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What is Weight Training?

Not just for bodybuilders, weight training is an effective way to build strength, enhance physical performance, and improve overall well-being. Weight training (also known as strength training or resistance training) involves using external forces - such as weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight - to challenge the muscles, leading to muscle adaptations that result in increased strength, muscle mass, and endurance.

Weight training equipment

Weight training has numerous advantages. It increases your resting metabolic rate - the calories you burn when you’re not physically active or when you’re sleeping - contributing to better weight management, improves your mental health as well as your bone health, and helps you maintain your physical function as you age.

How Often and How Intensely Should You Do Weight Training?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines, adults should do strength training activities of moderate or greater intensity involving all major muscle groups a minimum of two days a week. So what does this mean in practice?

“Moderate or greater intensity” means that you need to feel like your challenging yourself; your muscles should feel fatigued by the end of a workout. This can be achieved in two ways: 1) Using a light weight and doing numerous repetitions of an exercise to the point of fatigue or 2) Using a heavier weight (but not so heavy that you can injure yourself) and doing fewer repetitions of an exercise.

Your “major muscle groups” consist of your chest, back, arms, abdominals, legs and shoulders. Saying that you should work out all of your major muscle groups in your strength training at least twice a week means that if you work out certain muscle groups on certain days (as some people like to do), you should do each group twice a week. Alternatively, you can do strength training of all of your muscles at the same time twice a week.

Getting Started

Safety and technique is everything when it comes to beginning a weight training program and achieving maximum results. Enrolling in an introductory class or working with a personal trainer to learn the proper techniques for various exercises is strongly recommended. To get a sense of some weight training exercises and their correct techniques, you can also review the American Council on Exercise’s exercise database and library.

Before beginning, consult with your health care provider for guidance, particularly if you’ve had any injuries or have a pre-existing health condition.

Patience and consistency are the keys to success in weight training. Listen to your body, progress at a pace that suits you, and enjoy the journey towards a stronger, healthier you!


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