Beginner Weight Lifting


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Home :: Beginner Weight Lifting : Part-1

Beginner Weight Lifting

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Congratulations! It's great you've decided to begin weight lifting, whether it's to compete, gain strength for a sport, or just to have fun and get a great body. Although you are a beginner to weight lifting but making that initial decision to begin weight lifting is only the most important step to achieving the physique you desire. The only problem is, "Where, and how do I start". That's why I'm writing this article to guide you. Through this article we will explains you why strength training is so good for you - not just for the sake of your appearance but also for your health - and in case you had any doubts about the benefits of this type of exercise, it sets the record straight on some popular myths and misconceptions. This article also deals with the practicalities of whether to train at home or at a gym, and gives you a useful checklist on choosing a gym (in Part 2) to suit your needs. If you are wondering whether to use dumbbells or machines, this article weighs up the pros and cons and give you the scientifically proven facts (in Part 3) on each method of training. Finally, it gives you practical pointers on workout accessories, such as belts and straps (in Part 4).

Reasons to Begin Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is not only about getting physically stronger so that you can lift more weight. Here are some of the many benefits that a well-planned and well-executed weight lifting program can bring.

Increased muscle mass and strength

A well-planned weight lifting program that trains all muscle groups leads to increases in muscle size and strength. In contrast, endurance activities do not produce significant changes in strength or muscle mass. Research has shown that a basic weight­lifting program lasting just 25 minutes followed three times a week can increase muscle mass by about 1 kg over an eight­week period, while lean mass gains of 20% of your starting body weight are common after the first year of training.

If you want to start a weight lifting program then go to our weight lifting program section.

Strengthened tendons and ligaments

Weight lifting increases the strength of the tendons and ligaments and therefore improves joint stability. It stimulates the production of collagen proteins in the tendons and ligaments, thus causing an increase in their structural strength.

Avoiding age-related muscle loss

Muscle mass and strength tend to decrease with age. Without strength training, adults typically lose 2.3-3.2 kg muscle every decade. Muscle loss occurs mainly in the fast twitch (FT) muscle fibres, which are involved in strength and explosive activities. This cannot be prevented by cardio-vascular exercise - only weight lifting maintains muscle mass and strength as you get older.

Increased bone density

Weight lifting improves bone strength and increases bone protein and mineral content. Studies show that the bones under the most stress from weight training have the highest bone mineral content. For example, it has been shown that there are significant increases in the bone mineral content of the upper femur (thigh) after four months of weight lifting? A US study found that women who followed a weight-training programme twice a week for one year developed 76% more bone strength than those who did no weight lifting. These findings therefore suggest that weight training reduces the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Increased metabolic rate

Weight lifting increases the resting metabolic rate (RMR) - the energy required for tissue maintenance and essential functions. This is due to the fact that weight lifting increases muscle tissue, which has a higher energy requirement than fat tissue - i.e. muscle tissue is metabolically active. People who weight train therefore use more calories throughout the day. Research has shown that adding 1.4 kg muscle increases the RMR by 7% and our daily calorie requirement by 15%. Weight lifting also increases exercise metabolism. At rest, 0.45 kg muscle tissue requires 35 kcal/day. During exercise, energy expenditure rises dramatically - five to ten times above the resting level. Thus, the more muscle tissue you have, the greater the number of calories expended both during exercise and at rest.

The reduction in metabolic rate experienced by most people as they get older is largely due to a loss of muscle tissue. This loss accounts for the 2-5% decrease in RMR/ decade experienced by non-exercising adults, which may translate into unwanted body fat gain. Therefore, strength training is an excellent way of preserving muscle mass, preventing a reduction of metabolic rate and avoiding fat gain with age.

Reduced body fat

Without exercise, adults gain on average 7 kg of fat every decade. Weight lifting can help reduce body fat by increasing RMR (see above) and therefore daily calorie expenditure. One study found that weight lifting produced a loss of 1.8 kg fat after three months of training, despite a 15% increase in calorie intake. Another study of 282 adult beginners found that after eight weeks of weight lifting and aerobic exercise, they lost almost 4 kg fat and gained 1.4 kg muscle - a significant improvement in body composition.

Reduced blood pressure

Weight lifting has been shown to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The effect is even greater if weight lifting is combined with aerobic exercise . An American study found that a combination of two months of weight lifting and aerobic exercise resulted in a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 5 mm Hg, and diastolic blood pressure of 3 mm Hg.

Reduced blood cholesterol and blood fats

Studies have demonstrated improvements in blood cholesterol and blood triglycerides (fats) as a result of several weeks of weight lifting.

Improved posture

Weight lifting greatly improves overall posture, as well as correcting specific postural faults. A number of factors influence our posture, including skeletal structure, basic body type, strength and flexibility. Obviously, the first and second factors are controlled by our genetic make-up and cannot be altered. However, strength and flexibility can be changed through training or disuse (i.e. increased or decreased demand). Imbalances in these two components lead to postural faults, but these may be corrected through specific bodybuilding exercises and stretches.

Reduced injuries

A well-conditioned and well-balanced musculo-skeletal system has a much smaller chance of sustaining injury. A stronger body is better able to avoid or resist impact injuries from falls and activities such as running or jumping. Muscular imbalances are a common cause of injury: for example, under developed hamstrings (back of the thighs) relative to the quadriceps (front of the thighs) can make the knee joint unstable, thus increasing injury risk.

The majority of lower-back problems are due to weakness or imbalance of the deep muscles close to the spine and pelvis, which contribute to core stability (see lower back pain). A well­ designed weight lifting programme will improve the strength of deep muscles in the the lower back and other muscles involved in posture, thus reducing the likelihood of injury. One study found that patients suffering lower-back pain had significantly less pain after ten weeks of specific strength exercises.

For more information on injuries - their occurrence, symptoms, treatment, prevention...Click Here

Improved psychological well-being

Consistent weight lifting helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression; uplift your mood; and promote more restful sleep. It may help decrease muscle tension due to the intensity of the muscular contractions. It also improves body image, which has a major effect on psychological well-being. Participants report that they have more energy, greater confidence and that they are prouder of their appearance.

Improved appearance

Personal appearance is greatly improved by weight lifting due to increased muscle tone, strength, function and improved posture. Changes in body composition mean an increase in lean mass and decrease in fat mass, both of which greatly enhance the way you look.

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