Discover what's new & improved in the MyFitnessPal app!
We’re dedicated to helping you achieve your health and nutrition goals. And our newest features and updates? They do just that. Learn how we're making tracking your progress easier, faster, and more motivating than ever.

Learning how to lift weights

Options
I work out at a small 24 hour gym. I have been trying to learn how to lift weights on my own and I get quite nervous about proper form and not hurting myself so I watch videos and search step by step pics of what the workout should look like.

Tonight I was at the gym and I was trying to work my arms. I had a cable in each hand at the cable machine it was pretty much like doing a chest press with the cables (I dont know what everything is called lol) I am a female and a guy came over and corrected how I was doing it....I was totally fine with that and I appreciate the help. Then everything after that he would kinda look over and either correct what I was doing or tell me he knew more effective exercises that what I was doing. I joked and shrugged it off but it makes me even more intimidated to keep trying.

I have always admired the people who just look like they know what their doing and I am feeling discouraged now, I feel like I should just stick to cardio because its what I know and I dont want to be the uneducated person who other long time lifters shake their head at). I am easily intimidated because I havent a clue to what I am doing but I am trying.

Is there any recommendations on perhaps a routine I should follow or a step by step guide?

Thanks in advance!!

Replies

  • sarko15
    sarko15 Posts: 330 Member
    Options
    Ugh that sounds so uncomfortable and definitely rude.

    I think in part it's being a woman in the weight room. Not that there aren't women who lift weights, but especially in smaller gyms the proportions of women to men lifting is pretty unmotivating. Especially when the women who are lifting already seem to know what they're doing and look like a million bucks. I always wonder, is my 5 lb weight going to be a joke and should I just join the rest of the bouncing top knots on the ellipticals?

    I'm going to be sort of cynical here, but I feel like at gyms where hormones are way high this is a thing. There's this prevailing stereotype that women are weak and don't lift weights, especially not heavy ones, so Mister Big Guns feels like he needs to swoop in and save the day when not asked because he feels like it makes him look good. He might think he's helping, but if he's doing it in a way that makes you embarrassed or uncomfortable, that's not cool and you shouldn't tolerate that.

    One thing I've found that helps is going to the gym at slow times, like late afternoon on a Saturday. The amount of people there is minimal, so I can just walk around and try new machines and exercises at my own pace and make sure I take the time to read directions on machines. Once I do it once, I feel way better. Also, just do your chest press the way that feels good--form is important to prevent injury, obviously, but sometimes it really doesn't even matter if your elbows stick out too far or whatnot if it doesn't hurt and you feel like you're still getting a good workout.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,464 Member
    edited November 2016
    Options
    You are awesome to be working at this! ignore the dude and just keep going. If possible, ask for help from gym staff or hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you with moves you are uncertain about. You are a young woman. You should lift!
    PS Check out the book New Rules of Lifting for Women. You can get it on Amazon used for a few $. It will give you a routine and show you how to do the exercises.
  • kristenmeleniak
    kristenmeleniak Posts: 46 Member
    Options
    I know exactly how you feel!! So uncomfortable but so eager to learn :/
  • antdelsa
    antdelsa Posts: 174 Member
    edited November 2016
    Options
    First off let me just say as a guy who works out religiously please don't take offense to what the guy did, honestly he might of saw that you were probably going to hurt yourself and tried to help you, either that or he was being a creep lol

    Don't feel intimidated in the gym, don't pay attention to anyone else in the gym but yourself!!!! You are there to work on YOU so get yourself in a zone and demolish your workout

    Do some due diligence and hit youtube, take the time to research the exercises you want/need to do and focus on form first, start with super super low weight and concentrate more on your form and connecting to the muscle group you're trying to work, this is absolutely the most important thing you can do just starting out.

    This isn't a man/woman thing, its a trying to be the best you -you can be thing, and it takes time. But never get discouraged, do the research and go into the gym with the confidence that you've put in the time and now you're going to put in the work the PROPER way. You don't need "women" workouts, we all have the same muscles lol check out scott herman.https://m.youtube.com/user/ScottHermanFitness? and athlean x. https://m.youtube.com/user/JDCav24? on youtube they are very informative and descriptive and have TONS of videos on proper form and just about every exercise you could think of !!
  • cerise_noir
    cerise_noir Posts: 5,468 Member
    Options
    OP, have you considered an actual structured lifting program?
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    One thing you can do is tape/record yourself lifting and compare it to good form videos online, or post your videos to this group:
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/10118-eat-train-progress

    The guys there will help you out.

