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How to Plan a Weight Training Program

A good weight training program can really help to focus your workouts and assist you in meeting your goals and objectives. But what is a weight training program and how can you plan one yourself? Read on for more… 


Weight training is a form of strength training that uses weights machines or handheld weights, such as dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells to add a greater challenge to workouts. It offers fantastic benefits such as improved strength and balance, as well as body shaping and weight control. 

Read our What is Weight Training and What Are The Benefits guide for more detail. 


A weight training program is a plan you make to ensure you’re consistently challenging yourself and reaching for your goals as you work out. This can be as simple as written notes to show what types and size of weights you are starting with and how you intend to progress each week or month, or could be a spreadsheet or app on your phone. Ideally, you’ll have this with you in the gym to refer to as you exercise; which will also mean you can also mark up any differences between your plans and your actual achievements as you go.


Creating and sticking to a weight training program means you’re more likely to challenge and drive yourself as you lift, push or pull. You’ll be able to set and meet measurable goals and appreciate all the benefits from challenging yourself and your body in a targeted way. It also means you can easily track your progress and enjoy the successes you’ve achieved.


So much of creating a weight training program comes down to you – your starting point, your goals, your personal commitment. Whether you’re a complete beginner to weight training or have been working out with weights for some time, it’s important to have an idea of all of the below when creating your program. 

Once you’re comfortable that you’re ready to get started, you can start filling out your plan. Here’s a weight training program template that could serve as a useful starting point.

1. Understand your goals

Why are you focusing on weight training? Is it to build muscle, tone your body or lose weight? Perhaps you’d simply like to feel stronger? Maybe it’s to recover or strengthen your muscles after an injury? Or you’re keen to focus on strengthening and shaping one particular part of your body. It could be that you’re hoping to achieve several of these benefits as you train. Understanding your goals is the first step of creating a program, as this could change how you approach your training. For example, working with heavy weights will help to build muscle mass, while lighter weights over more reps is more likely to help build up endurance.

2. Set short and long term objectives

Once you know what you’re hoping to achieve, you can begin to set yourself challenging yet achievable goals to reach. Perhaps you’re hoping to lift a certain weight within 3 months, or would like to bulk up to a certain size. Note this down and aim to work backwards from here when planning your expected progress. It could be that you then realise your goal isn’t quite achievable in your time frame, so you can rework your program, or maybe you might be on track to meet it sooner than you’d thought. Mapping out your objectives will not only help you gain a better and more realistic picture of how and when you’re planning to meet your goals, but it will give you something specific to aim for and successes to celebrate as you achieve them. 

Remember, you won’t build muscle overnight; it might take some time to meet your objectives. Don’t rush yourself and instead enjoy seeing the improvements during your fitness journey.

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Weight Training: What Is It And What Are The Benefits?


Weight training is a form of physical training, which uses weighted objects, like dumbbells and barbells, or weight machines, like plate-loaded kit, to primarily build muscle or improve strength. It can also help to boost power, muscular endurance, and improve overall health. Weight training causes tiny microscopic tears in your muscles, which are then repaired to build stronger, leaner muscle. Read on to find more about different types of weight training and its benefits. 


There’s a huge variety of advantages to weight training, and many individuals find it benefits them in unique ways. These are just a few of our favourite reasons why you should include weight training in your workout plans:

  • Improved strength: With consistent training, you should be able to see great improvements to how much weight you can lift, push or raise. Not only is it satisfying to feel these improvements in the gym, but you’ll also see the benefit when it comes to your daily routines, as well as confidence in your own abilities and strength. To focus on building strength, aim to complete fewer reps with more weight.
  • Support everyday activities: Weight training in the gym can support your everyday life outside the gym, such as being able to carry heavy items (useful for carrying grocery shopping and perfect for moving house!), walking up stairs, or supporting improvements in other sports and activities, like running, football, rowing or tennis. 
  • Build muscle: Lifting weights consistently and over time can help to increase the size of your muscles, and in turn can help to improve strength and change the appearance of your body – which is why bodybuilders adapt this training method. With weight training, you’re able to target the muscles you want to build through exercise selection. We understand not everyone is training to change their appearance or body composition but if you’re looking to bulk up or tone areas of your body, weight training is necessary. 
  • Strengthen bones: After around the age of 30, you start to lose bone density. Putting force on your bones helps them stay strong and can help to reduce the chance of injuries.
  • Better posture: Regular weight training targeting the full body can help to strengthen areas such as the back, shoulders and core, which can help you to sit and stand more upright, improving your posture and stance.
  • Aid weight loss: When losing weight some of the weight lost can be muscle mass. As muscle helps to support and strengthen your body, you would probably want to retain as much as you can when losing weight so it’s a good idea to include weight training into your fitness routine. Plus, your muscle mass can influence your basal metabolic rate, which influences how many calories you naturally burn at rest. 
  • Improve balance: Keeping leg and core muscles strong helps prevent weak and wobbling limbs. Weight training can help keep us sturdier on our feet and less likely to experience falls as we get older. It can also help to address any muscular imbalances, so for example if one arm is stronger than the other, you can perform exercise on the weaker limb to strengthen it.
  • Reduce anxietyStudies have shown that weight training in particular can help lessen symptoms of depression. On top of the confidence boosting benefits of seeing visible improvements in your abilities and your body, weight training also helps provide mood-enhancing endorphins that can ease anxieties and improve your mental wellbeing.
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How to Prepare for Gyms Reopening

