Are you thinking about adding weight training to your exercise routine to further improve your well-being? If you are, then you’re on the right track. Weight training, also known as resistance training, is one key component of a well-rounded exercise program.

To fully benefit from the health advantages that weight training offers, learn about the basics first. Read on to find out more about weight training.

What is Weight Training?

Weight training is a type of physical activity that causes a muscle or a group of muscles to contract against resistance provided by external weights.

The external resistance can be dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, exercise tubing, your own body weight, or other objects that cause muscle contraction. Resistance training specific characteristics include strength, endurance, power, and hypertrophy.

Many people often regard weight training as being associated with experienced athletes and advanced workout practitioners. This is, however, far from the truth. While it does provide a host of advantages for athletic ones, weight training has many benefits that regular individuals can also take advantage of.

What are the Principles of Weight Training?

A lot of people dive into weight training without really understanding the principles and the science behind it. Everyone begins their weight training journey with a different standard and perception of the fundamentals of weight training. Learning the principles of weight training below is essential as this enhances your knowledge and advances your progress.

Weight Size and Overload

If you’re new to weight training, you need to know the right time to increase the weight and how to advance with it over time. This enables you to determine if you’re using the most appropriate weight. During weight training, the muscle fibres are broken down.

Subsequently, you try to overload this system so that they are rebuilt better. Overloading the neuromuscular system over time with the proper weight assists the body in adapting and rebuilding stronger.

Progression

Beginners to weight training are advised to follow the 10% rule. It recommends not progressing any more than 10% weekly in weight used, distance covered, and training time in a given workout. This helps the body gradually adapt and, therefore, reduces the chances of developing overuse injuries.

Also, beginners who experience fatigue in the middle of a set and are unable to perform repetitions can use lighter weights to finish their final reps. Doing this helps them obtain added benefits for their strength and endurance objectives.

Specificity

This principle states that you’re training with a particular goal in mind and your exercise program reflects this. The eventual change in your physical fitness is specific to the kind of training you’ve taken on.

In other words, you improve at what you’re training for. There are lots of variables that will be influenced by your workout goals such as exercise selection, the volume of training, the number of repetitions in each set, and the length of rest between sets.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are important in attaining fitness goals. These will avoid over-exercising and unnecessary injuries caused by overuse. The lack of rest often leads to higher chances of developing injuries.

The rest and recovery fitness principle is also about getting adequate sleep and incorporating proper nutrition as well as hydration. The recovery process is improved with 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

What are the Types of Weight Training?

There are numerous ways to strengthen your muscles through weight training. Depending on the type of weight training, you can do these whether you’re at home, at the gym, or when you’re travelling. The following are the different types of weight training:

Free-Weight

Typically uses hand weights, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, weighted balls or bags, medicine balls, or sandbags.

Machine-Based

Involves the use of gym equipment or devices that have adjustable seats with handles connected to weights or hydraulics.

Body Weight

Uses your own body as resistance to your own weight. Includes squats, push-ups, and planks.

Why Do Weight Training?

Weight training is more than just about building muscle mass; it’s also about keeping your body healthy and strong and at its optimal state. Below are some of the many health benefits achieved through weight training:

  • Increased muscle and bone strength
  • Improved balance and flexibility
  • Better metabolism
  • Increased mobility
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved posture
  • Better sleep
  • Stronger joints, muscles, and bones
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Improved sense of well-being
  • Weight management
  • Prevention or control of chronic conditions
  • Pain management

How much weight training should you do?

According to some experts, the frequency of performing weight training exercises depends on how long you have been doing it.

Beginners: If you’re just starting, the recommended frequency is 2-3 days a week.
Intermediate: If you belong to this group, the recommendation is 3 days a week.
Advanced: The recommended frequency for the advanced group is 4-6 days a week.

In addition, the amount of weight you use depends on the number of repetitions you want to do. Always remember never to lift too much weight that it causes pain. It’s better to lift too little than too much while your body is still getting accustomed to weight training. The goal is to strengthen the muscles without causing injury.

For most people, doing weight training in short sessions a couple of times each week is more practical compared to performing extended daily workouts.

Significant improvement in strength can be observed with a regimen consisting of two or three 20- or 30-minute sessions done weekly. This is also the recommended frequency for healthy individuals.

What Do You Need to Start Weight Training?

As a beginner to weight training, there are important things that you’ll want to consider before starting a weight training program. The purpose is to make sure you’re prepared to take on this goal and that you understand what weight training is all about. It’s also to ascertain that you know what it takes before results are achieved.

Before Starting

1. Consult your doctor.

Prior to beginning any kind of exercise, it’s always wise to speak with your doctor first. This is to determine if it’s safe for you and if there are limitations that you need to consider.

2. Plan it out.

As there are different types of weight training, you’ll need to determine what type you’ll be using and prepare for it. If it’s free weight, you’ll need to purchase the weights or you can opt to use items in your house.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to use gym equipment you’re not familiar with, talk with a trainer to learn how to use it. Should you opt for body weight, find workouts within your range of capability and assign a space where you’ll be performing them.

3. Get familiar with the vocabulary.

Weight training has its own set of words that you’ll need to familiarise yourself with. Two of the most commonly used words in weight training are “sets” and “reps”.

Set refers to a group of repetitions performed without resting. Repetitions, or reps for short, is the term used to refer to the number of times an exercise is repeated in a set.

4. Change your routine at intervals.

Switch up your routine as much as possible to avoid tedium. You can change the number of sets or reps or intervals between sets. You can also choose various exercises and vary your speed to keep things interesting.

What to Remember When Working Out

Choose exercises you enjoy. Working out consistently is a challenge for many, especially beginners. So that you stick with the routine, choose exercises that you like doing. Learn the principles so you do them correctly.

