Why lift weights?
There are a wide number of benefits associated with lifting weights, including increased strength and flexibility, weight loss through an increased metabolic rate, and improved posture.
Also known as resistance training or strength training, the idea is to use your muscles to lift, push or pull against a resistance. The resistance could be your body weight, a free weight such as a dumbbell, pin loaded weight machines, hydraulic resistance machines, elastic bands and even water.
Did you know?
The benefits of weight training include increased strength and flexibility, weight loss through an increased metabolic rate, and improved posture.
Getting it right
Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about lifting weights. Follow these guidelines enjoy the benefits of lifting weights while minimising your risk of injury.
- Make sure to warm up your muscles first with some light cardiovascular activity, like a 5 minute walk.
- Begin gradually when you start lifting weights, and stretch afterwards to prevent soreness.
- Exercise all your major muscle groups such as your legs, chest, back, shoulders and abdominals.
- Use proper lifting technique at all times, keeping your back straight, abdominals contracted, and control the negative or lowering phase of each movement.
- Record your progress and monitor your improvements.
- Only perform 1-2 sets of each exercise for the first few weeks. Sets are the amount of times you perform a series of repetitions.
- After a few weeks, begin to progress by increasing the repetitions, the amount of weight you are lifting, and / or the number of sets.
- If you are lifting dumbbells or barbells, get someone to ‘spot’ or watch over you when lifting heavier weights
- Consult an exercise specialist if you are unsure about starting a weight training program.
Did you know?
It’s important to use good technique when lifting weights by contracting your abdominals throughout, and avoiding fast, jerky movements that are less effective, and more likely to cause injury.
- Lift a weight if it’s too heavy. If you can’t lift a weight at least 8 times (8 repetitions), make it lighter
- Lift a weight that’s too light. If you can lift a weight more than 15-20 times, make it heavier.
- Keep doing the same routine. Perform a variety of different exercises that includes free weights, machine weights and body weight exercises where possible.
- Perform fast, jerky actions that are less effective, and increase your chances of injury. Don’t cheat on your technique to help lift heavier weights.
- Continue lifting if you feel pain, discomfort or dizziness.
- Exercise the same body part on consecutive days, or lift weights when you are still sore from a previous workout.
- Feel like you have to become a gym junkie. You can always use a set of dumbbells at home.
Did you know?
Your body needs at least a day’s rest between weight training workouts, and even longer if you are still sore from last time you trained.
Myth busters: Weights won’t make you bulky
This is one of the most common health and fitness myths.
Very few men and even fewer women have the genetic potential to build bulky muscles. People that bulk up from resistance training need to work at incredibly high levels of intensity, and work virtually full time on their training and diet.
This is not the type of training you need to enjoy benefits of weight training. Manageable weights can still help you get strong, energised, and looking your best. You will not bulk up