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I'm a college runner with a 14 month injury that doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon.

So I decided I may as well take up weight-training instead. I absolutely hate lifting weights, but, uh, apparently girls don't find 135 lb runners with a 15:20 5k attractive. Who knew.

I want to come up with a weight workout routine, but honestly I have no idea where to begin. My only goal is to get a "normal" or slightly above normal amount of strength as quickly as possible, so I don't look like a stick (my arms are thinner than most girls).

I know that for running, twice a day and 100 miles a week gets you good pretty quickly, but I've heard some people say that's its not good to lift weights every day. Is this true?

And do I want to do low reps, high weight, or high reps, low weight, or somewhere in between?

I don't even know what sorts of things to do. Machines or free weights? How long of a workout -- 30 minutes, an hour and half?

Thanks!

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1  
There was a good weightlifting primer posted on the blog a couple months ago. –  Joshua Carmody Sep 18 '11 at 4:22
    
Nice article, thanks! –  Nick Sep 18 '11 at 18:43
    
If you want to build your self up, weight lifting is only 1/2 of the puzzle. You also have to eat a lot of (quality) food. –  Mongus Pong Sep 19 '11 at 9:14
    
Pushups are also a great way to build strength! menshealth.com/fitness/pushups-muscle-building –  Froob Sep 22 '11 at 5:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

You don't need to lift weights every day. Your muscles need recovery time.

If you do want to lift every day, you'd rotate so that you're exercising different muscle groups on different days.

You should let any specific muscle group recover for 2-3 days after working it. If you're exercising your whole body at each workout (which is more normal for beginners), then you would exercise 2-3 days a week, with at 1-2 days of rest in between.

You can mix machines and free weights. In the long run, free weights are "better", but it's easier to get started with machines, and then mix in free-weight exercises as your strength improves.

Regarding reps/weight: start with a weight where you can do between 6 and 15 reps, and do 2-4 sets. When a weight gets easy and you get to the higher range, then increase the weight.

After a while, this will get awfully boring, and your body will get used to it. Then it's time to mix it up - do high weight/low reps for a while, and then switch to low weight/high reps. It'll make it more interesting, and your body will have to work harder to deal with the change.

Don't forget to stretch. Also, if your injuries permit, try to keep some kind of cardio exercise in the mix -- maybe on the days you're not lifting.

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Just what I was looking for. Thanks! –  Nick Sep 18 '11 at 18:43
    
Hey, a decent weightlifting answer with no mention to Rippetoe's book! Wow, I am going to print it! (+1) –  Mephisto Aug 9 '13 at 18:42

If you hate lifting weights, you could try other means of building the upper body. Gymnastics exercises for example are great for building upper body strength. Working on the rings is an especially good way to work upper body strength. One good resource for gymnastics strength training is http://gymnasticbodies.com

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