your lifting sessions up to five each week. Go for 45 to 60 minutes each day. Up the intensity with supersets- these are sets performed without a rest break. Use this strategy to alternate upper and lower body training, opposing muscles or the same muscle. Take two consecutive rest days for recovery.

A personal trainer can help you choose the best exercise moves and sequence for your goals. Get the 411 and get going.
Weight training is one of the most effective ways to get in shape or stay in shape. Beginners should aim for three days each week. You can begin to take on more weight and intensity after 8 to 12 weeks. Let your body be your guide to minimize risk of injury.