In this article, on the benefit of weight training, also known as strength training, we will discuss some reasons why you may want to add weight training to your regular health routine.
Let’s define our terms before we go any further. Weight training is usually done with free weights (dumbbells and barbells) or strength training machines. Strength training machines like those made by Bowflex, Nordic Track, HealthMax, and BodyCraft generally have a system of weights, pullies, straps and bars that mimic the effects of free weights.
These home gyms and others like them are becoming more popular as busy people want the convenience of being able to get a good work out at home where they can get on a machine or go to the fridge when they want to.
To get the most benefit of weight training it is important to follow some general principles. Proper form and breathing are important to the success of your weight training program. While exercising you should exhale while contracting the muscle (exerting energy) and inhale when releasing the muscle. Not breathing properly while lifting heavy weights can result in increases in blood pressure that may be harmful.
Form is also important to the overall success and safety of your work out. Good form means you are in control of the weight at all times, using smooth – not jerky – movements. Never let the force of gravity or the momentum of the weight take control. Knees and elbows should never be locked and the back should be kept straight.
The American College of Sports Medicine offers some specific guidelines for developing a training program to gain the most benefit of weight training. They state:
“One set of 8-12 repetitions of eight to ten exercises that condition the major muscle groups at least 2 days a week is the recommended minimum.”
The proper way to do weight training is to use exercises which isolate each of the various muscle groups, starting with the large muscles and then working the small muscle groups. Gaining strength requires the muscle to be stimulated more than it’s accustomed to. This can be done by gradually increasing weight, resistance, or repetitions.
Some of the benefits of weight training include:
- Increase stamina and overall performance
- Stronger bones
- Stronger muscles including the heart
- Staying strong as you age
- Maintaining or improving flexibility of joints
- Restore balance and reduce incidence of falls
- Improve quality of sleep
- Improve psychological well being
- Improved glucose control
- Maintain healthy weight
As you can see the benefit of weight training is vast. The benefits mentioned in this article are just a few of the reasons to consider adding this form of activity to your regular health regimen. As with all exercise programs, check with a doctor and health professional before you get started to make sure you have a program that will work for you.
To your health and strength.