Hollyoaks’ Sarah Jayne Dunn and her fellow gym-goers share their advice

New to weight training? With these 9 handy hints from UP Fitness clients, you’ll have mastered the dumbbells in no time…

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1. ‘Don’t be scared of lifting weights’ – Carolyn

It sounds scarier than it is. We naturally think that weightlifting is very technical and complicated, but your PT guides you through it: you begin to understand how it all works together, and you more feel confident about lifting heavy.

2. ‘Learn to feel the right muscles working and you will get in great shape’ – Rachael

Work with a trainer until you feel confident: they’ll help you with the correct technique and encourage you. Once you’ve done the moves a few times and feel comfortable, you’ll know what feels right and which muscles should be working on which exercise.  

Once you feel a bit more confident to go it alone, believe in yourself - know you won’t break, and don’t be scared to up the weights so you progress! Oh and ladies, you won’t get bulky if you weight train; you lack the hormone testosterone needed to bulk up. You will, however, get in badass shape! 

3. ‘Technique is everything, so perfect every single rep’ – David

The best tip for anyone lifting weights for the first time is simply to concentrate on form for every rep. Form is everything.

4. ‘Follow a structured training program and you’ll see results’ – Cesar

At Ultimate Performance, you have the best trainers in the world pushing you to the limit and following a proven method. You just need to follow what they say and stick to the training plan. I was getting my posture corrected at all times until I got my technique right, helping to isolate muscles properly and avoid injury. 

Apart from the typical aches and pains one or two days later (which you get used to), I never had an injury - all because I followed my trainer’s advice at all times.

5. ‘Start off slow and listen to your trainer’ – Bhaskar

Start slow and trust your personal trainer to guide you. They know how much your body can start with and will push you, slowly but surely, to increase the weights and help you progress. They’re monitoring your body movements all the time and will cut back when your body isn’t able to handle it. So just do as your trainer says!

6. ‘Perfect your technique before increasing the load’ – Paul

We’ve all been there at some point in our weightlifting lives. Start off light and make sure you perfect your form, really concentrating on tension on the muscle group you are working. Once you’re comfortable you’re doing it right, start progressing every week by going heavier or doing more reps each time. But always remember, form remains key.

7. ‘Track your progress in every session’ – Ben

It’s easy to just turn up to the gym, not have a clue what you’re doing, and just do a random workout on a load of different machines. But this unplanned and scattergun approach is the quickest way to get bored, become unmotivated and see any limited progress rapidly stagnate. 

You need a training program you can follow, that’s built around your goals, that will enable you to progress - session to session, week to week, month to month - and that is set up to get results. The only way to get results is to keep improving in every session; whether that’s lifting heavier, adding more intensity, or pushing out a few extra reps. 

That’s why it’s so important to track your workouts; having a written account of your progress will keep you motivated and accountable. 

8. ‘Focus on quality work, be patient and strength will come’ – Kamran

It can definitely feel daunting. I remember the first time I held a heavy barbell over me, I kept thinking ‘am I going to be able to hold this?’ The strength comes eventually, so be patient and keep working hard. 

Also, don’t worry too much on the actual numbers or weight you are moving – concentrate on perfect form. You will be amazed at how heavy 4kg dumbbells can feel!

9. ‘Always start light and work your way up’ – Sarah Jayne Dunn

Start light to get your technique correct so as not to injure yourself, and listen to your body. Once you've done this, you can increase your weight gradually to challenge yourself and keep on beating your personal bests!