After almost four months of the gyms being closed, many of us are excited to finally jump back into a squat rack or onto an exercise bike. However, it’s important to start preparing now to gradually ease yourself back into working out and return to the gym safely.

Here, PureGym fitness expert, Beth Trueman, shares her top tips for returning to the gym.

Start to increase your daily activity now
After a long period of inactivity or training at a lesser intensity, it’s likely that you will experience some kind of muscle soreness (commonly known as DOMS) when you return to the gym. Many seasoned gym goers would have experienced it before, it’s simply our body adjusting to new stimuli. The soreness and tightness is generally temporary and gets less intense once your body adjusts to your new regime. If you’re itching to get back into the gym when it reopens, you should consider gradually increasing your daily activity now to help limit muscle soreness.

Try tempo training
A great way to ramp up your activity in the lead up to the gyms reopening is trying tempo training. Tempo training is simply controlling the speed at which you complete your reps and is a good option to make simple bodyweight exercises like squats more challenging. By slowing down your reps, particularly the eccentric phase (lowering the weight), or by adding in a pause to the movement pattern, you increase the amount of time your muscles are under tension. This makes the whole movement more demanding, making your muscles work harder to complete the reps, whilst also increasing muscle fibre recruitment.

Start stretching to prepare your body
Keeping your body mobile and flexible helps keep your muscles active and plays a huge role in injury prevention. The saying “use it or lose it” applies here, particularly when many of us will have found ourselves sat down a lot more than usual during lockdown. Try to include a couple of stretching and mobility sessions a week to reduce tension and tightness. Not only will this help you transition back into the gym and reduce your chance of injury but it can also help with exercise form and improve your range of motion.

Build up volume and intensity gradually
For many of us, lockdown has meant training at a lower intensity and making do with what we have, such as; squatting with tins of beans or curling bags of sugar. Therefore, it’s completely normal that your strength and stamina may have taken a little hit in the process.

Your body needs time to adapt in order to avoid injury. Be patient with your body and focus on gradually building up the intensity and volume of your training sessions again. If you’re lifting weights, look to reduce the amount of weight, the number of reps or both when you first come back to the gym, then increase it again gradually as you get back into your routine. For cardio, consider reducing both the intensity and length of your workouts and consider adding some gentle active recovery sessions into your weekly regime instead of going flat out.

Be patient when you return
Above all else, be patient with yourself and your training when you return. Remember, going in too hard or too fast will only slow down your progress in the long term, so strip back your workouts and don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not working out at the same level as you were before lockdown. The most important thing is that you return to the gym safely and stay injury free.

Information on the changes PureGym are making to keep their members safe, along with FAQs and tips on keeping the gym a safe environment, can be found here:

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Back To The Gym: The PureGym Re-Induction

Welcome back! Since January 6th, we’ve missed our members and are so excited to have you returning back to our gyms across the country. Starting with England on April 12th and with our Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland gyms following, we’re ready to welcome you back into a COVID-safe environment, purpose built to help improve your health and reach whatever goals you have set for the rest of 2021.

However, we are mindful that it’s been a while since we last met, and have seen that Google searches in just the last two weeks for ‘how to get fit’ have rocketed by some 170%! So, to help you ease into life at the gym, whether you’re a new member or old, we’ve created a dedicated Re-Induction to help. From getting accustomed to the surroundings of the gym again, to dealing with nerves and getting started with some workouts – we’ve got you covered. Simply read on for returning to the gym!

Following the first lockdown in March 2020, we developed TrainSafe, a complete reconfiguration of all of our gyms to ensure an environment that is good for your health in every way. This includes socially distanced workout areas for everything from the treadmills to the free weights, in addition to extensive and frequent cleaning, self-cleaning stations and contactless entry via the free PureGym app. See for yourself as our Leeds City Centre North gym manager Josh talks you through what you can expect when entering one of our gyms for the first time (or at least the first time in a long time!)

