Workouts do not have to be gruesome tiring hours that you dread. They can be fun. No, seriously! If you haven’t found the ‘happy’ in your workout regime as yet, it simply means you haven’t found the right training for you. Weight lifting! An underestimated element of the training process, it can be done by everyone. Yes, you heard that right. Here’s your guide to weight lifting and what it includes and how you can make it work for you.
Is weight lifting all about bodybuilding?
The first misconception that people have begins right from when they hear the word ‘weights’. A mental image of a bulky man with muscles and abs and biceps pops into your mind and that immediately discourages a lot of people from trying out the activity. But what you may not have associated with the training is building a lifestyle that is healthy and keeps you holistically fit.
Casey Johnston of She’s a Beast, says to GQ India “Our body has all of these ways that we're good at moving, and that's what lifting is structured around. You don't have to be the strongest person there ever was in order to benefit from learning to move in those ways.”
It is finally all about exercising your muscle.
How can lifting weights boost core strength?
Experts are of the opinion that adding these kinds of strength exercises to your workouts do a lot to boost your mood and even help with weight loss by burning fat at a higher rate than cardio. Aryan Siahpoushan, a trainer at Method Strong says in an article to NPR that “weight lifting can help keep chronic pain at bay. A lot of our daily pains are from using the wrong muscles when you're active over a long period of time — whether that activity is something routine [i.e., how you carry your work bag] or working out. Strength training can rewire those movements so that your body can recruit the ideal muscle groups on a daily basis."
In a study that was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the findings were that 30 minutes of high-intensity training done twice a week improved the functional performance and aspects such as bone density and strength in women who were postmenopausal and had low bone mass. It has even been found to help with depression.
“All exercise boosts mood because it increases endorphins. But for strength training, additional research that’s looked at neurochemical and neuromuscular responses to such workouts offers further evidence it has a positive effect on the brain,” says Neal Pire, CSCS, an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist to Everyday Health.
Are you looking to get started with this workout routine? Here’s how you can.
Add weight lifting to your running schedule
Research has shown that for all those who run every day and are looking to go faster, weight lifting could actually be the form of strength exercise that helps you achieve this speed and endurance. According to Mariel Shofield, DPT, PT, CSCS of Monarch Athletic Club in West Hollywood, “Ideally a well-developed program would start in a muscular endurance phase and progress towards power. This can range from 3 to 6 times per week, depending on the individual. Aim for workouts that include 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps, with less than 30 seconds of rest between each set.”
This helps strengthen the hamstrings and the glutes that will further help with achieving the speed.
Start slow, but consistent
For some people simply building their core strength and endurance could be the goal of their fitness regime. As the human body ages, there is a loss of 3 to 5 per cent of the lean muscle mass each year and adding a weight lifting regime to your lifestyle could help with building this fitness.
Another thing to bear in mind while lifting weights is to focus on quality rather than quantity. Instead of focusing on the weight and the number of kilos you can lift, building a consistent pattern is key to getting the benefits of it.
Don’t go straight to lifting those heavy iron bars on a Wednesday morning just after you have had your coffee. Strength exercises require a warm-up so as to increase the blood flow to your muscles and prime them for the workout ahead. Between sets, rest. This gives muscles a chance to recuperate and avoids undue strain. Stretching once you have completed the sets is great for easing muscle tension.
Don’t change the set rapidly
When you are beginning with the training, stay true to what you begin with. “Stick to the same basic moves two to three times a week to build a basic level of fitness and strength,” says Hannah Davis, CSCS, owner of Body by Hannah in an article to SELF. “Why complicate things if you don’t have to? Great results can be made by repeating the same workout, but increasing weights as you become stronger.”
Resting is equally important as is the training. “Listen to your body,” says Davis. “It tells you when it needs a day off.”