WHY IS WEIGHT TRAINING EFFECTIVE?

Ever wondered why is weight training so effective? If you’re new to the fitness world, you might have wondered why the better part of the fitness population is inclined to hit the gym to repetitively lift heavy metal plates. If you have recently just signed up for a gym membership in hopes of improving your overall wellness, you might have also noticed that people go about their exercise in many different ways. This article will help answer those questions and guide you to the right kind of method you should be using to arrive at your goal. Read on!

Learn about the methodology of weight training to get better results (Image Source)

First off, let me start by giving you a little bit of motivation. “We all have to start somewhere”. Don’t be embarrassed that you are surrounded by people who are in better shape than you because those people started as beginners too. With time and dedication, I promise you will see yourself in their shoes. So, go ahead and pack your bag because it’s time for you to hit the gym.

SO, WHY IS WEIGHT TRAINING EFFECTIVE?

The best way to explain why weight training is so effective lies in its versatility. It can be used and modified to fit virtually any sport and any goal that you have set. From the more common reason of losing weight to the more extreme competitive sports, weight lifting plays a huge factor for anything and everything in between.

Another reason why it is effective is that it is incredibly well-researched. Every exercise your trainer or coach gave you already has an established explanation. Nothing you do here is useless, and every plate you lift has its purpose.

Research indicates that body weight training relieves stress (Image Source)

Contrary to what you commonly see in TV, working out isn’t all sweat and tired faces. Look beyond the exhaustion, and you’ll see that exercise actually relieves stress. Every time you exercise, this triggers your body to release happy hormones called Endorphins. These chemicals interact with your brain, making you feel less pain, help relieve depression, and effectively lower levels of stress. These effects form a huge part of what makes weight training so effective. You do not only improve your body, you improve your life as well.

COMMON METHODS USED IN WEIGHT TRAINING

Different people have different levels of fitness. As such, a variety of gym-goers have an even wider set of goals. Let’s take a look at the more common goals and the methods used to achieve them.

WEIGHT LOSS

The basic concept in weight loss is that you need to expend more calories than you eat. Work out more and eat less — sounds pretty simple, right? Now, here’s the catch. Generally, when all you do is cardio and diet, you will lose fat but you will also lose a substantial amount of muscle mass. That’s where weight training comes into play. When you train to lose weight, go ahead and do your cardio but never take weight training out of the equation. The general principle used here is more repetitions and minimal rest period to make sure that your heart rate stays elevated. This effectively burns more calories while simultaneously tones your muscles. Here’s a sample program. Make sure your rest time is no longer than 45 seconds.

MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY (GAINING MUSCLE)

When you’re underweight and you’re looking to pack on some serious muscle, there are numerous methods you can use to your advantage. The principle that governs all these methods is pretty simple. If you know this, you’re well on your way to getting those chiseled abs and rock-hard pectorals. For hypertrophy (more commonly known as muscle growth and development), you need to regularly shock your muscles with progressively intense workout sessions. Lifting the same weight in the same exact manner just isn’t going to cut it. In general, the rep range used in hypertrophy is at 6–12. Rest period should be just enough so you can get a good breather but not too much for you to stop sweating. 60–90 seconds should be fine. Check out the sample program below:

SPEED & POWER

Have you ever wondered why bodybuilders with legs wider than truck tires can’t jump as high as Michael Jordan? Or why Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t throw punches like Mike Tyson? The answer is simple: they weight-train differently. While bodybuilders train for maximum muscle growth and aesthetics, other athletes train for speed and power. Basketball, volleyball, and tennis athletes (among others) train their legs to increase power and speed. These are attributes that help them play better in their respective sport. Upper extremity power output is also a very critical part of a boxer’s training, which is how they throw those explosive haymakers.

Plyometric exercises increase speed and power (Image Source)

The method used in this kind of training can be summarized in one word — PLYOMETRICS. It’s basically a training method that requires you to use as much force as possible in a single movement in the least amount of time like kicking a soccer ball as hard as you can, for example. Below are a few plyometric exercises you can use:

Legs:

  • Box jumps
  • Jump squats
  • One-leg hops
  • Plyometric lunge
  • Power step-ups

Arms:

  • Explosive push ups
  • Clap push ups
  • Punching
  • Chest passes
  • Plyometric pull ups

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