Weight training (also called resistance training or strength training) uses resistance to muscular contraction to anaerobic endurance, muscle strength, and the size of skeletal muscles. It incorporates a variety of training techniques such as calisthenics, isometrics, and plyometrics. Weight training is an important aspect of your fitness routine and benefits people of all ages, particularly people with health issues such as arthritis and obesity. Before moving into weight training, you should know about the most popular weight training equipment.
Weight training is a versatile type of workout that you can do almost anywhere. Although it’s a popular exercise option at gyms, you can also build a robust strength training program in the comfort of your home. You can get weight training from calisthenics, free weights, machines, and other types of equipment. The important thing is to exercise all major body groups, including your arms, legs, back, and stomach. The muscles around your center called your “core muscles,” are especially important to target since they stabilize the rest of your body.
The Benefits of Weight Training
Research has shown that weight training can benefit your health and fitness in many different ways.
It is important for everybody but even more so for older adults because it can slow down the loss of bone and muscle that goes along with aging.
Other benefits include;
- builds lean muscle mass
- reduce body fat
- boost metabolism and make weight loss easier
- increase bone density and improve bone health
- improve cardiovascular health
- improve brain health and cognitive function
- helps in fighting depression
Weight Training Equipment options
The type of weight-lifting equipment you use well depends on your individual preference and needs. Below are key choices of weight training equipment to help with your training;
This fitness tool was developed in Russia for use in strength training and aerobic exercise to work for all muscle groups at the same time. The kettlebell looks like a cannonball with a handle and is an inexpensive and versatile piece of equipment. A kettlebell workout is of high intensity and involves a full range of motion, so there’s much more emphasis on power. Many kettlebell exercises involve swinging the weight, so it’s much more dynamic than using dumbbells. The good part is that you can work on multiple aspects of fitness with kettlebells (strength, power, endurance, and even cardio). However, its downside is there’s a learning curve, so it’s important to take instructions from a pro or videos.
A dumbbell is another weight training equipment. Dumbells are good weight training equipment to start with if you’re new to weight training. It allows you to work each limb individually, which is great for building strength in your non-dominant side. Also, they’re more joint-friendly because your hands aren’t in a fixed position, and they let your body move in a more natural motion. Furthermore, you also have to involve more stabilizer muscles for some exercises because there’s no fixed path, so you have to control how the weight comes up and down to get more out of your workouts. See our complete guide on dumbbells.
These include both fixed-weight barbells like you see in a gym or plate-loaded barbells where you can control the weight. Barbells are excellent weight training equipment because they allow you to lift heavier weight, and you have both sides of the body working at the same time. Barbells will be a lifter’s best friend for moves like back squat, deadlift, and snatches. In addition, they allow you to go so much further than dumbbells because you can add in so much weight.
These giant inflatable beach-ball-like tools are another way to ‘up the ante on strength training exercises. Stability balls are suitable for bodyweight exercises that focus on the core muscles that attach the pelvis to the femur and spine. So, the advantage of a stability ball is that it’s inexpensive and adaptable to many users. However, you need some training, and you may also need an expert’s guide.
These bands may look like giant colored rubber bands, but they provide a surprisingly effective workout. Resistance bands are excellent for exercises like overhead presses, squats, and lateral band walks (a seriously effective dynamic warm-up move). It can also be a good intro to weight training for someone new to the gym, and they’re inexpensive and portable. So once you learn how to use them, you can do the exercises anywhere with just a chair for support. See a complete guide on resistance bands.
A weighted ball offers another way to add variety to your workouts. They’re meant to be lifted, carried, and thrown. Moving medicine balls in multiple directions and planes of motion can involve more muscle tissue which elevates energy expenditure. You can also use them for almost any exercise you can do with dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells, emphasizing building balance and coordination.
Free weights include just any piece of strength equipment not attached to a stationary object. They’re not as expensive compared to weight training machines, dumbbells, barbells, and they don’t take up much space, making them ideal for home exercisers.