Working out with weights has some heavy benefits
No matter your gender, age, or athletic ability—believe the hype—strength training is important for everyone and every body!
Breaking down the basics
Strength training uses weights and resistance to help your body get stronger. Strength training includes everything from using free weights to weight machines to strength-focused classes and more. The main idea is that you are using weights (or your body weight) to work your muscles and help them to get stronger.
Key terms to know for beginning a strength training program include:
- “Rep” or repetition—one full move that includes lifting and lowering, or pushing and pulling. For example, one push-up (lowering and raising your body) is one rep.
- Set—a group of consecutive reps.
- Rest—a break between sets.
Results to work toward
It might seem obvious that the purpose of strength training is to get stronger, but this concept doesn’t just apply to muscles—your bones can also get stronger, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic says that strength training will also help you:
- Burn calories more efficiently to control your weight
- Work out longer and harder over time
- Reduce the signs and symptoms of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes
- Improve balance and attention
Strength training can be a great full-body workout that includes exercises for your lower body, upper body, and core. Example exercises include:
- Ab crunch or sit-up
- Bicep curl
- Pull-up and push-up
- Squat and lunge
If you are brand-new to strength training, it’s a good idea to meet with a personal trainer to learn proper form and technique, which are important to ward off injury and maximize your workouts.
Like you would with any workout, you’ll want to spend a bit of time warming up before you hit the weights. A bit of cardio is a good idea for getting started—a brisk walk or light jogging are good examples.
If you’re not sure about designing your own strength program, search for a sample plan online—here are a few to get you going:
- Sample strength activity plan from the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Five best strength moves for weight loss from Health Magazine
- Easy strength routine from Shape Magazine