A lot of people love weightlifting; they crave additional hours in the gym when they’re alone and focused. Others despise lifting weights and prefer other less-intense forms of exercise, which rightfully have their place in the world.
The reason is simple: there are many benefits of weight training that make it worth it to get to the gym as much as possible.
According to Become a Personal Trainer, doing cardio and maintaining a healthy diet are important for burning fat and losing weight, but without a consistent approach to weight training your overall “shape” will probably not improve as much as you had previously hoped.
There are more than a few additional reasons to hit the gym for a weightlifting session that you shouldn’t ignore.
What are the Benefits of Weight Training?
More than anything else, lifting heavy weights and placing a focused effort on conditioning your body builds a healthy lifestyle.
If you are interested in learning the seven most important benefits of weightlifting, keep reading below!
Weight Training Builds Muscle and Increase Your Basal Metabolic Rate
In simple terms, our body processes calories far more easily when you increase your lean muscle mass. As your muscle mass increases, your body will burn more calories to sustain itself. No matter who you are, you can benefit from weight training.
For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology,
“a program of resistance exercise can be safely carried out by elderly women, such a program significantly increases muscle strength, and such gains are due, at least in part, to muscle hypertrophy.”
Regardless of whether you build a large or small amount of muscles overall, conditioning the body with weightlifting helps improve your metabolism.
Weightlifting is one of the best strategies to help you healthily lose weight!
Weightlifting is Effective for Fat loss
If you want to know how to lose weight fast, weightlifting is your simplest answer!
As I mentioned before, lifting weight increases your metabolic rate- which helps you to burn fat whether you are currently training or not.
By burning fat while you are lifting weights as well as after you have stopped, you save yourself time and effort that you can use on other aspects of your life.
Continuously expending oxygen for hours and days after training is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and it is one of the most important concepts to understand when attempting to burn fat. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity,
“High Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) three times per week for 15 weeks compared to the same frequency of Steady State Exercise (SSE) exercise was associated with significant reductions in total body fat, subcutaneous leg and trunk fat”
Nearly all weight training programs are a form of HIIE or HIIT, and nearly all will help you burn fat faster.
Activities such as DIY coolsculpting can help you remove fat quickly, but training will do much more for your body overall. Slimming teas and saunas can also help you lose weight and body fat, but they are not nearly as effective as weightlifting!
Weight Lifting Increases Your Daily Energy Levels
It doesn’t take more than a few weightlifting sessions to help you realize that working out helps increase the energy you have throughout the rest of your day.
Sure, your body will be sore and muscularly fatigued.
However, your mind will be more alert, and your overall productiveness will increase.
A study published by the National Institute of Health demonstrated that with a continuous increase in energy expenditure during your training sessions, energy balance and fat oxidation continue to improve positively regardless of training intensity.
Weightlifting Improves Your Sleep Quality
Strength training and weightlifting will immediately help you improve your quality of sleep. Not only will you fall asleep faster, but you will also notice that you can stay asleep throughout the night without waking up.
One study published in the International SportMed Journal suggested that High-Intensity Interval Training or early morning resistance training can affect the duration and quality of your overall sleep.
There are many forms of exercise that can improve your nightly sleep and weightlifting is one of the best options!
Weight Training Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Lifting weights can help both women and men reduce their risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association advocates for every individual to physically exercise multiple times per week to improve the condition of their heart.
If you are new to training, you should consult a doctor or physician before beginning any intense workout program.
Also, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that people who lift weights are less prone to heart disease risk factors. These factors include:
- High Glucose Level
- High Blood Pressure
- High Triglycerides
- Large Waist Circumference
Lifting Weights Improves Your Bone Health
One of the common health issues that come with age is the loss of bone and muscle mass. Post-menopausal women stand at the highest risk of developing osteoporosis as a result of the body’s inability to secrete estrogen.
Weight lifting and resistance training is a great way to lower the risk of osteoporosis and bone mass loss.
According to one study produced in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness,
“Even a short-term weight training program can either maintain or improve the BMD (bone mineral density) of the femoral neck and lumbar vertebrae.”
Although this study was only conducted on a couple of specific regions, you can easily assume that weightlifting can stimulate bone health throughout the entire body!
Weight Training Relieves Stress
Generally, any exercise will help you relieve stress. Researchers have discovered over and over for years that people who engage in regular strength training are better equipped to manage stress and respond better to the effects of highly stressful conditions.
One of the theories for why weightlifting is effective for stress-management is that it provides you with a physical release of your energy.
Another reason is that exercising releases dopamine into your brain, stimulating a positive mood.
For multiple reasons, weightlifting is an excellent solution to relieve daily stress!
Are Free Weights or Machines Better When Weight Training?
I’m honestly surprised that people still debate whether it is better to use free weight exercises or machines because the answer is clear to me. In my opinion, there are only rare occasions when machine exercises are necessary because free weights are so much more functional!
It’s true, any form of physical exercise will improve your body and health in at least one way.
However, using free weights instead of machines is an easy switch that anyone can make to improve their body more.
As an athlete, machines seem completely useless to me. I often see other athletes using the leg press, machine bench press or other similar machines, and it fascinates me that they honestly believe it is beneficial.
The science clearly shows that exercises using free weights activate more primary mover muscles and stabilizing muscles, making them far more effective overall.