    Don't be intimidated. Everyone at the gym started where you are.

    sarko15 wrote: »
    Ugh that sounds so uncomfortable and definitely rude..

    No, it is not rude. He was showing her proper form to prevent serious injury. Proper form is crucial.
  • antdelsa
    antdelsa Posts: 174 Member
    Options
    OP, have you considered an actual structured lifting program?
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    One thing you can do is tape/record yourself lifting and compare it to good form videos online, or post your videos to this group:
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/10118-eat-train-progress

    The guys there will help you out.

    Don't be intimidated. Everyone at the gym started where you are.

    sarko15 wrote: »
    Ugh that sounds so uncomfortable and definitely rude..

    No, it is not rude. He was showing her proper form to prevent serious injury. Proper form is crucial.

    This is perfect!! I video myself in the gym all the time to review my form, and another thing you should try to do is workout in front of a mirror as much as you possibly can and watch yourself, look at your form and watch the muscle you are working, really try to get that muscle mind connection.... as Cerise said everyone started where you are now!!!! Definitely no need to be intimidated at all.
  • feisty_bucket
    feisty_bucket Posts: 1,047 Member
    Options
    I have always admired the people who just look like they know what their doing and I am feeling discouraged now, I feel like I should just stick to cardio because its what I know and I dont want to be the uneducated person who other long time lifters shake their head at). I am easily intimidated because I havent a clue to what I am doing but I am trying.

    Noooooo. Lifting is a skill that people learn and develop over their whole lives. You can't just go to, say, a piano and plunk around tunelessly and say "Wow, this is hard," then quit!

    I started lifting when I was 15, am 46 now, and still have tons to learn about "physical culture' and the world of fitness in general. You can engage with it as much or as little as you want, as a hobby. It gives so much in return for the effort.

    Anyways:
    1. kudos for starting
    2. don't stop!

    That guy is one example of "people you meet in the gym." There are many categories; eventually you'll see them all. At some point you'll figure out if he knows what he's talking about or not. For now, just note it, don't injure yourself (priority #1!), and move on.

    Is there any recommendations on perhaps a routine I should follow or a step by step guide?

    About a zillion ;)

    Here are a bunch of things:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/wiki/resources

    For a definite start, this is a good book series:
    http://www.thenewrulesoflifting.com/nrol-for-women


  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,487 Member
    edited November 2016
    Options
    Read through the programmes in the thread @cerise_noir posted.

    Decide which one suits you then study how to do the moves (videos etc) with correct form.
    (I practiced at home with light weights and broom handles so I would know what to do in the gym)

    If your gym only has the 45lbs bar and it is too heavy for you to begin with, start with a dumbbell routine. Even a well balanced, proven routine using machines will be OK to begin with.

    Don't give up. Give yourself time to learn correct form to prevent injury- the guy was just trying to help.

    Don't worry about being one of the few women lifters in your gym. I am the only consistent female afternoon lifter at my gym and the guys are used to me now and just give a nod and carry on with their work.

    Cheers, h.

    Don't be afraid to ask for help either. I learnt a lot by asking the guys if I could watch them.
  • chunkytfg
    chunkytfg Posts: 339 Member
    Options
    Read through the programmes in the thread @cerise_noir posted.

    Decide which one suits you then study how to do the moves (videos etc) with correct form.
    (I practiced at home with light weights and broom handles so I would know what to do in the gym)

    If your gym only has the 45lbs bar and it is too heavy for you to begin with, start with a dumbbell routine. Even a well balanced, proven routine using machines will be OK to begin with.

    Don't give up. Give yourself time to learn correct form to prevent injury- the guy was just trying to help.

    Don't worry about being one of the few women lifters in your gym. I am the only consistent female afternoon lifter at my gym and the guys are used to me now and just give a nod and carry on with their work.

    Cheers, h.

    Also just to add if the gym has boxes or small platforms dont be afraid to lift off them till you feel flexible enough to lift off the floor.

