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5 Things You *Must* Have in Your Weight Training Routine

Everyone’s on their own personal fitness and wellness journey. Being introduced to the world of weight training can be extremely exciting, but it can also be daunting. There are endless factors to consider when trying to lose weight, gain muscle or both. There are also many different routes you can take to achieve your goals. However, some things are simply a must-have in your workout routine to maximize your progress and productivity. Here are some staple items that I’ve added to my routine over the years.

A Barbell Pad

If you’re a fan of barbell hip thrusts or squats, I highly recommend investing in a barbell pad. Without using one, heavier weights may leave you with bruises on the back of your neck, shoulders and hips. Instead of using a yoga mat to help with the load, opting for a barbell pad is much more effective. Not only is the pad easy to take on and off the barbell, but it’s rather inexpensive and can easily fit in your workout bag. 

Post-workout Protein Shake

Throughout the time I’ve spent working out, perhaps the most crucial thing I’ve learned is the importance of protein in muscle growth, performance optimization and recovery. Protein has been proven to increase muscle development and strength when implemented in a workout regimen. Though there are conflicting opinions on the magic window in which you should consume protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, I always try to drink a protein shake within the first hour after a workout. However, some studies suggest that you can consume protein up to 24 hours after a workout and achieve similar results. Either way, consuming protein post-workout is a good idea for anyone lifting weights for muscle growth purposes.

Resistance Bands
Yoga
Kristine Mahan / Spoon

Resistance bands have become a topic of contention in the fitness world, thanks to the stark increase in resistance-band workouts commonly promoted by Instagram fitness influencers. Though it’s clear that resistance bands alone will not yield the same results as weight training, they can certainly provide benefits for accessory work and muscle activation. Using resistance bands for warm-up training or for added difficulty with weighted exercises can definitely help optimize your progress!

A Personalized Gym Schedule

Not only is the quality of your workouts important, but the quantity is too! It’s important to ensure that you’re hitting up the gym enough to make real progress. But it’s equally important that you aren’t overworking your muscles by working out too much, which will consequently lead to exhaustion, a halt in your progress, and even possible injury. For instance, many fitness experts agree that the recommended quantity of glute, quad and hamstring (i.e. lower body) workouts is around two to three times per week. Try to come up with a routine that works for you based upon your availability and fitness goals. 

A Positive Attitude

As I said before, weight lifting can certainly be intimidating for people just starting out with it. Learning proper form with exercises, using certain machines, and simply navigating the gym floor may bring about fear and anxiety. This is especially true when you’re comparing yourself and your progress to those around you out of insecurity. The most important thing to bring to your workout routine each and every time is a positive attitude. Believing that you can work on yourself, for yourself, and focusing solely on your own progress, will fuel an obsession with working out that will change your life. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is the person you were before!

Jordan Best

Queen's U '21

Jordan Best is a Psychology student at Queen's University. She loves travelling, meeting new people, and spending time with friends. She hopes to share her advice and experiences in life through her writing.
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