Always do warm-ups. Before starting your regimen, perform walking and stretching for 10-15 minutes. This is to loosen your joints and prepare your body for weight training.

Start slow. If you’re a beginner, you have to start slowly and work gradually building yourself up. Doing this will help prevent injury or accident.

Keep reps and sets simple. For beginners, a good place to start would be doing 12-15 reps and 3 sets of each. The key is to listen to your body so that you avoid overuse and injury.

Rest between sets. A rest period between sets is important. If you’re a novice to weight training, you’ll need to rest longer than the more experienced ones.

It’s recommended that you take a rest from your sets when you feel exhausted and not persist with the workout. You can resume the training just before your heart rate and body temperature are completely back to resting levels.

Breathe properly. Proper breathing is essential to a successful workout routine. When working out, observe proper breathing. Inhale before you lift and exhale during the lift. Never hold your breath when using weights as it can lead to elevated blood pressure that can lead to injury.

Cool down and stretch. Cooling down and doing stretching after you’re done exercising is important because it improves flexibility, minimises muscle tension, helps blood flow back into your muscles, and reduces lactic acid, thus, improving post-workout recovery.

Refuel. Exercise takes up a lot of energy. Replenish your energy levels within 15 to 30 minutes after finishing a routine. Eating carbohydrates, proteins, and a little fat help the body to produce muscle protein and promote recovery.

Hydrate. Stay hydrated throughout your workout. Drink water before, during, and after you exercise. Always replace fluids and electrolytes by hydrating yourself.

Safety. When starting a weight training regimen, always focus on safety. Listen to your body and pay close attention to it. Resist the impulse to push yourself too quickly. Stop your workout if you feel pain and seek medical attention if it doesn’t go away after a rest period.

Weight Training Workouts for Beginners

There are many workout programs designed for beginners. The best exercises depend on your fitness goals and how much time you can spend on your workout regimen. In order to gain the maximum benefit, you’ll need to train two or three times a week.

Below are some exercises for the upper body, core, and lower body that any beginner can perform easily. These aren’t just for true beginners such as those who haven’t tried any weight before. The exercises are also recommended for anybody who hasn’t visited the gym in a long time.

Upper Body Workout

Wall Push-up

  1. Stand straight 2 feet away from a wall.
  2. Press your palms on the wall, shoulder length apart.
  3. Bend your arms slowly, pressing your upper body towards the wall, keeping your back straight, until your nose is a few centimetres away from the wall.
  4. Keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground, hold the position for 2 seconds before returning to your original position.
  5. Increase the level of difficulty by lifting one leg back as you press forward.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  1. Sit straight on a chair with back support, with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. (Start with 1-2 kg dumbbells.)
  3. Bend your arms upwards so the weights rest lightly on your shoulders, with your palms facing outward.
  4. Push the weights up until your arms are straight, then pause.
  5. Slowly return to starting position.
  6. Start with 8-12 reps.

Abdominal and Core Exercise

Standing Crunch

  1. Stand up straight with hands behind your head and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lift your right knee toward your left elbow and slightly twist at the waist.
  3. Return to a standing position.
  4. Repeat the step for the other side.
  5. Do 2 sets of 10 reps.

Side Planks

  1. Position yourself sideways on the floor, with your body and your elbow lined up underneath your shoulder and your feet stacked on top of the other.
  2. Hold your hips up to avoid rotating them forward or backward.
  3. Keep your head and neck relaxed all throughout.
  4. Hold the position for up to 60 seconds.
  5. Do the same for the other side, also holding the side plank position for 60 seconds.

Lower Body Workout

Squat

  1. Stand with your arms by your side and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your hips and knees like when you’re about to sit down.
  3. Extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level.
  4. Return to the standing position.
  5. Do 8-10 repetitions.

Lunge

  1. Place one foot about 2 feet in front of the other, with toes facing the same direction.
  2. With your shoulders pulled back and your chest up, lower your knee until it’s a few centimeters above the floor.
  3. Pushing through your front heel, straighten up your leg to return to starting position.
  4. Repeat steps on the other leg.
  5. Do 2 sets of 8 reps for each leg.

Weight Training Schedule

Your weight training schedule will depend on your exercise objectives. If your weight training goal is to primarily build strength, doing weight training workouts three times a week will likely get you results. But if your goal is to bulk up and build muscle mass, you’ll have to schedule more repetitions and more workout days.

During a session, you can work all your muscle groups, starting with one or two sets of each exercise. Then, work your way up to doing more sets or adding more weight as your body gets accustomed to your regimen and the exercise gets easier. You can also choose to work on a particular muscle group on specific days.

As you consistently perform your beginner routines following a schedule, your body becomes more comfortable. When you’re used to doing resistance training workouts, you can try mixing up exercises. As you continue to develop your strength, be sure to add weight and increase your sets.

Final Thoughts

Before diving into weight training, it’s fundamental to be aware of and understand its guidelines and principles. Learning the basics of weight training and educating yourself about its different aspects is one way of understanding its great importance to the body as well as to your overall well-being.

As always, you should consult your doctor before you start a weight training exercise program, especially if it includes lifting weights of any kind.

Common Questions

1. Who is weight training for?

Weight training is designed for anybody who wishes to strengthen their muscles and bones. It’s ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels to help prevent the loss of lean muscle mass that comes with age. Weight training is also for people with chronic health disorders, provided their exercise program is approved by their medical doctor.

2. What is the difference between weight training and strength training?

Weight training refers to training using weights to improve overall health and fitness goals. Strength training is a specific type of training designed to build muscle mass and a stronger body. Weight training does not necessarily require a long-term approach while strength training makes use of a strength training coach and adheres to a particular long-term plan toward a goal.