Decided to put ‘getting healthy’ at the top of your resolution list this year? Congrats for taking the first step to looking and feeling so much better! Exercise in any format benefits our bodies and minds in many ways, with weight lifting offering perks like better bone health, improved posture and a stronger core to name a few. Hitting the free-weight section soon? This article answers the question: what are the benefits of lifting weights?
Benefits of lifting weights
Say Goodbye to Body Fat
Let’s face it. Most of us have little jiggly bits we could do without. The solution? Lifting weights! Everyone knows that cardiovascular exercise, like jogging and rowing, is great for losing weight (when combined with a nutritionally-balanced diet). However, cardio will reduce both body fat AND lean body mass (muscle density). Lifting weights, on the other hand, assists with reducing body fat WITHOUT reducing muscle mass. This is great for people who are happy with their overall body shape but want to lose fat in a targeted area – like the belly.
Burn Calories For Longer
When it comes to burning calories, lifting weights is the gift that keeps on giving! The body’s muscle mass determines its resting metabolic rate, or how many calories it burns through every day – we burn calories even when doing things like showering and brushing our teeth. A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that people who lift weights while exercising burn an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours after working out than those who only do cardio. So, the more you work your muscles the more calories you’ll burn when NOT at the gym!
Better Define Your Muscles
Ladies, don’t stress about looking like sister of the Hulk if you start lifting weights. Muscle growth in men is largely owing to high levels of testosterone, something ladies have much less of. For this reason, women who lift weights (without performance enhancers) will tone and define their muscles – while men will both define and bulk. The rule of thumb for lifting weights is as follows: to define/cut muscles, perform more reps with lighter weights. To bulk up muscles, perform fewer reps with heavier weights.
Become Much Stronger
Most people sign up for gym contracts and bust their butts because they want to look and feel better. While regular weight lifting ticks both of these boxes, where it really shines is in the strength department. Let’s face it: we want to feel strong, like we can handle anything life throws at us. By building our physical strength, we empower ourselves. So, to increase your overall strength, you’ll want to increase your weight load over time. If you start, say, bicep curls with five-kilogram dumbbells, try and push yourself up to six kilograms after a few weeks. Then go up to seven or eight kilograms, and so on. Be careful not to go too heavy too soon as you could end up doing more harm than good!
Reduce Your Injury Risk
This final benefit of lifting weights might be the most important. Struggling with knee pains? Waking up with a sore shoulder every morning? These injuries are often caused by incorrect form when working out or performing other bodily movements. Working the muscles that surround and support the body’s joints helps to reduce injury by promoting good form and strengthening joint integrity. The stronger these muscles become, the better they are able to hold your joints in the correct positions while you’re exercising.
Are you a personal trainer who wants to learn more about weight lifting and Olympic lifting? If you do, then our Olympic Lifting CPD Course is just for you! To read more and to register, follow this link.