The Health Benefits of Weight Lifting

Man performing barbell curls

Weight lifting is a great way to improve muscle tone and increase overall body strength. Weight lifting, when done with a view to improve the body, is also called strength training and should be a part of any balanced exercise regime.

When done in moderation, it helps burn fat, tone the body and increase the ability of the body to bear stress and strain.

Various Weight Training Exercises

There is a range of exercises than can be done with weights. The simplest is to jog, walk or perform aerobic exercises with weights fitted to the ankles or carried in the hands. Care must be taken to never use weights when warming up or stretching. The excessive strain on the muscle can lead to serious tears or pulls on the muscle.

The general rule when weight training is to increase ones weight lifting capacity slowly. Thus, begin with smaller weights and gradually work up to heavier ones. This rule should be followed even when you know or think you are capable of handling higher weights from the start.

That is why weight lifting should not be done without supervision. It is just too easy to overwork and not only pull or a tear muscle, but also hurt the spine or reduce coordination.

When weight lifting is referred to as weightlifting, it is a competitive sport. That is to say, people compete with each other to see who can lift the greatest amount of weight. Weightlifting is also an Olympic sport and has received great attention in recent years, especially with all the doping charges that have been made.

There are two main methods of weightlifting in competitions:

  • The first is the ‘Snatch’, where competitors must lift a barbell at their feet and raise it above their heads in one straight motion.
  • The second is the ‘clean and jerk’ where contestants must first clear the bar off the ground and hold it over their color bone in a squatting posture. Then with it on their shoulders they have to jerk and raise it over their heads. The scores from both the lifts are totaled and then the winner is declared. There are weightlifting events for both genders.

There is generally a significant difference in the body structures of weight lifters and body builders. Weight lifters lack the sculpted, bulky muscles that body-builders strive for. Weightlifting is all about strength and bodybuilding is all about muscles. People that lift weights are definitely stronger than body-builders.

That is why weight lifting is recommended even to people who do not wish to put on bulk, but just tone their bodies. Protein and health supplements are generally not prescribed to people interested in weight lifting, but they are often used in the progress of body building.

People who are interested in weight lifting, as a hobby or as a sport, are advised to start early and concentrate on strength more than stamina. They should devise a training plan and stick to it. They should set small weekly goals and aim at achieving them rather than a grand end result.

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