    My trainer has me lifting a bit now as part of my set that I do and I still find myself unable to get down low enough to lift the bar direct off the floor so I use a 3'' platform to just bring it up a touch. Makes things much more comfortable and I find it pulls less on the back.
  • Strength2Succeed
    Strength2Succeed Posts: 126 Member
    Options
    Wow you all have been incredibly fantastic and I really appreciate the feedback and encouragement! I most certainly will not give up thats for sure. I feel most confident on "leg day" because that comes naturally. Its the arm/shoulders/back workouts that I get nervous of because I really do not want to hurt myself.
    I definitely have no trouble with guidance, where I started to feel defeated was when I tried any other arm exercise after that he was right there telling me if it was beneficial or not so I resorted to the machines and he even came over and said it was a junk machine and he would have to show me much better options with weights. I told him a number of times I was just starting out and didnt want to hurt myself or learn too much because I would not retain all the information lol but he just kept going so I decided I could not be interrupted if I went on a cardio machine haha. I have only noticed this guy maybe the past month....I had never seen him before. I admitted I search what I can online through Youtube and Instagram but then I get the reply of "gosh they dont know what they are doing on there". Needless to say I will learn at my own pace when he is not there lol. Thank you so much for the links I will certainly look through them and organize a program :smiley:
    You are all wonderful and thank you for helping me achieve my goals!!
  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,439 Member
    Options
    Just one other comment - be careful about what "advice" you're being given. I've had people give really bad advice (do squats while looking at the ceiling). I knew that wasn't good advice, and kept doing my squats looking straight ahead. He kept watching me to see if I was taking his advice. It was really awkward.

    You can always jump on your phone and check to make sure the advice given is correct.
  • LiftandSkate
    LiftandSkate Posts: 148 Member
    Options
    I highly recommend any program by Nia Shanks, all of which are available for download on her website and include links to videos showing you how to do each exercise. I started with her Beautiful Badass programs several years ago, and return to them over and over again because they are tough, simple, and effective.

    And I would totally ignore that guy. How annoying.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 28,034 Member
    Options
    I'm a yoga teacher, and just as I don't recommend learning yoga from videos, I think it's better to learn lifting from someone who can correct your form. Years ago, I took just a few sessions with a personal trainer, and it was well worth the money. This was a group class at the Y, so it was super cheap, but full price would be a good investment as well.

    I've since developed knee issues and am going to seek a trainer to help me develop a lower body routine. This is just not something I want to cobble together from the internet.
  • AliceDark
    AliceDark Posts: 3,886 Member
    edited November 2016
    Options
    Some of the examples you've given of things he said are big red flags that he doesn't know what he's talking about, like...

    "It was a junk machine and he would have to show me much better options with weights"...some machines are more effective, some are less effective. Some work for some people but not as well for others. Some people might be dealing with injuries or other issues that would make them more likely to choose a machine over free weights, or maybe you HATE the free weight version but can stand to do the machine version, so you pick that just because you want to. He has no idea what is going on with you, so he can't say what a "better" exercise might be.

    "I admitted I search what I can online through Youtube and Instagram but then I get the reply of "gosh they dont know what they are doing on there"...there are TONS of excellent tutorials on YouTube. Probably some terrible ones too, but it's a great resource overall.

    My point is...that guy's an idiot. Don't listen to him :)

    And don't be intimidated by anyone lifting in the gym, either. With very few exceptions, I've found that the serious lifters are the most helpful, enthusiastic people in the gym. (There really aren't that many people who lift, relatively speaking, so people who really enjoy lifting tend to be super encouraging to anyone who might be interested). The people who are rude to newcomers don't tend to be the experienced lifters, so you can pretty much ignore them.
  • ChaleGirl
    ChaleGirl Posts: 270 Member
    Options
    I had a few personal training sessions at a body building gym before I started lifting. I think I did 10 sessions and I use what I learnt in my gym by myself. I'm by no means a "lifter" and feel self conscious sometimes, but I work out a routine of what I learnt and just go to the gym and do it! I use free weights more than the machines. I want to start lifting more and might go back to the trainer to pick up more tips. It was definitely worth it!
  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,658 Member
    Options
    Some advice is good and should be listened to but most advice in the gym is bro-science or at worst, dangerous.

  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,658 Member
    Options
    Jakep2323 wrote: »
    Some advice is good and should be listened to but most advice in the gym is bro-science or at worst, dangerous.

    How come the trainers saying it are in shape?

    Genetics, hard-work, drugs, commitment, years of lifting?!

    Being in shape does not dictate someones knowledge.
  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,658 Member
    Options
    Jakep2323 wrote: »
    Jakep2323 wrote: »
    Some advice is good and should be listened to but most advice in the gym is bro-science or at worst, dangerous.

    How come the trainers saying it are in shape?

    Genetics, hard-work, drugs, commitment, years of lifting?!

    Being in shape does not dictate someones knowledge.

    Well you are in fine shape sir - looking good bud

    Much appreciated thank you.