There are few workouts as intimidating for newbies as weight training. Often, simply walking into the weight room at your gym can be the most significant barrier to overcome on your journey to building muscle. Plus, there is much to learn even before you pick up your first dumbbell – from deadlifts to clean pulls, barbells to kettlebells.
We asked CrossFit athlete, fitness influencer, and Polar Ambassador Alice Mastriani for her insights on how to start weightlifting. Hailing from Rome, Italy, Alice has not only gained a dedicated fanbase from her success in weightlifting competitions but has become both a CrossFit trainer and an osteopath. From supportive exercises to the importance of using a trainer, let Alice inspire you to kick start your weight training.
Hi Alice! Has sport and fitness always been a passion for you?
Yes! I have been doing sports since I was a child. I have practiced swimming, volleyball, and karate for many years and have focused specifically on CrossFit for the past six years.
When was the first time you lifted some weights?
I learned how to start weightlifting as part of my CrossFit training, first starting with the barbell.
Has CrossFit enhanced your use of weights in your workouts?
Absolutely yes! For some months, I dedicated all my training exclusively to weightlifting, doing numerous competitions in this area.
Your TikTok features an impressive video of you lifting a range of weights from 45-70kg, making it look so easy (especially as you are pregnant). What’s the maximum weight you’ve ever lifted?
Thanks! My record in clean and jerk (the movement you refer to) is 100kg!
Have you noticed an increased interest from women in strength training and weightlifting in the past few years?
Yes, certainly. In recent years, the number of women who train with weights has increased, and they have a positive view of the physique they build in this way.
Also, the number of people who see all this ‘normal’ has increased, instead of viewing women who train like this as masculine. Strong women with muscles are becoming commonplace.
Is it essential for new weightlifters to work with a trainer?
Yes, absolutely. Strength training is certainly important and necessary, but training and learning the technique is the first thing to do. Weightlifting involves very complex movements, so for this reason, we need someone competent to teach us to perform the movements correctly.
If you learn the technique well, weightlifting is a very safe sport and brings many benefits (see below), but you risk getting hurt if you don’t learn the technique.
Which Polar device do you currently use, and what is your favorite feature?
I use Polar H10 heart rate monitor in almost all my training sessions – be it circuit training, HIIT, or weightlifting – and monitor my progress with the Polar Flow app. When I’m not using a chest strap, I use my Polar Ignite 2.
Which supportive exercises are good for new weightlifters to include in their workouts?
All the key exercises that develop basic strength are important, such as:
- squats (front and back)
- flat bench press
Do not forget the training of the core muscles (torso and abdomen) and exercises that increase explosive strength are also fundamental in weightlifting.
What are some good goals for new weightlifters to have?
Goals always help to be consistent and motivated in daily workouts! So, a new weightlifter can set themselves some goals like aiming for some competitions or increasing their ceilings in a given period of time.
Do you have any other advice for someone who wants to learn how to start weightlifting?
It is a fascinating sport, which, if done correctly, helps prevent or treat numerous physical problems such as recurring back pain. Having toned and trained muscles reduces the possibility of incurring pain or injuries. Always rely on experts and play sports while always having fun!
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.