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7 Advanced Counter-Punches for Southpaws

Once you’ve fought as a southpaw long enough, you’ll realize it’s always a game to see to who can land their back cross. It’s a bunch of feints, reach-ins, and pull-backs, before someone eventually lands their cross. Either the orthodox fighter lands his RIGHT cross or the southpaw fighter lands his LEFT cross. It’s almost like no other punch matters as much.

It makes sense since it’s very hard to land hooks in orthodox-southpaw match-ups. The foot positions make it so that you’re either landing weak little jabs or big crosses. And it’s likely that whoever lands more crosses is probably winning the fight.

The advanced counters I share in this guide will help you get beyond just thinking about the cross. It’ll help you get into positions to make your right hook a threat, which in turn, makes your left cross an even bigger threat! I’ll also show you some new angles to threaten with your left hand so that’s it’s not just a predictable straight left every time.

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Advanced Boxing Head Movement (PART 1) – The Evasion Dance

I’m sure you’ve seen it before…Muhammad Ali, Nicolino Locche, Pernell Whitaker, Prince Naseem, Vasily Lomachenko, and more.

They just got that super slick flashy head movement that lets them dance around RIGHT IN FRONT of their opponents without getting hit. Sometimes they do it to escape from the corner. Others times they do it make their opponent look silly. Or also when they’re hurt from body shots and trying to survive. There are many reasons why you might want this skill!

Let’s be real…nobody reading this site is good enough to copy them (that includes me), but in the spirit of artistic appreciation…let’s make our best attempt!

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Secret to Keeping Your HANDS UP in Boxing

Yes, really. Keep your head slightly in front of your shoulders, and your shoulders slightly in front of your hips. You don’t have to learn forward all the way in. You can do just the slightest amount!

If you notice, the more experienced fighters have no issues leaning forward. They love being aggressive and getting into their opponent’s space. They love reaching in with big shots and being psychologically imposing. Their body position is more likely to go forwards and leaning their upper body forward makes it easier to put them in motion and in balance to go FORWARD.

The less experienced fighters tend to do the exact opposite. They like to lean backward and keep their head as far away from their opponent as possible. Unfortunately, this means they’ll be leaning back and usually leads to being pushed even further back, losing balance and losing ground.

And if you’re leaning backwards and don’t want to fall back, guess what happens…something in your body has to go forward to counteract the backwards momentum, since you can’t bring upper body forward (because you don’t want to, or because you’re getting pushed back already) the natural response will be to take your hands off your face and move forward and down to try and rebalance yourself. It’s the same natural instinct of how people flail their arms forward when their chair tilts back suddenly off balance.

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How to AVOID getting knocked out (in a fight)

I’m not gonna lie. It sucks to get knocked out! You can feel it. I’ve never really been knocked out and even still, I’m deathly afraid of it happening to me. Dare I say it, I think the fear of getting knocked out is probably worse than actually getting knocked out.

In fact, the fear of getting knocked out will change your style. It will definitely affect you as a fighter, especially if it’s happened before. Part of me wonders whether that fear will help you or hurt you in the ring. Part of me wonders if that fear might make you even more susceptible to getting knocked out.

And for those who HAVE been knocked out…it’s a number of things. Sometimes it’s physical pain but it can also be psychological pain. The humiliation and embarrassment. Maybe the other fighter talked a lot of trash. Or maybe you got knocked out in front of all your friends and girlfriend/boyfriend…ARGHHH!!! SUCKS!!!!

The right amount of cautiousness

I believe there’s a right amount of cautiousness your opponent’s punches. The first step is to respect your opponent and keep yourself defensively-responsible. The second step is to learn how to see incoming knockout punches, to swim with them, even get comfortable with them. And the final step, is to use them to your advantage!…countering your opponent’s knockout punches so you can knock them out!

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6 EARLY Knockout Punch Combos

They are so deadly, then often finish fights before they even begin. Do it right and you’ll drop your opponents right on top of their own feet. (They won’t even fall; they’ll just crumble downwards.) You should learn these combos to rack up your KO percentage, or at least prevent them from happening to you!

These early knockouts are sometimes surprisingly easy because many fighters are trying to RELAX when they come out. They’re trying to stay calm and get a feel for the fight. If you’re cagey enough, you can steal the fight and knock them out before he/she even gets started. They won’t even know what hit them.

Ready to start some chaos? (Of course, you are!)

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Home Workouts to Lose Weight and Build Muscle

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