Weight training is a form of strength training that is meant to help you increase the size of your skeletal muscles and your strength. This type of training achieves its goals by using weights for resistance as they provide the required stress for your muscles. This in return makes your muscles to be stronger and also to adopt.
The Golden Rules of Weight Training
There are general principles that everyone interested in getting the best results from this kind of training should and some of them include:
- Warm-up every time before starting your training
This is very important in every type of excise as it helps to warm your muscles making them less prone to injuries. There are a million ways of warming up and some of them are such as having an aerobics session or even jogging.
- Brush up on a proper training techniques
Without using the proper techniques you can’t reap the benefits of weight training. This is why you should ensure that you have an experienced trainer under your wing if you are a beginner to guide you through the correct technique and form of weight training.
- Remember to rest
Having some time off (like a full day) between exercising a particular group of muscles is very essential as it allows them to recover. This means that you choose to have daily sessions for individual groups of muscles in a week.
For instance, on Monday you can concentrate on your legs while on Tuesday you concentrate on your abdomen. Alternatively, you can work out all primary muscles at a single session for two to three days a week.
- Do not start in a hurry
This is for the beginners and if you fall into this category; avoid trying to walk before you crawl. You should be comfortable with the weight you can lift. Start slowly and build on your progress as your muscles will get used to the weight and you will be able to handle more weight. This also helps to avoid injury.
- Do repetitions
Repetitions are amazing and they have been proven to work wonders and a good example is the StrongLifts 5×5 that is meant for strength training. Doing a set of single repetitions is your golden ticket in gaining muscle mass. For this, the trick is to do those sets with a weight that makes your muscles fatigue.
- Use proper weight
This is one of the most common questions that people have; so which is the proper weight for this kind of training? There is no single answer to this question as we are all different.
The best weight for you is the weight which is heavy enough to burn out your muscles after about 10 repetitions. This means that if a weight is making you struggle when finishing your last repetition, then it’s the proper weight for you.
History Of Weight Training
Weight lifting is without a doubt not a new thing as traces of the lineage of weightlifting have been found in texts that date thousands of years ago. The reason why this is the case is that tests of strength as a competitive sport have been in existence for a long time.
One of the earliest pieces of evidence gathered to-date about weightlifting dates goes back to China’s Zhou Dynasty (one of the most resilient dynasties of ancient China).
Benefits Of Weight Training
So why should you do weight training? Other than gaining more strength and increasing the size of your muscles, weight training has many more benefits for both men and women. Some of these benefits include:
- Helps to change your body shape
For women who want to slim, weight training can help you to achieve that figure by creating new curves. This also applies to men as weight training helps men to have a well-toned body.
- Builds stronger bones
This is for both men and women as weight training helps to maintain and to build bone mass which leads to better balance and flexibility.
- Improves your sex life
Men who do weight training have a much better sex life compared to those who don’t. This is because it helps your body to produce testosterone which is the hormone that is responsible for regulation sperm production and of your sex drive among other things.
- It helps you to burn fat
This is for both men and women. It has been proven that weight lifting helps overweight men and women to lose fat and to gain muscle instead. Weight training has been proven to be more effective when it comes to burning fat than cardio and high-intensity interval training.
- Improves your sports fitness
Having more strength and muscles will help you in all sports activities you will be undertaking be it football, swimming, basketball, or even cycling.
Equipment To Use For Weight Training
There are two main categories of weight training pieces of equipment and they are:
1. Free Weights
Free weights are weight training pieces of equipment that are not connected to an external apparatus hence they do not constrain you to specific fixed movements. Free weights, therefore, help your stabilizer muscles work extra harder compared to weight machines.
Benefits Of Using Free Weights
- They promote functional fitness
Excising using free weights helps to improve the performance of your everyday life. This means that by lifting weights regularly, you perform your daily activities better as your body is already conditioned for them.
- They are cheaper
Free weights are much cheaper than weight machines and they also don’t use a lot of space making them ideal for you to use them at home.
- Free weights are all-rounded
This means that you can use them to work out multiple muscle groups, unlike weight machines which only target a specific muscle group.
