Unsure Whether Weight Training Is For You?
Long gone are the days of underground basement gyms full of knucklehead, skinhead men dripping with Jan Tana oil. No, gyms are more welcoming than a Starbucks these days and open to all ages and genders.
Whatever your aims and goals it is certainly worthwhile incorporating weight lifting to your regime.
This type of exercise uses resistance to improve and increase your muscle strength. There are different exercises which will focus on your different body parts such as:
- Chest (upper, middle and lower)
As you increase your frequency of training you will experience an overall increase of muscular strength, endurance and power.
This increase can assist your everyday life activities from carrying shopping, toddlers or even taking out the trash.
Not only that, when you lift weights or perform resistance exercise your metabolic rate stays raised long after you have finished your session at the gym.
The more muscle you have to more calories are required to help repair and rebuild.
This increased metabolism and muscle mass is greater at burning fat to be used as fuel.
Resistance training is great at strengthening bones as their mass increases along with muscular mass increases. This can help prevent breaks and the onset of osteoporosis.
Your mobility, stability and posture will all benefit from regular training,
As will your mood from the flurry of endorphin’s that are secreted within your brain and nervous system.
What To Use
The most basic option is to use free weights that generally consist of dumbbells and barbells. It is these kind of weights your mind will probably conjure up when you think of weight lifting.
There are now many varying resistance machines available.in gyms or even to buy for your aspiring home gym, however, the y tend to be expensive and can limit the range of movement.
This has its positives and negatives. One such positive is that there’s more support and safety built in which means a spotter is not necessarily required and you can go ‘all out’ for that 1 rep max.
I also use a machine by Powertec because I suffer from shoulder pain which would limit my strength development by just using a barbell.
On the flip side, using a machine tends to limit the number of muscles being trained as they focus heavily on 1 muscle group with very little secondary muscular input required.
Other equipment is also available and in some cases made a recent revival such kettle bells and medicine balls. Resistance bands are also popular.
Types of Training
Using free weights lends itself easily to Olympic style weightlifting or strongman training whereby the snatch, clean and jerk, deadlifts and squats are commonly employed.
These type of lifts use a larger range of muscle groups and create large amounts of stress. By doing so it also stimulates secretion of growth hormone that increases muscle development.
This is something that is difficult to replicate using machines or isolating muscle groups.
Using free weights offers the most flexibility and allows for a greater range of movement than machines, however, machines offer more safety and control.
Many of the same movements used with free weights can be replicated using equipment suitable for most homes and can utilize many objects found in and around the house or garage depending on your current stage of fitness.
These days a mixture weightlifting and cardiovascular fitness combined has seen a rise in popularity with Cross Fit whereby competitors will race against each other in timed events performing exercises such as pull ups or the clean lift using a barbell.
In the UK the National Health Service recommends that adults perform 2 sessions of weight training per week on top of 150 minutes of weekly aerobic/cardiovascular exercise.
However, ensure that your body is able to recover sufficiently between exercise sessions. Everyone is different and one persons weight training program maybe extremely intense compared to another person.
Those that are continually lifting weights each and everyday and making good progress are most likely taking anabolic steroids which accelerates recovery.
To maximize your workouts you need to fuel your body with the right foods.
Ensure your diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables notwithstanding protein from a variety of sources including meat, dairy and fish.
You should also include good fats and carbohydrates.
Avoid sugars, saturated fats ad refined carbohydrates as found in white bread and watch the fat melt away and your muscle definition improve.