So you need to lose a few pounds? Perhaps you want to bulk up and strengthen and define your muscle tone? Maybe you just want to add a bit of variety to your exercise program?
Weight training routines offer a great way to accomplish these goals. These types of training routines are used by professional athletes, fitness pros, and body builders.
Many individuals work weight training into their overall exercise routine in combination with cardio workouts or other activities. In order for a weight training routine to be effective, it needs to be targeted to produce specific results. The exercises you include will be different depending on what you want to accomplish.
Basic Weight Training Workouts
When first getting started with weight training programs, it is important to learn proper technique before moving on to more difficult exercises or heavier weights. It is also a good idea to establish a pattern or routine to help you stick to your program and get consistent results.
For beginners, training for a half hour or 45 minutes two to three times each week is recommended. As noted, the exercises you include in your routine will depend on the results desired.
Strength Training Workouts
A muscle gets stronger when it is used consistently. For example, a person lifting 5-lb dumbbells according to the same workout routine will condition their muscles to perform at a certain level and will maintain and tone muscles. To increase strength and bulk, the muscles will need to be forced to lift beyond the normal range, hence the saying, no pain, no gain.
To exceed current capacity and improve muscle strength, a workout should progressively add more weight, sets, or repetitions in a set. It may become necessary to move to a different type of lifting exercise.
Those who want to increase strength while minimizing growth of muscle mass should aim for the maximum number or repetitions possible for each weight, rather than trying to lift heavier than anyone else.
Muscle Building Weight Training Routines
A muscle grows and strengthens when it is pushed beyond its average capacity. Those who want to add muscle quickly will lift heavier and use different techniques to “shock” their bodies into growing muscle.
Many people agree that free weights are better suited to building muscle than resistance machines because they force all the muscles to work to support the weight, rather than allowing the machine to help. It is also important to include exercises that target certain areas, such as chest presses, bicep curls, calf raises, or back squats.
Building muscle also requires recovery time for the muscles to adjust. This involves getting the proper nutrition, sleep, and breaks between workouts. Most weight training programs geared at adding mass suggest a recovery time of two or three days in between training sessions.
You may decide to do circuit training or cardio exercise in between, but be aware that burning too many calories can limit muscle growth. Many people who have difficulty adding muscle mass are making the mistake of working out too much.
Workouts For Weight Reduction
Muscle weighs more than flab, and this has caused some people to get upset with their weight lifting programs. If the wrong type of exercise or an inappropriate routine is utilized, a person could actually gain weight because they are building muscle quickly.
Those who want to lose weight will apply the opposite approach from muscle building. They should lift smaller weights with more repetitions and work in cardio activities more frequently.
Types of Workout Equipment
There are several types of weight training equipment available from basic free weights such as dumbbells and barbells, to weight training stations and variable resistance machines.
Free weights generally engage more of the body’s muscles during a workout. Because you are not relying on resistance or other support to stabilize the weight, you improve coordination as well. However, this can make free weights more dangerous for beginners who do not have proper technique or who select weights beyond their capabilities.
Free weights typically take up less space than training stations and can be purchased in the amount, style and price range to fit any budget.
Resistance training machines use the design of the machine to target a specific muscle and work it without the assistance of other related muscles.
There are several types of resistance machines. Some apply a constant resistance throughout the muscle movement. They place maximum resistance on a muscle or joint when it is at its weakest point, such as an elbow that is extended. Free weights such as dumbbells fit into this category, but there are also machines with cables and weight stacks that provide constant resistance.
Variable resistance equipment uses mechanics to adjust the amount of resistance on a muscle depending on the flex or angle of the joint. Thus resistance is increased at the point where an improved angle makes it easier to lift. The better quality machines utilize the results of extensive research to help improve results, minimize injuries and provide a variety of workout options.
Weight Training Tips and Suggestions
Whether you are using free weights or weight benches and other equipment, it is important to have your health checked before beginning an exercise program, especially if you have had recent health concerns, are overweight, or have not been active for several months.
It is also advisable to work with a fitness consultant or therapist at first to establish a weight training routine that is within your abilities and that is geared toward the results you hope to achieve.
Diet and fat intake can also affect your weight training program and many people consult with a nutritionist before beginning a training program. Building muscle requires different foods than losing weight so avoid frustrating your efforts by getting some informed dietary information before starting.
As with all forms of exercise, it takes a bit of time for results to become obvious. Hopefully you will begin to feel more active, energetic, and happy shortly after beginning your weight training program, but the loss of weight or growth of muscles will take longer. The results can be subtle at first.
Take photos or record weight, size and other information before beginning and compare weekly to see your progress more clearly. This will help you realize that change is taking place and you will be more likely to continue with
your weight training workout routine.
About the Author:
C.J. Gustafson is a successful writer for
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