Unless you are beginning to rehabilitate an injury or you are of an age that using free weights is too strenuous, machine exercises are not necessary.
If machines are your only option, combine exercise machines and bodyweight exercises to get a better workout! Regardless of whether you have access to free weights or not, you should never avoid the opportunity for physical exercise when you have the time.
Taking the time for even a moderate amount of physical exercise will:
- Promote Heart Health and Function
- Improve the Physical Capabilities of Your Body
- Boost Your Immune System
- Improve Your Mood and Reduce Stress
However, there are still better options for physical exercise, and each person has unique training needs.
As seen in nearly every weightlifting center in America, some people believe it is impossible to get a good workout done without the aid of fixed machine exercises.
Modern gyms often are filled with expensive machinery and weight lifting equipment that can help build your body, but only in certain situations. Many gyms (*Planet Fitness*) focus a large part of their resources on exercise machines, while they dedicate less space to dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and other more functional equipment.
In my opinion, free weights are the superior training option for most people. Elderly fitness lovers, people revering from an injury, or those who have limited motor-development will benefit from machine exercises the most, since every other healthy individual will obtain more benefits from the challenge provided by free weight exercises.
Whether you choose free weights or machines depends on your goals and ability level, but in my opinion, choosing to exercise with free weights is the best option!
How to Design a Weight Training Workout Plan
Exercise and fitness can have a lot of different meanings for each different person. For one person, it might mean being able to walk a mile each day, and to another, it could be multiple weight training sessions per day.
The age, fitness level, and goals of your self or your client should heavily influence the structure and type of fitness training that you incorporate when designing a workout program.
A training plan exists to help move a person closer to their goals, regardless of whether you as a trainer believe that those goals are adequate, or you think your goals are hard to obtain.
To create a workout plan- it’s vital that you understand fitness and exercise science, as well as get to know yourself or your client and recognize the strengths, weaknesses, and current ability level which will impact the pursuit of goals.
While you don’t necessarily need a degree in physiology or years of experience as a trainer to write up a plan, it’s imperative that you understand how the body works and how to improve both physical fitness and strength for yourself or your client.
Creating a training plan without any prior knowledge is likely to cause injuries, imbalances, and slow progress towards goals.
At the very least, you should understand how to build lean muscle mass, how to improve physical strength and work capacity, and why the most popular workout programs are structured the way that they are.
It’s also necessary to look into the specific goals of yourself or your client. So, if (for example) you want to improve at soccer, you understand soccer and what strength and fitness needs must be improved to improve your game.
Obtaining a personal trainer certification is necessary for many personal trainer jobs, and most fitness trainer certifications are relatively simple to complete.
If you are only trying to write a workout plan for yourself, you can simply study information through places such as my website or other health and fitness websites, or also read scientific research from places like Google Scholar.
The way you structure any workout plan is nearly as important as what exercises it contains.
Not only do you need to ensure that the workout program has enough workload to induce muscle growth, strength increases, and fitness improvements, but you must also structure it to allow for adequate recovery and adherence.
If you or your client is new to fitness, it’s worthless to setup an intense 5-day program because it’s unlikely to have the discipline to start there. For new trainees, it’s wise to start slowly and build up.
As well as the structure of on and off days, you’ll want to consider that when you’re writing a fitness program you need to factor in the exercises that you have set up for each day.
For example, a simple workout plan that involves individual muscle groups could look like this:
- Monday- Legs
- Tuesday- Chest/Triceps
- Wednesday- Off
- Thursday- Back/Biceps
- Friday- Shoulders/Core
- Saturday- Off
- Sunday- Cardio
However, this is only an example and it is a very basic setup. Personally, I prefer to do full-body training every workout.
Therefore, I focus on creating unique workout plans for each day, and my week is more structured around RPE (Rate of Perceived Intensity) each day.
For example, a normal week of mine (in my head), looks like this:
- Monday- RPE 7
- Tuesday- RPE 5
- Wednesday- RPE 8
- Thursday- Off or Active Recovery
- Friday- RPE 9
- Saturday-RPE 8/9
- Sunday- Off or Active Recovery
This type of workout routine allows me to have more variety in the exercises I choose while helping me improve my body in a variety of ways.
Regardless of whether you choose to plan your week or month of workouts as specific muscle groups or in any other way, there are a few consistent rules you should follow.
First, you should always begin with a dynamic warm-up. Doing a dynamic warm-up will prepare your body to work as hard and as well as possible, and it will also help you avoid injuries.
Next, you should always begin with heavy compound exercises.
Examples of these exercises include:
- Back Squats
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press
- Pull-ups (weighted)
- Bent Over Row
Performing heavy compound exercises first will elicit the greatest hormonal response from your body, producing the best overall results from your training.
Next, you should perform your secondary exercises. These type of exercises include:
These exercises are effective and important, but they should come after your heavy compound exercises.
Lastly, you should perform specific assistance exercises. Many people like to do their core exercises last because they are usually viewed as an assistance exercise, which isn’t necessarily wrong. However, you can also do core exercises earlier in your workout program if you would like.
Concluding Thoughts – Health Benefits of Weight Training
Whatever the reason you want to take-on resistance training or weightlifting, there is no doubt you will be doing nothing but good for your body.
Before you being any weightlifting program, it is important to understand that you need to train safely and within your ability levels as you certainly cannot build anything at all if you are injured.
Barring this, there is no doubting the overall benefits of lifting weights!
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