Types Of Free Weights
- Medicine Balls
A medicine or an exercise ball refers to a weighted ball that is used for weight and strength training. These balls come in different weight classes normally ranging from 1 kg to 11 kg.
They consist of a long bar that has weights attached to it on both ends. The bar can be of different diameters ranging from 50 millimeters to 25 millimeters. To help weightlifters to have a better grip, the bar is also engraved in a unique pattern.
This weight training equipment is operated with only one hand. It consists of a small bar that has weights attached at both ends. There are two primary types of dumbbells and they include:
i. Fixed-weight Dumbbells#Ad
This type has weights that are fixed on the bar, meaning that you cannot be able to add or remove some weight. It can also have weights created in the shape of a regular dumbbell.
ii. Adjustable Dumbbells#Ad
This type of dumbbell has a bar with an engraved center to improve the grip. The weights can easily be adjusted as they are placed on both ends of the bar and are secured with collars or even clips.
A kettlebell refers to either a cast steel or a cast-iron ball that has a handle at the top. When using this equipment, you normally use the handle either with one hand or with both hands and swing it around.
- Resistance Bands
These are elastic rubber bands that are used for weight and strength training. They are amazing as they can easily be carried around and you can also do different types of workouts with them.
2. Weight Training Machines
These are the equipment of choice when working out in a gym. They are expensive and not many people can afford them at home which is why most of them can only be found in a gym. Examples include; overhead press workstation, cable pulley station, back extension bench, seated cable row, cable lat pulldown, hack squat machine, leg press, and butterfly, among many others.
Benefits Of Using Machines
- They are more controlled compared to free weights
This is because machines don’t depend on you to give them the direction like free weights do. This makes machines training to be harder to cheat.
- They are easy to use
Most machines are easy to use as they even have guides on how to go about it unlike in free weights where you have to be creative at times.
- They are safer
Free weights are very risky but machines support the rest of your body, greatly reducing the chances of you getting hurt while lifting a weight.
- You can lift heavier weights
This is because machines provide support which is not present in free weights. When using these machines you can lift the weight without getting worried about possible injuries.
Weight Training Exercises For Men & Women
Weight training routines for men are much more intensive compared to those of women. So men and women can train using the same exercises but using different weights. Some of the most effective weight training exercises for both men and women include:
- Dumbbell Bench Press (for your chest)
Here is where you lie down on your back on a bench with two dumbbells while your arms are over your chest. Then bend your elbows slowly to align the dumbbells in a straight line down to either side of your chest and then drive your arms back up without taking a break. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.
- Seated Shoulder Press
This workout targets your shoulders and you have to be seated on a bench. Then take dumbbells and hold them above your head then slowly bring them down until they are at the same level as your shoulders and drive them back up to the previous position without pausing. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.
- Barbell Hip Thrust
This exercise mainly targets your glutes. You first sit on the floor with your back against a bench. Then, have a barbell placed on your hips and drive your hips off the floor while supporting your body by placing your shoulders on the bench with your knees bent until your back is parallel. Then lower your hips downwards slowly and up again without stopping. Do three sets of 12-15 reps.
- Barbell Back Squat
This is a full-body exercise with some of the primary muscles targeted being; your thighs, glutes, hips, hamstring, and quadriceps. For this exercise, you place a barbell at the back of your head and slowly squat then stand up again. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.
This is a full-body workout. For women; use an Olympic bar without any weights. Stand with your feet apart and grip the bar with your hands wider than your feet. Then stand up straight with your shoulder back and your arms down straight and remember to keep the bar close to your body. Then return to the floor and return to the original position. For men, you can add a weight that you are comfortable lifting and do the same procedure. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.
- Dumbbell Incline Curl
This exercise targets your biceps. Lie on an incline bench with your palms forward and the weights hanging at your arm’s length. Then slowly bring the weights up and then lower them halfway. Have a little pause and then slowly finish lowering them. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.
There are very many exercises for weight training. You can be able to do some of them at home and others require you to go to a gym. What is important is for you to always keep in mind the golden rules of weight training. Do that and you will always be assured of getting amazing results!