It might seem like a simple question for some, but weight training has a lot of different aspects to consider. This article is an overview to answer the question “what is weight training?” looking at different techniques to try and the reasons behind different methods.
What is Weight Training?
It’s a type of exercise that helps to tone and strengthen muscle groups. Weight training can help fight against age-related muscle loss, increase overall strength, highlight physical appearance and greatly enhances daily energy.
Free Weights and Machines
In most gyms, you’ll notice that there is the option of using free weights such are dumbbells, weight bars, sandbags and medicine balls. Free weights are all tools you can use in your own style, they can be picked up and used in hundreds of different ways. The other option is weight machines, they are larger, commonly seated machines that only have a few uses in the gym and target specific muscles. Ideally, both options should be used to help target the selected muscle in the most optimised way, however, if you unsure with free weights, in the beginning, the machines are very easy to use and learn about, they also tend to have a guide on how to use them properly attached to the machine.
Weight Training 101
Weights from machines or free weights are used as resistance against your muscles. You create a plan to target certain muscle groups on selected days and with this, improvement begins. Repetitions are done with the weights, usually around ten, then taking a short break of around a minute and then repeating the same set, overall, 3-4 sets of the same exercise should be executed. Usually, a 30 to 40-minute session is a suitable time to spend on one muscle group, changing between different machines and free weight whilst targeting the same muscle group is the best practice.
Importantly, once you have finished the session, recovery is important for the growth of your muscles. Your muscles rip and tear whilst exercising, during their repair they grow bigger, not letting your body recover for a couple of days is likely to slow your progression down dramatically.
How Much is Enough
Your training plan doesn’t need to be daily, depending on your targets, 3-4 times a week is usually a sufficient amount to see results. In each session choosing a different muscle group is key to recovery, and some muscle groups can be paired up depending on your chosen exercises.
Regarding actual weight use, it’s all about testing out how much weight you can handle in a safe manner. You will want to make sure you can complete the repetitions and sets to get a full workout, trying a heavier weight and only doing 3 repetitions, for example, isn’t going to improve your muscles as efficiently. Over time, you’ll notice that the weights become easier to lift and you will want to add more weight on to challenge yourself.
If you’re happy with your current strength and you just want to tone up, increasing the repetitions and lowering the weight slightly helps to tone the body rather than gain muscle.
You can save some time by working on some muscle groups from home, Biceps, core and legs are common home routines for some people that don’t need weights to participate in.
Protein supplements are a great way to encourage muscle repair. Most gyms and shops offer protein shakes and chocolate bars that will reduce your recovery time.
Weight training is known for reducing stress, improving strength and creating extra energy in general. Your overall health will benefit from weight training, you don’t have to push yourself into lifting the heaviest weights to see and feel improvement. It’s a process that takes time but it’s very easy to spot the benefit even after a week of training so just keep at it.