For those wanting to start strength training and building muscles, the may be wondering “what is weight training”? It’s actually a reasonable question because there’s more involved in weight training than just picking up a couple of dumbells and lifting. For a start, if done incorrectly injuries may occur.
But in short, weight training is a type of strength training that utilizes weights for resistance. How this works is by “stressing” the muscles with weights, forcing them to grow bigger and stronger in the process.
So what is weight training for, and who is it for?
Before you start envisioning images of hulking bodybuilders, grunting with colossal weights, think again. Strength training is an integral part of a well-rounded exercise program for anyone. It’s recommended for both sexes and all ages, including children and the elderly.
It’s been reported that there’s a record number of women who have begun to weight train – which is good news, the bad news is that lack of knowledge in this area has led to a 63% increase of injuries in this group alone.
But before we go any further, we present a list of four of the most common mistakes that cause injuries and how to avoid them.
The Benefits Of Warming Up :
Working with rigid and cold muscles could cause sprains and tears. A dynamic warm-up routine could massively reduce the risk of injury. What a warm-up does is release more oxygen into the bloodstream as well as your muscles. It’s also a really good way to stop or reduce the chance of muscle soreness after a workout.
- A good warm-up will take your joints through a wide range of motions. For instance, if you are targeting your shoulders, try doing a shoulder roll or even some jumping jacks.
- An effective warm-up should increase your heart rate, this will elevate the blood supply to the muscles and the connective tissues.
- Try a combination of any of these warm-ups; Squats, Split Squats, jumping jacks, Arm Circles, Shoulder Shrugs and Touching your toes
Select the appropriate amount of weights for you
When you first start out with weight training, it’s hard to know the right amount of weights to lift. If you start out with too much, you’ll do fewer reps, which long-term is counterproductive because repetitions (especially when you’re a beginner) is important in building muscle. At the same time, weights that are too light offer no resistance, so are equally ineffective. To select the right amount of weights will take a bit of practice.
- Find out the number of reps are appropriate for the routine. If it’s bench presses, then focus on doing at least 3 or 4 reps for muscle building. In this case, you need to select the number of weights that will allow you to lift 10, 15, or 20 times prior to experiencing any muscle failure.
- If you wondering what muscle failure is, it’s the point where you physically cannot perform another rep unaided. Finding the perfect weight for you will take time, as you lift to find your muscle failure point. Over time, your muscle failure point will stretch out further and further, indicating heavier weights are needed..
- Select the heaviest weight that you can lift for the intended number of reps.
Neglecting your position :
Proper positioning is the most important factor in preventing injuries. Whenever you are lifting weights, try and move through the full range of your joint motions. Good form equals fewer injuries in the long run.
Lift slowly and steadily. The fast and furious method of working out isn’t the best way to get the best out of lifting. Never hurry through your lifts, this usually ends in injury or muscle fatigue. Take time to do fewer reps slowly and properly, rather than racing through them and not having an effective strength training session.
Doing too many exercises where the elbows are pushed back from the body might stress the connective tissue in the front of the joints. Do not let your elbows extend more than two inches behind your body.
How to weight train at home
Although most gyms offer a wide variety of machines designed to strengthen muscles, the truth is you can easily weight train in your own home. It’s quite simple to have your own strength training workout area, all you need to do is invest in weights of various kilos to really work out and build muscles.
If you are also looking to lose weight and become leaner, always remember to accompany your strength training routine with cardiovascular exercises. The combination of strength training and cardio exercises that will help you lose the accumulated fat. In this article, we are going to offer different exercises with weights at home so that you can tone up parts of your body such as the abdominals, legs, pectorals or arms.
High-intensity weight training
A workout that involves high-intensity interval training will include alternate bursts of activity with moments of rest. It’s worth noting that this type of training is something that should be moved on to after you’ve been doing weightlifting for a while, and are comfortable with strength training in general.
But the moment you are ready, this type of weight training can be incredibly beneficial.
A group of researchers from the study by the American Council on Exercise decided to test the effectiveness of this sort of weightlifting training. The study was conducted on 48 men and women who were in good health between the ages of 21 and 59. The participants were offered either six-weeks of high-intensity strength-training, a more traditional six-week strength-training program, or put in a control group that did no particular exercise.
Prior to the study, the participants had done no strength or resistance training for at least six months before the study. This enabled the researchers to find out the maximum weight each volunteer could lift. The exercises included pulldowns, chest presses, biceps curls, shoulder presses, and leg presses.
The difference between traditional and high-intensity training health wise
The participants in the traditional strength group followed standard fitness industry guidelines. For the first few weeks, the group would work out twice a week, doing 10 repetitions for each exercise per workout.
The researchers requested them to lift 60% of the weights determined to be their maximum for every single repetition on a particular exercise. For the following three weeks, this group worked out three times a week, doing two sets of 12 reps at 70% of that maximum weight.
Individuals in the high-intensity group worked out twice a week as well for the first three weeks. However, they did five repetitions for each exercise, ensuring they lifted the maximum weight they could handle before muscle failure.
After this, for the next three weeks, this group did sets of five repetitions with the maximum weight three times per week. It’s worth noting that these workouts took less than half the time of the traditional workouts.
Both groups experienced a significant decrease in body fat percentage, and the groups became stronger. However, only the high-intensity group experienced a drop in bad cholesterol and a drop in blood pressure.
The high-intensity group saw more significant gains in strength overall and became stronger faster. On the other hand the traditional workout group took up to the full six weeks to see significant strength improvement.
It’s important to note that if you want to get involved in high-intensity weight training, it is a good idea to speak to a weight training specialist first. That way you always strength train with the best form allowing you to really reap all the health benefits available.
High-Intensity Muscle Building Workout
The Importance of Recovery
The importance of recovery is something I have, over the years, begun to fully appreciate. I know the importance of “Listening to the Body” and always defend it when it comes to selecting food.
But it also applies to exercise and recovery. According to Dr. McGuff, An emergency physician and an expert in training at high-intensity intervals, you know you have recovered from your exercise when you start to accumulate “restless energy”. What that means is that you spontaneously feel the need to start doing some form of physical activity.
If you are just starting out, I strongly suggest you do high-intensity sessions two or three times a week. Once your body is used to this type of exercise, start experimenting with the number of days and see how your body feels.
How to Weightlift
Basically, working vigorously to fatigue your muscle, will improve your muscle metabolic capacity and cause the muscle to develop. Dr McGuff recommends four to five basic compound movements for his series of exercises.
These exercises can be performed with dumbbells or machines. The benefit of using a quality machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed to the movement.
Dr. McGuff recommends the following five movements:
Pull-ups (alternative, chin-ups)
Rowing (A pulling movement in the horizontal plane)
Following is a summary on how to perform each exercise:
1. Start by lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as possible.
At first, it will be very difficult to complete the full movement within 7 to 10 seconds. (When lifting, stop at 10 or 15 degrees before, and gently reverse direction)
2. Lower slowly the weight
3. Repeat until exhausted
4. Change immediately following exercise to work on the next target muscle group, and repeat the first three steps
Once you reach the level of exhaustion, do not try to lift or push the weight sharply for the last repetition. Instead, only try to produce a movement.
If you use the right amount of weight or resistance, you should be able to take four to eight repetitions. When done in this way, training is performed in no more than 12 or 15 minutes.
Weight training, in general, is an excellent way to get definition in the muscles, increase metabolism and you don’t have to spend hours on it. So go forth and strength train, keep your form correct and reap the benefits.