What is weight training?

Man about to lift a weighted barbell

Weight training, also known as resistance training or strength training, is a form of exercise that involves the use of external resistance, such as free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises, to build and strengthen muscles. The primary goal of weight training is to induce muscular contractions against resistance, leading to muscle hypertrophy (growth) and increased strength.

In weight training, individuals perform exercises that target specific muscle groups or multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Common exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, bicep curls, and shoulder presses. The resistance used can vary depending on the individual's fitness level and goals. It can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the weight, modifying the number of repetitions and sets, or altering the exercise intensity.

Weight training provides numerous benefits, including:

  1. Muscle Strength and Power: Weight training helps increase muscle strength, allowing individuals to perform daily activities with greater ease and efficiency. It also enhances power output, important for activities requiring explosive movements like jumping or sprinting.
  2. Muscle Hypertrophy: Consistent weight training stimulates muscle growth, leading to increased muscle size and definition. This can contribute to a more sculpted physique.
  3. Improved Bone Health: Weight-bearing exercises in weight training, such as squats and lunges, help promote bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  4. Metabolism and Weight Management: Weight training helps increase muscle mass, which can boost the metabolism and promote fat burning, aiding in weight management and body composition improvements.
  5. Injury Prevention and Joint Stability: Strengthening muscles and connective tissues through weight training can improve joint stability and reduce the risk of injuries. It can also alleviate or prevent muscle imbalances, contributing to better overall movement mechanics and posture.
  6. Enhanced Sports Performance: Weight training is widely used in athletic training to improve performance in various sports. It helps athletes develop the necessary strength, power, and muscular endurance specific to their sport.

When engaging in weight training, it is important to use proper form and technique to maximise effectiveness and minimise the risk of injury. It is good practice for beginners to seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional to learn correct exercise techniques, establish appropriate training programs, and gradually progress in intensity and resistance.

Overall, weight training is a versatile and effective exercise modality for individuals of all fitness levels and ages, providing a wide range of physical and physiological benefits.