Weight training or strength training is a way of building lean muscle mass. The benefits of weight training are numerous, and as we age, it becomes essential to have stronger muscles to support our ageing bones and joints. So if you are a youngster or an old person, a man or a woman, or your goal is to lose fat or build muscles, weight training is for everyone.
The good part is that you do not need much equipment or hit the gym every day for long hours to do strength training. Weight training can be done with a single pair of dumbbells in the comfort of your home and even using your body weight. If you have never done weight training before, it is always a good idea to consider doing it under the supervision of a professional trainer to know the correct form. The golden rule of strength training is to consistently train your muscles in the correct form with a gradual increase of load over time.
In the information provided below, we will walk you through the benefits of weight training, enlist some beginner-friendly exercises, and bust some common myths around strength training. Hold on! We also have a few tips for someone starting their weight training journey. Read till the end to know more. Without further delay, let’s get started.
Types of strength training
1. Muscular hypertrophy
Hypertrophy means growth, and this type of strength training aims at building muscle mass by using moderate to heavy weights. E.g. Dumbbell Bench Press, Triceps Pushdown.
2. Muscle endurance training
Endurance means the capacity to sustain the load, and in this type of strength training, light weights are used to do high reps. E.g. Bodyweight Squats, Kettlebell Swing.
3. Circuit training
Full body workout in which the complete body is trained with several exercises with little or no rest in between. E.g. Abdominal Crunches, Jump Rope.
4. Maximum strength training
This is a type of weight training that is reserved for advanced-level weight trainers. In this, low reps(4-6) are done with heavy weights to improve the complete strength of the target muscle group. E.g. Military Press, Cable Fly.
Why is strength important in life?
Weight training is important for everyone as it is not just to build muscles and look aesthetic. The muscles you build for strength are the support system for the joints and bones. It helps train the muscles to function properly and avoid injuries during routine activities. As we age, bone density decreases, and joints become stiff. The stronger your muscles are easier it becomes for you to carry out the routine work in old age.
Six major benefits of weight training
1. Increases your strength
Weight training will slowly build your muscles to improve your strength and make you stronger. With increased strength, the daily routine activities will not tire you, and the overall bodily function will also improve.
2. Make you leaner
The more muscles you have, the more toned your body appears. Weight is just a number when we compare a muscular person with a person having excess fat. The muscles are denser than fat tissue, which makes you leaner. The more fat you lose, the more defined your muscles appear, making you look aesthetic and leaner.
3. Reduces the risk of injuries
The strong muscles act as a cushion for the joints, reducing the risk of injuries. The strength of the muscles reduces the load off the joints. It also improves the range of motion and the health of the tendons and ligaments.
4. Burns more calories
When you target the large muscle groups, you burn more calories even when you are not training due to the increased metabolic rate. More strength training means you build up muscles that help you burn calories at rest.
5. Boosts your mood
A good weight training session is sometimes the endorphins rush you need to boost your mood. Studies have shown that regular exercise has been linked to reduced anxiety and improved mental health status
6. Improves bone strength
Strength training puts your bone under stress signalling the bone-forming cells to produce stronger bone. The stronger bone means a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially as you age.
Most important weight lifting exercises: Beginner Friendly exercises
The weight training regime should not be complicated. We have listed some of the beginner-friendly exercises that you can do anywhere. It is best to learn the correct way of doing these exercises from a trainer before attempting them alone. The weight size should be selected as per your current strength and experience level. The main focus should be on correct form and more reps rather than lifting heavy if you are a beginner.
Using a dumbbell
- Biceps curl
- Triceps extension
- Chest press
- Shoulder press
- Single arm rowing
Using body weight
Myths about weight training
Myth#1- Weight training is for men
Weight training is for everyone, irrespective of gender. Do not worry, ladies it won’t make you bulkier or manly in appearance. Strength training helps tone the body rather than making you look heavy.
Myth#2- Weight training is not for old people
According to age, strength training can be customised for everyone. It is crucial to have strong muscles to support weak bones and joints. Inactive old people are more likely to develop joint stiffness and mobility issues.
Myth#3- Weight training damages your joints
When done with the correct form and the right amount of weight, there is no damage to the joints. Studies have shown that regular exercise done in the correct form helps relieve the pain and improve joint mobility
Myth#4- Cardio is more effective in fat loss
Cardio is done to improve heart health, and studies have shown that people who weight train their muscles are more successful in doing fat loss
Tips for beginners: How to do it safely
Always do a warm-up
Warm-up is a crucial part of training as it reduces the risk of injuries. The proper blood circulation to the muscles is necessary before you begin training them.
Don’t rely on momentum
When lifting weights, it is critical to have a mind-muscle connection and not rely on the momentum of the weights and gravity for your reps.
Focus on your breathing
Do not hold your breath while lifting weights. Proper breathing is essential for the oxygenation of the brain and muscles to train effectively.
Start with simple exercises
If you are starting your journey, stick to the basic exercises initially to get a hold of your form and range of motion before you level up your game.
Do not do ego lifting
The most common mistake we make is lifting heavy to gain fast results. Focus on the form and not the volume load.
The final verdict:
Strength training has numerous benefits, and it is never too late to begin your journey. Weight training is for everyone, provided you do it in the correct form and as per your capabilities. The fruits of effective training will reap once you are consistent for a long time. The goal is to build strength slowly in an effective way and work on each muscle group.
Mr. Sunil Navale is a distinguished figure in the world of fitness, fueled by an unwavering passion for well-being. He is trained at the FISAF Singapore, a globally renowned organisation in the fitness industry Read More