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Workout Guide: How To Start Lifting

By Sarah Prahl August 30, 2021 No Comments

If you want to lift heavier weights, our workout guide will get you started on weight training basics and give you an easy 4 Week Plan to follow.

Here’s a 4 Week Plan to increase your lifting weight over one month. Follow this plan for four weeks, then repeat for another round for your long-term goals. Each session, we anticipate increasing either the weight or reps as you improve.

To avoid injury and muscle pain, experts don’t recommend increasing weight by more than 5-10% each week at a time. Try to lift the same weight for about 1-2 weeks, practicing the movement, speed, and repetitions. Do what’s safe and appropriate for your body. If you require any further information before making a start please get in touch with the number one gym in Mandurah.

Exercises included in the 4 Week Plan:

  • Barbell Deadlifts
  • Barbell Squats
  • Barbell Row
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press

To Start

Find your starting weight. Depending on your current strength level, you might start with the lightest possible weight. If you’ve lifted before, you might already lift a specific weight.

If you can achieve the target reps for the program, you can increase the weight for the next set. The weight is too heavy if you can’t reach the target repetitions for the program.

There’s space to track your working weight (Week 1 – Target reps, and then 5-10% increases each week after) on the 4 Week Plan PDF. Increasing the weight per week is optional, but it is nice to have goals per week. A barbell weighs approx. 20kgs; beginners can start with this. 


You need to warm up before lifting weights. You can warm up with light cardio (5-10mins), a few reps of bodyweight movements, and the strength movement you’ll perform.

Sets and Reps

Place your weights on the bench or rack. Perform 8-12 reps of each exercise for three sets, with a 60-120 second break in between each exercise. Aim for 2-3 weight training sessions per week, with 1-3 rest days in between.


Don’t overdo it! You might want to do more sets, but you should keep a steady pace. Monitor your body’s feelings the next day.

Some soreness is normal, but you might need to decrease the weight or rest more if there’s extreme pain. If there’s persistent pain, it’s best to see a physician.

Follow the Plan

Do your best to follow the 4 Week Plan, and repeat the program with a 5-10% weight increase each week. 


Barbell Deadlifts

Step #1. Put your feet facing forward, parallel to each other, side-by-side, and directly under your hips. With your shins about 1-2cm behind the bar, grip it with your hands directly below your shoulders.

Step #2. Keep your arms straight and unbent on the outside of your legs. Try to let the inside of your elbows touch the outer area of your knees. Move your hips back, then let your knees come forward until your shins make very light contact with the bar.

Step #3. It’s all right to have more bend through the hips than through the knees. Pull your lats down and stabilize your entire torso with a deep breath. Your body does a hip and knee extension when you lift the bar from the floor.

Step #4. Don’t let your spine flex forward. Lift the bar to the top, up to complete lockout, focusing pushing your hips to the front. You don’t need to lean back beyond vertical once you’re at the top. With the same breathing and bracing technique, push your hips back while lowering the bar.

Barbell Squats 

Step #1. Set up the rack at your chest’s height, then place the bar on the upper back. Comfortably grip the bar close to your shoulders.

Step #2. Take 2-3 small steps after lifting the bar off the racks and take 2-3 minimal steps backward. You can also place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and your toes pointing slightly out at 11 and 1 o’clock.

Step #3. Slide the hips back while bending your knees. Your middle toes and knees should align. Your heels should stay on the floor.

Step #4. Try to lower until a ‘thigh parallel.’ You should maintain your back and head alignment. To go back up, reverse the movement. 

Barbell Row (Bent-over Row) 

Step #1. Grip the bar slightly wider than hip-width. Your thumbs should be able to reach your thighs.

Step #2. Position yourself halfway through a deadlift or the ‘bent over phase.’ Pull your shoulders back while lifting the barbell towards the target position (between the navel and lower sternum).

Dumbbell Bench Press

Step #1. Lie back on the bench, put your feet flat on the floor, and hold the dumbbells directly above your shoulders. When lowering, drive your shoulders into the bench while maintaining mid-back muscle contraction.

Step #2. Lower the dumbbells towards your armpits while maintaining a 45-degree angle with your elbows from your torso. Return to the starting form. 

Dumbbell Shoulder Press 

Step #1. Sit on the bench and put your feet flat on the floor, then hold the dumbbells at your shoulder. Press the dumbbells over your shoulders’ top point with your palms facing forward.

Step #2. Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder level. Keep your pelvis in an anterior tilt so your back won’t arch.

You can chat with club staff about finding the perfect Personal Trainer for you. Our PTs can provide you with a personalized workout plan with a wide variety of exercises and techniques. They can also check and correct your technique, which is the most crucial element of weight training.

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