Weight Training / Strength Training targets the muscles and develops its strength and endurance. Strength is the ability of the muscles to overcome the resistance in the shortest possible time, whereas endurance means training the muscle in such a manner that less force is sustained for a longer period of time.
Person of any age group, gender, and fitness goals should do strength training, there are countless benefits of Weight training. primarily it adds lean muscle mass which raises the BMR (Basal Metabolic rate) of the body which burns more calories.
Further, weight training gives strength to the body structure, which reduces the risk of injury due to an increase in bone density and tendon and ligament thickness. it is also a proven fact that if a person does not strength train, particularly after the age of 30, the muscle atrophies approximately at the rate of 3 KGs per decade. Hence it is crucial to do strength training to avoid muscle atrophy due to aging.
Benefits of Weight Training
- Keeps Blood Pressure under Control
- Helps in fat loss
- Weight training improves the posture of the body
- Increase in muscle strength and endurance
- Raises BMR
- It increases Bone Density, hence reducing the risk of injuries
- The gain in lean muscle mass, which improves overall appearance.
Basic Principles of Weight Training
- Time: Strength training can be done at any time of the day. Some professional like to train first thing in the morning, whereas some athletes train after consuming 2 or 3 meals, so it is a matter of personal preference, however, we recommend training in the morning as your body is fresh and the secretion of many hormones are at pick In the morning. However, if you are a professional athlete and your training includes heavy lifting it is preferable to train in the afternoon or in the evening after you have consumed some carbs in your meals.
- Warm-up: It is important to perform light cardio to warm up your body before beginning your weight training session. After warm, some dynamic stretching should be performed so that your body is not stiff. By doing this, your blood oxygen level will increase and the chance of any kind of injury will reduce.
- Muscle Groups: Your sessions should be organized in such a manner that large muscle groups such as legs, back, and chest are exercised first, and then the smaller muscle groups can be targeted.
- Frequency of Weight Training: Ideally each muscle group should be targeted twice a week, consultation with the experts/personal trainer is important for a proper scientific exercise schedule. Exercise Schedule also depends on your age, gender, and fitness goals. Ideally, 8 to 10 Sets of the large muscle groups and 6 to 8 sets of small muscle groups with 6 to 12 reputation as per the advice of a personal trainer based on your fitness goals (Excluding warm-up sets) twice a week is recommended.
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in order to increase muscle strength, it is crucial to ensure that you are training above your potential in each training session. if you train at your comfort level or at the level where your muscles are accustomed you would not add muscle mass and the strength would not increase.
each individual as per their genetics has different capabilities. further, men have more testosterone than women and therefore have a better potential for growth.
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Overload principals can be divided into two types
- Increase in weights which results in an increase in muscle size
- Increase in reputation which increases the muscle strength
Overtraining or over stimulating the muscle may sometimes result in a decrease in the growth of muscle and strength. It is therefore crucial that you are able to do at least 5 to 6 repetitions per set.
Training or stimulating your muscle to improve their performance for a specific activity is called the Specificity Principle. Your muscles perform in a specific manner various sporting activities. Further, the movement of the muscle varies from person to person. But essentially specific training trains the muscle in the manner it is expected to be used.
Here, it is important to understand that while isolating the muscles, make sure not to create imbalance. that is the equal importance has to be given to primary, supporting, and stabilizing muscle.
Types of Specificity Principals
- While training the resistence should be the same or more than what is encountered during the activity
- Movement while training should be the same as that which is done during the activity or sport
- Muscles targeted should be the same which are to be used during the activity or sport
- The speed while training the muscle should mimic the actual activity or sport.
Free Weight Vs. Machine Weights
Both, free weights, as well as machine weights, has merits and demerits, let us understand them.
You can experience a complete workout when you train with free weights. However, you need expertise and a sense of proper form and technique or there is a high risk of injury while lifting heavy. when you train with free weights not only the prime or agonist muscle is worked but other supporting and stabilizing muscles also come into play which results in an increase in strength and endurance. Hence, the majority of compound exercises are performed using free weights.
It is of utmost importance to take the help of a spotter when using free weights, especially during the squats and bench press. a spotter will make sure the safety of the exerciser. the spotter should also be vigilant and ensure proper balance, breathing, and whether the exercise is performed with proper form and technique.
Training on the machine is relatively safer than free weights. the machine automatically targets a specific muscle or isolates a specific muscle. However, you cannot cheat while exercising on machines as a machine moves on one axis and there is no room to move your body, you cannot get a complete workout as compared to free weights.
While training on the machine, the weights are confined to a rack and most of the machines have safety mechanisms so you don’t need a spotter. it is important to understand that some machines cannot be adjusted for the height or length of the person using it, so sometimes it may give undue stress on the joints.
So, finally, free weights are best for compound exercises and provide an excellent overall workout provided a spotter is available and proper form and technique is adopted. Machines are a good way to begin the weight lifting journey and when your target is to isolate a specific muscle.
Guidelines for Proper Lifting
Without learning proper lifting techniques it is not advisable to lift weights. without proper technique, you may end up exercising the wrong muscles or injuring yourself leading to surgery which may take years to recover. Improper technique may injure your joints, tendons, and ligaments.
So, hiring a professional personal trainer or training with an experienced partner or spotter would be a wise thing to do. Lifting weight especially heavy weights without a trainer is like going to school without a teacher.
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It is advisable to follow these guidelines while lifting the weights.
- Never jerk and always make sure to exercise with the full range of motion.
- Always lift weights from the floor using your legs and not the back.
- Never lock the joints always keep them slightly bent.
- While lifting, don’t put pressure on your teeth, you may crack your enamels.
- Never hyperextend or flex your back, try to keep it straight.
- Don’t socialize when lifting, focus on your workout.
- Breath properly and do your warm-up before you start lifting, r your muscle will cramp.
- When lifting heavy, Keep your spotter by your side.
- Always Lock your thumps when lifting the weights.
- Use a weightlifting belt, while lifting heavy.
- Never compromise with form and technique when lifting heavy.
- Don’t cheat while lifting, cheating is a technique to ensure those very last 2 or 3 repetitions you should cheat only for the last two or three reps.