Do you feel like you’re on a treadmill heading nowhere with your workout routine? When was the last time you switched up your fitness routine? If you’re struggling with seeing results, whether it’s losing weight or building muscle, adding in weight training to your routine can give you that extra spice you’re looking for.
While many people avoid weight training or strength training, either because they are intimidated by the weight room or they don’t want to get “bulky,” it’s the most effective way to increase strength, change the body’s composition, and drop body fat.
The result of increasing lean muscle mass with this style of training has withstood the test of time. Weight training in addition to cardio outshines any diet product, pill, nutrition bar, or infomercial product. Weight training is exactly as it sounds… it is the lifting of weights with the intent of conditioning muscles. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to the how of weight or strength training. We can train with barbells, dumbbells, Kinesis machines, resistance bands, kettlebell workouts, TRX, and many more.
Benefits of Weight Training
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Reduces estrogen levels, which lowers the risk of breast cancer
- Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis by increasing osteoblasts growth, which builds bone mass
- Reduces PMS symptoms
Additional Health Benefits:
Resting Metabolic Rate: Weight training increases the body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR). This is the number of calories the body burns at rest, not including any daily or physical activity.
Strength: Weight training increases muscle size, strength, power, and endurance. Making improvements in strength make everyday tasks such as carrying groceries, getting in and out of the car or the bath, and even playing with the kids or grandkids so much easier. This is one item that you easily take for granted!
Flexibility: When strength training and weight training you’re working the muscles through a full range of motion, the body’s flexibility is increased and improved. Kinesis machines are an excellent way to get full range of motion exercises into your routine.
Injury Prevention: Increased bone density makes for stronger bones, which lessens the probability of breaks and fractures in the event of a fall. Strong muscles, ligaments, and joints are less likely to give out or tear under stress or injury.
Muscle Tone: Muscle conditioning leads to a greater appearance of firm and tight skin — something everyone wants to achieve!
Posture: Stronger muscles can help with the body’s alignment, which lends to the ability to sit up straighter, taller, and longer with less fatigue. For example, have you wanted to meditate regularly but find it challenging with your back or hips to sit still for so long?
Sleep: The added workout from weight training can help aid deeper, longer sleep, with the ability to fall asleep more quickly.
Attitude: Consistent exercise, including weight training, can help people feel happier and more confident, and manage stress better.
Basic Principles of Weight Training
Having a goal in place is the first step since it gives you something to work towards. Once a goal has been established, manipulating other variables, like the type of exercises, intensity, duration, and variety of workouts can help you develop a plan of attack, keep you motivated and avoid over-training.
Type: For example, if the goal is to tighten your glutes, determine the particular exercises that target that muscle group (such as weighted squats and deadlifts).
Intensity: Intensity refers to the amount of effort that goes into the workout. Questions to ask to determine the appropriate level of intensity to aim for include:
- How heavy is the weight (lift) going to be?
- How long is the resting period?
A note on intensity: If the goal is strength and hypertrophy, an ideal lift is 80% of 1RM (80% of the maximum weight you are able to lift once) for six to eight reps with 3-minute rests in between sets, for a total of four to six sets. This can be customized to suit any individual since it’s based off of your ability to lift your heaviest weight, safely.
Volume: The length and frequency of the weight training workouts will determine the volume.
Variety: Switching up any workout program helps to keep the muscles from adapting to the workload and getting too “comfortable” with the moves. If the body is hitting a plateau, it’s time to either change the type of the exercises, the frequency, or the rep/set pattern to keep the muscles challenged.
Progressive Overload: Safely and gradually increasing the weights to overload the muscle is called a “progressive overload.” This overload creates tiny microscopic tears in the muscle tissues, which then requires the body to repair the issues. This ultimately causes the muscle tissue to grow and/or get stronger. The best part is, this happens with proper rest and recovery!
Rest: The amount of time spent resting in between sets is very individualized. For someone with a strength or hypertrophy goal, a longer amount of rest (90 seconds to four minutes) in between sets is suggested. For someone with a conditioning or endurance goal, a shorter rest in between sets is suggested.
Recovery: Recovery days are just as important as workout days because this is where the magic happens. During this time, the body repairs itself, rebuilds, gets stronger, and grows. If muscle tissue has been torn down, a rest period of 24-48 hours is suggested before training that particular set of muscles again.
How to Start Weight Training
First time or novice weight trainers will benefit greatly from investing in at least 10 sessions with a personal trainer prior to hitting the weights. A personal trainer is a trained professional who can effectively and safely help clients reach their fitness goals. Depending on each person’s individual goals, 10 sessions helps build a solid foundation from which each individual can use as a jumping off point towards achieving their unique goals.
Personal training sessions are educational lessons as much as they are a “calorie-burning workout.” During any given session, clients will learn how to engage the targeted muscles, practice the right movements and train with correct form. Learning proper form while weight training is paramount as it is the foundation of all things exercise related when it comes to progressing the intensity of exercises and staying safe for a lifetime. A trainer has an advantage of viewing clients’ movements from different angles and can provide suggestions, improvements and modifications to help keep them safe and challenged while working towards their personalized goals.
Upon efficiently progressing through the foundational movements of weight training exercises, Village members can move on to small group classes that are led by personal trainers and group fitness instructors like Kinesis, Muscle, Upper Body Blast, and Rear Attitude. These are all great formats that focus on strength training and are instructed by knowledgeable professionals. Working out with a trainer also often gives members the advantage of already knowing the exercises and how to perform them, which gives them more confidence going into the group classes.
While it’s perfectly normal to feel little shy or intimidated before joining a new class, don’t let that be the reason not to try! After all, remember that at some point in life, everyone has been “new” to weight training. Ready to give it a try? Sign up for a complimentary VIP Trial Membership and explore all the Village has to offer.