Don’t underestimate the health benefits of weight training. The results of overall health improvement, metabolism and body toning are tremendous. More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits and finding their way into fitness centers lining up waiting for exercise machines. Lifting weights is no longer a bodybuilder’s hobby. Men, women and young adults alike lift weights and realize the advantages.
The major benefits of a strength program include looking trimmer and more youthful as one ages; increased metabolism and weight management; reduced stress and depression; prevention of the onset of diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Many people have the notion that lifting weight is only for athletes or people who want to look good at the beach. But, what about the person who would like to pick up a 25 pound bag of dog food or the grandparent who would like to be able to carry his or her grandchild?
One of the greatest myths of weight training is the fear of bulking up or developing large, masculine-looking muscles. Muscles don’t just happen. It’s incredibly difficult for men who want to develop large muscles to do so, let alone for women who have 1/10th the testosterone of a man. If, by exercising hard, a woman develops some muscle size, it will be minimal and will improve her figure. Your level of testosterone, body/muscle type and hard work at the gym is the only way muscle can be increased.
Weight training isn’t only about the results that you can see in the mirror. Muscles support the skeleton, protect internal organs, move the body, help to maintain balance and help control metabolism. The stronger the muscles the better the body performs. Strength is important for the body from aesthetics to function. Resistance training is really about training hard, building strength and enhancing the body’s structural integrity.
The key to getting stronger is intensity and quality, not quantity. The idea is to break down the muscle fibers so they can rebuild. When muscle rebuilds, it becomes stronger and firmer. Rest the muscles for 24 – 48 hours after a workout is important for the rebuilding process. Eating protein within one hour after working out is the building block to muscle repair.
Be careful that safety is used in weight training so injury does not occur. Start slowly, but with progression. Proper form and technique is essential for safety as well.
Too many people stay stuck at a lower resistance when they could be lifting heavier weight and enjoying more benefits. A good question for a person to ask is, “Could I have lifted more weight, and could I have done it with good form?” On an intensity scale of one to ten, a beginner should be at a five. A seasoned weight trainer should be able to reach an eight and sometimes a ten. A ten is to failure. You won’t reach failure on every workout, but you should try to be comfortable to eventually get to a level ten. Don’t compromise form.
Feeble efforts produce little results, but challenging, progressive resistance training programs increase strength.