Weight training is a term that references the use of weights for the purpose of exercising and strengthening muscles. Sometimes, weight training is referred to as strength training, but there are more benefits to weight training then increased muscle strength.
Using various weight training equipment, the basic concept is to strengthen your muscles by working against the force of gravity. The heavier the weight that you use, the harder your muscle has to work and the stronger that muscle will get.
Skeletal muscles are the muscles that are strengthened during weight training and are primarily responsible for supporting the skeleton and helping it move.
The stronger these muscles are, the better your overall physical condition is.
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The Benefits of Weight Training
In addition to benefiting from a stronger muscular-skeletal frame, weight training has many advantages:
Toned muscles look great and can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis because strong muscles can help protect your bones.
When you work out with weights, you increase your metabolism, which helps you burn more fat. This is important to note because muscle weighs more than fat, so when you start a weight training program you may discover your scale weight increasing.
Since you are building muscle, gaining weight when you are weight training is perfectly acceptable. The muscle will help you burn more calories and fat, so you will lose inches in appearance and look leaner even if your physical weight is not decreasing.
Do not despair: your muscle to fat ratio will show your true “weight”.
Precautions When Weight Training
As with all exercise, it is recommended to check with your doctor before beginning any new weight training regimen.
While weight training is highly beneficial and recommended by doctors, it may not be a healthy choice for everyone and certain precautions must always be followed.
Problems with specific muscles or joints should definitely be discussed with a doctor before you create your workout plan. You also need to clear with your physician any heart disorders, high blood pressure, or seizures.
Once you have the go-ahead to start your weight training program, you can begin your workout plan. Be sure to follow safety guidelines on all exercises to avoid the risk of injuries:
Learn proper breathing techniques to avoid holding your breath in order to keep the oxygen flowing.
Warming up by gently stretching your muscles before you begin weight training is just as important as cooling down and stretching your muscles after your weight training exercises are complete.
Always start with a light weight until your muscles build the necessary endurance to take on the challenge of a heavier weight.
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Weight Training Tools
There are several weight training tools that are needed whether you are working out at home or at the gym.
Some weight machines will most likely only be available at a workout facility, but many weight training exercises can be done at home with the use of dumbbells or a barbell.
Dumbbells are a very common weight training tool. They range in weight, starting as low as two pounds and exceeding 100 pounds so that you can vary the weight needed based on your different muscles.
With some dumbbell exercises you may need a flat bench or chair, and sometimes an incline bench can be handy.
A barbell weighs approximately 45 pounds by itself. You can increase the weight of a barbell by adding weight plates to it. Barbells can sometimes be used on a flat bench or an incline bench, and often times a squat rack can be used for assistance.
Some additional tools you may want to consider for weight training include grip gloves, which are fingerless gloves with padded palms to help you hold onto the weights better.
You also may want to invest in a weightlifting belt, which some trainers believe help support your back during weight training.
In some instances, a partner or a spotter is useful to have around, especially for awkward grips or experimenting with heavier weights. Avoid doing any exercises that require another person if you do not have someone available to assist you.
Weight training is only beneficial if you do not get injured.
Water is the number one tool for all of your exercises. It is important to stay hydrated and to sip water throughout your workout.
This is especially the case when you are weight training since water is an important component to the healing of your muscles as you tear them down and rebuild them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How many days a week should I exercise?
Three to five workouts a week is recommended for best results.
How do I create my own weight training workout plan?
You can either sign up for an Exercise.com PRO membership or enlist the help of a personal trainer!
What is proper weight training form?
In order to learn proper weight training form, meet with a personal trainer so that they can walk you through the proper technique needed for a wide variety of lifts and exercises.
Now that you understand how beneficial weight training is, sign up for an Exercise.com PRO plan so you can get started with weight training today!