Pump It Up: A Weightlifting Primer

Pump It Up

As a longtime student of the sweet science of resistance training, I thought it might be helpful to reintroduce the Pump It Up column with a few foundational elements of weightlifting.

Warming Up: It is imperative that you do some kind of five to ten minute warm-up before every workout. This gets the heart pumping, the blood and oxygen circulating, the synovial fluid flowing (which is kind of like an internal lubricant for the joints), and the muscles and tendons loosened up, all of which helps to safeguard against injury and prepare you for a great session.

Reps And Sets: As you engage a given exercise for a particular body part, you will be dealing with reps and sets. A rep (short for “repetition”) is one complete, start-to-finish movement of an exercise. A set is a series of reps, usually in the five to fifteen range, that you’ll perform for each movement. At the early stages, you’ll typically only do one or two sets per body part, just to get your body acclimated. Later, as you’ll want to increase the intensity of your program, you will increase the number of sets.

Proper Breathing: Be sure to exhale during the strenuous part of the rep and inhale as you return to the starting point.

Proper Form: For maximum results, and to avoid injury, make sure you learn proper form on every exercise you do.

Frequency: You will train each body part anywhere from one to three times a week, based on a number of factors. And you will always want to wait at least 48 hours before training the same body part again to allow for proper recuperation time.

Intensity: As you perform a given movement, you want it to be increasingly difficult throughout each set as you feel that distinctive burn in your muscles. This ensures that you are truly experiencing resistance and your body will respond accordingly. If you are having difficulty reaching that burn point toward the latter part of your sets, it’s time to crank up the intensity by doing one or more of the following: Increase the amount of weight you’re lifting; increase the number of reps at a heavier weight; do more overall sets of a particular exercise; or employ any number of other intensity techniques that we’ll be covering later.

Until next time, keep on pumpin’!

Bobby Rock is a drummer, author, educator, and a health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition, and meditation.