Good cardio is vital for improving fitness and body composition, but many people don’t realize how essential weight training is for burning fat.
What is resistance exercise?
Resistance exercises are exercises where your muscles contract against an external force to make them stronger. This force can come from dumbbells, weight machines, or your own body weight. If you do these exercises regularly, you will eventually see results.
What are the types of resistance exercises?
There are a few different styles of resistance exercise, like powerlifting, Olympic weight lifting, strength training, and weight lifting.
Choose Your Resistance
Depending on where you decide to work out, your equipment choices will vary, but the options include:
- No equipment: You don’t have to start with equipment if you’re a beginner or on a budget and want to start simple. This no-weight workout gives you some ideas for how you can work out without any equipment at all.
- Resistance bands: These are great for home workouts and traveling, and you’ll find them at most gyms too. They can be used for a wide variety of total-body exercises.
- Dumbbells: You’ll eventually want to get a variety of weights, but you can quickly start with three pairs of dumbbells: A light set (3 to 5 pounds for women, 5 to 8 pounds for men), a medium set (5 to 10 pounds for women, 10 to 15 pounds for men), and a heavy set (10 to 20 pounds for women, 15 to 30 pounds for men).
- Machines: You can buy a home gym machine or use the vast variety of machines you find at the gym if you’re a member.
- Kettlebells: If you know how to use them correctly, kettlebells are great for building strength and endurance. It’s best to get instruction from a professional before using them.
What Is Weight Training?
Weight training is a form of exercise that uses resistance to strengthen all the muscles in the body. This includes the chest, back, shoulders, arms, core, legs, and glutes.
Benefits of Weight Training
Some people avoid weights and focus on cardio because they are afraid of looking bulky. However, this bodybuilding type requires a lot of dedication and a specific diet and exercise plan.
If you’ve hesitated to start a strength training program, it may motivate you to know that lifting weights can do much for your body. Weight training can:
- Help raise your metabolism since muscle burns more calories than fat
- Strengthen bones
- Strengthen connective tissue (tendons and ligaments)
- Make you stronger and increase muscular endurance, making everyday activities easier.
- Help you avoid injuries
- Increase confidence and self-esteem
- Improve coordination and balance
Principles of Weight Training
The basic principles of weight training are essential to know when you are just starting. These principles can help you set up your workouts to avoid weight loss plateaus and continue progressing.
You need to use more resistance to build lean muscle tissue. This will help you avoid plateaus by increasing your workload.
This means you should be lifting a heavy weight that you can only complete the number of repetitions you desire. You should be able to finish your last repetition with difficulty and good form.
To avoid a decrease in progress, you need to increase intensity regularly. You can do this by increasing the amount of weight lifted, changing your sets/reps, changing the exercises, and/or changing the type of resistance. You can make these changes on a weekly or monthly basis.
This implies that you ought to work out as per your objective. If you need to improve your quality, your activity program should be based on that objective (for example, working out with heavier weights). You may need to concentrate on circuit training, which incorporates cardiovascular and resistance for productive, powerful routines that get you in shape.
Rest and Recovery
You should take your rest days as seriously as your workout days. Your muscles grow and change during these periods, so make sure you don’t work for the same muscle group two days in a row.
Many questions need to be addressed for the beginners to be guided. Here are the common questions:
Where to Weight Train
If you are new to working out, it is recommended that you start with a basic total body strength workout. This will help you identify any areas of weakness and allow you to speak to your doctor about any issues you may have. Additionally, this type of workout will help you to learn the basic exercises needed for a strong body. The first thing you need to do is to figure out where you will be exercising.
Benefits of Joining a Gym
You don’t have to join a gym to get a great strength training workout, but there are some advantages to doing so:
- Access to a wide variety of equipment and machines you may not be able to afford in a home gym
- Personal trainers and other experts to show you how to use different machines
- Variety: You also have access to classes, which is a fun way to learn how to lift weights
- It’s easier to stick to your goals: When you go to a gym, there’s nothing to do but work out, whereas you have lots of distractions at home.
- Energy: You often get more energy when you’re surrounded by people doing the same thing you’re doing—something you may miss out on at home
There are several things you should take into account before joining a gym, such as the membership fee and the location. It’s easy to sign up for a gym membership and never use it, so you need to make sure you are actually going to go to the gym before joining.
How to Choose My Weight
How much weight to lift is often decided by how many reps and sets one does. The rule of thumb is to only lift as much weight as you can complete the desired number of reps with. In other words, you want that last rep to be the one you can do with good form, even if it’s challenging.
How do you determine how much weight to use to provide an effective workout for your body?
- The larger the muscles, the heavier the weight. The glutes, thighs, chest, and back muscles can usually handle heavier weight than the smaller muscles of the shoulders, arms, abs, and calves. So, for example, you may want to use 15 or 20 pounds for squats but 3 to 5 pounds for tricep extensions.
- You’ll usually lift more weight on a machine than with dumbbells: The machine keeps the weight stable and moving in a straight line. When you lift with dumbbells or a barbell, you have to resist gravity and use smaller stabilizer muscles to keep from falling over. So if you can handle 30 or 40 pounds on a chest press machine, you may only be able to handle 10 or 15 pounds per dumbbell.
- If you’re a beginner, it’s more important to focus on good form than it is to lift heavy weights.
- Be ready for trial and error. It may take several workouts to figure out how much weight you need.
An excellent way to determine how much weight to use for each lift is to start with light weights and do a few reps with good form. See how difficult it is, and then adjust the weight as needed.
- Pick up a lightweight and do a warm-up set of the exercise of your choice, aiming for about 10 to 16 repetitions.
- For set two, increase your weight in a manageable increment and perform your goal number of repetitions. If you can do more than your desired reps, you can either pick up a heavy weight and continue or just make a note of that for your next workout.
- In general, you should be lifting enough weight that you can only do the desired reps. You should be struggling by the last rep but still able to finish it with good form.
Every day is a new opportunity to better yourself. Some days you’ll be able to lift more weight than others. Listen to your body to see how far you can push yourself.
What are sets and repetitions (reps)?
The number of times you perform an exercise is described in sets and reps. One rep is one complete performance of the exercise, and one set is a sequence of reps. For example, if you do a bench press 15 times, you would say you’ve completed “one set of 15 reps.” A set can have any number of reps, so if you do 10 bench presses, you would say you’ve done “one set of 10 reps,” and if you only do 5, then it would be “one set of five reps.”
How many sets should I do?
One set of resistance exercises is just as effective for beginners as three sets because they have a lot of room for improvement. Muscles respond quickly to resistance exercise in new people, so they see quick gains. This encourages them to keep working out. After a few months, though, they will plateau and need to do more sets to continue seeing results.
How do I go about lifting for strength?
To develop muscular strength, lift heavy weights. Choose a weight that you can only lift eight times, and then gradually increase the weight as you can lift more than eight times. If you, for example, have been bench pressing 175 pounds ten times and then increasing the weight to 190 pounds, you will be able to lift fewer repetitions. However, as your muscles grow used to the new weight over time, you will be able to lift more repetitions. A one-repetition maximum (one-rep max or 1RM) is the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition. A 10-rep maximum (10RM) would be the weight you can lift 10 times to fatigue.