What is Weight Training? It's...

What is weight training? It's probably the best known kind of strength training. You would be hard pressed to go to a gym andNOT see someone lifting barbells or dumbbells.

Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!

Here you'll learn what training with weights is, how to get started, and what kinds of training are available.


Starting Out: What is Weight Training?

Weight training is different from bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and other physical practices. Bodybuilding, powerlifting, & Olympic weightlifting are sports with their own rules and regulations.

Weight training is just getting stronger using weights, with no competition. Though many athletes do weight training to help them compete in their primary sports.

It also gives you tons of health benefits. Lifting weights speeds up your metabolism, increases testosterone production, and generally kicks your butt into high gear!

All great reasons to get stronger ;-)


Basic Ideas of "What is Weight Training?"

Weight training has a very simple foundation. You work out, rest, and then get stronger. But even with that, there's a little more to it than meets the eye.


1. Specific Overload

Here's when you go to the gym and lift weights. You've gotten a workout routine ready, you know the lifts, and you go there and sweat.

Workout what you want to get stronger. This is simple, but think about it for a minute. If you want strong legs, do heavy squats, and if you want endurance do tons of squats with less weight.

If you want a strong kick, do leg extensions. Basically, be as specific as you can with your lifts. Otherwise, you're not gonna be building strength where you want to.


2. Rest and Get Stronger

Now that you've worked out well, REST. Get 8 hours of sleep, eat lots of good food, and don't do anything physically exhaustive for the next day.

People don't think of rest when they think, "What is weight training?", but it's just as important as the lifting. Also, if you can wrangle it, a massage is great too :-)

Resting now will give your body the ability to heal and get stronger. Without time to recharge you'll just get worn out.


Equipment

There are tons of different kinds of equipment on the market for weight training; kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, club-bells, rocks, and weirder things. But, the basic free-weights are the best for starting - barbells and dumbbells.

Simply, you can do tons of exercises with them and they work great for serious strength training. Also, they're pretty simple to learn how to use.

Easy, right?

As far as your own lifting equipment, pants or shorts you can move in are good. If you're getting into serious lifting, consider getting a pair of flat lifting shoes.

Beyond that, don't go in for silly gimmicks. And unless you're lifting really heavy weights and have been lifting for a long time, don't go in for wrist straps. It's better to just strengthen your grip - don't use tools to artificially lift more weight than you can.


What is Weight Training Like at The Gym?

When you're going to the gym, get everything planned out before hand. That way, you can just focus on your exercises when you get there.


Exercises

Choosing your exercises is one of the most important steps. Ideally, you should workout your whole body so that you don't have any weak points.

That way as you keep lifting you won't get injured when your back or triceps aren't strong enough to balance your broad, manly chest and biceps.

Find a routine that's simple to start out with, 6-8 exercises max, and a combination that hits your legs, core, chest, and arms. Full body strength is key!

As far as how many repetitions and sets you should use, 3 - 4 sets is the standard starting number. As far as reps, use this table to figure out how many you should use, based on what you want.


What is Weight Training That You'll Need?

  • 1-5 Strength (Increase your ability to lift more weight)
  • 6-12 Hypertrophy (Increase muscle size)
  • 12-15+ Endurance (Do more repetitions of the exercise, easier)


Warm-up

Before doing your weight training, always warm up. I do about 5 minutes of jogging, followed by a brief set of lower and upper body stretches. This gets my muscles warmed up and ready to work out.

Also, before you do your workout sets do one set of 15 - 20 repetitions with a very light weight. This will get the kinetic pattern of the lift hammered into your body and prepare you for the lifting ahead.


Safety

Whatever lifts you're doing, be sure to lift correctly. Know what good form is and follow it religiously.

On the most basic level this means having good posture. It gets more challenging as you get tired, but is vitally important.

Only lift as much as you can with good form - otherwise you'll get hurt quick. And it'll be your fault, too.

So, just keep good posture and form for your exercises.


Help And More Info

If you want some help or just an injection of enthusiasm, consider hiring a personal trainer. They can get you up to speed on lifting and help you into a regular routine of going to the gym.

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

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What is Weight Training? It's...
References:

Dos Remedios, Robert. 2007. Men's Health Power Training: Build Bigger, Stronger Muscles Through Performance Based Conditioning. Emmaus, Pa: Rodale.

Rippetoe, Mark, and Lon Kilgore. 2007. Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. Wichita Falls, TX: Aasgaard Co.

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