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How to Lift Weights for Weight Loss: A Beginner’s Guide

Lifting weights is a good way to lose weight, build muscle, and make your health better. Here are some tips and a sample plan to help you start.

  • Lift weights 2-4 times per week. This will give you enough push to build muscle and burn calories, while giving enough rest time for your muscles to grow and heal. You can pick the days that fit your schedule, but make sure to have at least one rest day between sessions.
  • Focus on compound exercises. Compound exercises are movements that work many muscle groups at once, such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, and pull-ups. They are better for weight loss than isolation exercises, which only work one muscle group, such as bicep curls or leg extensions. Compound exercises also burn more calories, make your metabolism faster, and make your strength and coordination better.
  • Follow a full-body circuit way. A circuit is a series of exercises that you do one after another, with little or no rest between them. This will keep your heart rate high and increase your cardio effect, which will help you burn more fat and calories. You can pick any exercises you like, but try to include at least one exercise for each big muscle group: chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, and core. For example, you can do a circuit of squats, push-ups, rows, lunges, overhead presses, and planks. Do the circuit 2-4 times, resting for 1-2 minutes between circuits.

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  • Always try to lift as heavy as you can within your target rep range. The rep range is the number of times you do an exercise before resting. For weight loss, a good rep range is 8-15 reps per set. This will make enough pressure and tiredness in your muscles to make them grow and burn calories. To find the right weight for each exercise, pick a weight that lets you do the lowest number of reps with good form, but not more than the highest number of reps. For example, if your rep range is 10-12 reps, pick a weight that you can lift for 10 reps, but not 13 reps. If you can lift more than the highest number of reps, make the weight higher. If you can’t lift the lowest number of reps, make the weight lower.
  • Higher volumes are important to make the EPOC effect higher. EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen use, which is the amount of oxygen your body uses to recover and fix after a workout. The higher the EPOC, the more calories you burn after your workout. One way to make your EPOC higher is to do more sets and reps of each exercise. For example, instead of doing 3 sets of 10 reps, you can do 4 sets of 12 reps. This will make the total volume of your workout higher, and make your muscles work harder and longer.

Here is a sample weight loss lifting plan for one week, based on a 4-day split. You can change the exercises, sets, reps, and weights according to what you like and need.

Monday: Chest and Triceps

  • Bench press: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Incline dumbbell press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Chest fly: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Triceps pushdown: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Overhead triceps extension: 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Tuesday: Rest or cardio

Wednesday: Back and Biceps

  • Deadlift: 4 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Bent-over row: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Lat pulldown: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Bicep curl: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hammer curl: 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Thursday: Rest or cardio

Friday: Shoulders and Legs

  • Squat: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 10-15 reps per leg
  • Leg curl: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Overhead press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Lateral raise: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Front raise: 3 sets of 15-20 reps

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