If you're a beginner at weightlifting, there are a few things you should consider before you become a professional.
Whether you already have weightlifting equipment in your home or you are considering investing in some, it's wise to have a plan in place to understand what you are trying to achieve.
Set yourself sensible goals
First of all, when you're a beginner at anything, you need to know the basics.
Using heavier weights with fewer repetitions helps muscle mass and size; lighter weights with greater repetitions gain muscle tone.
That's not to say go heavy straight away.
Create a goal that is achievable with effort, and over a sensible time frame.
Beginner's enthusiasm can often lead to a 'too-much, too-soon' attitude!
Build a positive mental attitude
Focus on your goals.
What are you trying to achieve?
How can you realistically achieve those goals?
By being at peace in your mental state - you are more likely to achieve what you set out to.
Partner up if possible
If you can find a like-minded training partner, you can inspire and encourage each other.
If your partner is more experienced, you can learn from how they have progressed.
If it's another newbie, you can enjoy taking the journey together.
Adopt sensible preparation & recovery routines
Firstly, especially with early enthusiasm for your new regime, don't overdo your activities.
It's recommended that, in the beginning, you lift no more than every other day.
As time passes, aim for at least two days of recovery in a week - and always get enough sleep as rest is vital.
Pay attention to your diet; protein is important for building muscle mass, but it is also important to maintain a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of vegetables.
Stretch and flex before, after and during your lifting sessions.
This keeps your blood flowing and helps prevent injury and aching.
Always check you are adopting a proper posture - use a mirror or partner to check - this makes sure you gain the maximum from your workouts.
Actions to take as you progress
As you get into weightlifting, there are a few key tips to help you develop your programme and activities...
1. Build up the weights you use
Start carefully and steadily with lighter weights.
It's good then to gradually, over time, increase the weights you use.
Experts suggest adding about an extra five kilograms each month to bench presses is a sensible guide.
2. Vary the muscle groups you target
This avoids overworking one area to the detriment of overall body improvements.
Target shoulders and back in your upper body; and chest, biceps, and triceps in your mid-section.
Remember to work on your legs: thighs, calves and hamstrings.
This area can be neglected by some beginners, but your aim should be to improve your body strength and definition in proportion.
Weightlifting is a fun and satisfying activity.
But, before you start, always talk it through with your physician.
Always make sure you have a spotter to help you and that you carefully learn how to safely use your weightlifting equipment.