All About Weight Training

All About Weight TrainingThese days, we hear more and more about weight gain, and how it can contribute to the development of obesity and other chronic health conditions. While following a healthy diet is often essential for individuals who wish to lose weight, participating in a structured exercise program is also of utmost importance. Weight training is a specific type of exercise in which participants lift, push, or otherwise move heavy objects in a pre-determined fashion. Individuals who are interested in learning more about weight training should first understand its history and basic principles. In addition, obtaining a comprehension of weight training safety, equipment, types of exercises, and health benefits is also important for individuals who wish to achieve optimal results when it comes to strength training.

History of Weight Training

Like other forms of exercise, participation in weight training programs is believed to be quite an ancient activity. In fact, some researchers believe that individuals may have participated in weight training as early as the second century. During these periods, people relied on the use of stones, clubs, and even animals to challenge their working muscles. Eventually, weight training was brought to the masses in the 1960s, through the development of weight-training gyms and exercise videos.


Basic Principles

Most experts agree that following some basic principles is essential when it comes to achieving optimal results in weight training. Traditionally, weight training relies on the performance of a specific number of repetitions of an exercise, which are then grouped together in sets. The rate and frequency by which these repetitions and sets are performed can be used to produce substantial improvements in strength, muscle mass, and endurance. Using proper form when it comes to weight training is a must—failure to do so cannot only lead to slowed progress, but may also cause personal injury.

Safety

Maintaining safety is important at all times for individuals participating in a structured weight training program. In addition to maintaining proper form at all times, strength trainers should also be sure to focus on stretching, proper breathing, and adequate warm-ups. In addition, recognizing signs of pain and stopping exercise when they occur can be an effective way to maintain safety during weight training. Individuals who have never done this type of exercise before may want to consider consultation with a physician to ensure they are healthy enough for exercise.


Equipment

As with other types of physical activity, weight training requires the use of specialized pieces of weight training equipment. While there are a number of different types of weight training equipment currently on the market, the most popular include dumbbells, resistance bands, and strength training machines. In most cases, these pieces of equipment will be provided at commercial gyms, and can also be found for home purchase. People who are unfamiliar with the use of weight training equipment may want to hire a personal trainer or exercise physiologist to obtain additional instruction.


Types of Exercises

Traditionally, the types of exercises associated with weight training are classified according to the part of the body that they work. For example, exercises that stress the chest or biceps are classified as upper body exercises, while those that stress the gluteus or hamstrings are classified as lower body exercises. Weight training exercises can be further classified as isotonic, plyometric, or compound exercises. These different types of exercises will all produce dramatically different results when used over a period of time on the human body.


Health Benefits of Weight Training

As mentioned previously, participation in a structured weight training program can lead to substantial amounts of weight loss. Other benefits associated with weight training include improvements in bone strength, balance, and mood. Finally, some women who have suffered from breast cancer may exhibit decreases in lymphedema by lifting weights on a regular basis. While there are likely a number of other benefits associated with weight training, they may vary in intensity from person to person.


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