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Weight training does not require you to be a bodybuilder or a professional athlete to get the benefits. Weight training, when done correctly, may help you shed fat, boost your strength and muscle tone, and improve your bone density. Weight training, if done poorly, will not provide these advantages and may possibly cause harm.

Check your technique

You may acquire weight training techniques by seeing friends or others at the gym, but what you observe isn't always safe. Incorrect weight training technique can result in sprains, strains, fractures, and other unpleasant injuries that can jeopardize your weight-training attempts.

Working with a competent weight training professional — a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or other fitness specialist who is experienced with correct weight training technique — is a good place to start if you're just getting started. If you've been lifting weights for a while, consider booking some time with a trainer to double-check your technique and identify any adjustments you might need to make.

Weight training do's

When you're weight training, do:

  • Lift an appropriate amount of weight. Start with a weight you can lift comfortably 12 to 15 times.
    For most people, a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions with a weight that fatigues the muscles can build strength efficiently and can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise. As you get stronger, gradually increase the amount of weight.

  • Use proper form. Learn to do each exercise correctly. When lifting weights, move through the full range of motion in your joints. The better your form, the better your results, and the less likely you are to hurt yourself. If you're unable to maintain good form, decrease the weight or the number of repetitions. Remember that proper form matters even when you pick up and replace your weights on the weight racks.
    If you're not sure whether you're doing a particular exercise correctly, ask a personal trainer or other fitness specialist for help.

  • Breathe. You might be tempted to hold your breath while you're lifting weights. Don't hold your breath. Instead, breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower the weight.

  • Seek balance. Work all of your major muscles — including the abdomen, hips, legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms. Strengthen the opposing muscles in a balanced way, such as the fronts and backs of the arms.

  • Add strength training in your fitness routine. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two times a week.

  • Rest. Avoid exercising the same muscles two days in a row. You might work all of your major muscle groups at a single session two or three times a week, or plan daily sessions for specific muscle groups. For example, work your arms and shoulders on Monday, your legs on Tuesday, and so on.

Weight training don'ts

Follow these tips to avoid common mistakes when you're weight training:

  • Don't skip the warmup. Cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles. Before you lift weights, warm up with five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or other aerobic activity.

  • Don't rush. Move the weight in an unhurried, controlled fashion. Taking it slow helps you isolate the muscles you want to work and keeps you from relying on momentum to lift the weight. Rest for about one minute between each exercise.

  • Don't overdo it. For most people, completing one set of exercises to the point of fatigue is usually enough. Additional sets may take up extra time and contribute to overload injury. However, the number of sets that you perform may differ depending on your fitness goals.

  • Don't ignore pain. If an exercise causes pain, stop. Try the exercise again in a few days or try it with less weight.

  • Don't forget your shoes. Shoes that protect your feet and provide good traction can keep you from slipping or injuring your feet while you're lifting weights.

Remember, the more you concentrate on proper weight training technique, the more you'll get out of your weight training program.

Lifting Weights

Weight lifting isn't just about bulking up and building muscle mass, the experts say. Its benefits include improved posture, better sleep, gaining bone density, maintaining weight loss, boosting metabolism, lowering inflammation and staving off chronic disease, among a laundry list of positives.

Strength Training

Wouldn't you want to get started if you knew that a specific form of exercise might benefit your heart, enhance your balance, strengthen your bones and muscles, and help you lose or maintain weight? According to research, strength training can give all of these benefits and more.

According to the American Heart Association, strength training, also known as weight or resistance training, is a physical activity that is designed to improve muscular strength and fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, such as free weights, weight machines, or your own body weight.

And it is critical that everyone understands that strength training is more than simply bodybuilders lifting weights in a gym. Regular strength or resistance training is beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels because it helps to counteract the natural loss of lean muscle mass that occurs with aging (the medical term for this loss is sarcopenia). It can also help those who have chronic health problems including obesity, arthritis, or a cardiac issue.

Does Lifting Weights Burn Fat

Strength training, according to experts, can be more effective than cardio alone in developing an athletic body (and it won't make you bulk up immediately).

Certain weight lifting activities demand your entire body to participate, allowing you to burn calories while still gaining muscle. Lifting is a fantastic place to start if you want to improve your body composition and become leaner or stronger.

Focus on compound motions for the best outcomes, strive for moderate and steady improvement, and modify your dietary habits to suit your new routine.

Lifting weights may train numerous muscle groups at the same time, resulting in maximal calorie expenditure.

The benefit of weight lifting, particularly with free weights such as dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells, is that it provides a full-body exercise.

Picking up and stabilizing big weights utilizes your legs, back, core, and arms. Noam Tamir, founder and CEO of TS Fitness, previously told Insider that having all of those muscle groups working at the same time results in a significant calorie burn.

Classic compound exercises, including deadlifts, squats, presses, and Olympic lifts (clean, jerk, and snatch), are especially effective since they engage big muscles like your glutes and hamstrings.

Having greater muscle and strength can help your metabolism.

While aerobic activity might help you burn more calories while you work out, the advantages of weight lifting last long after you leave the gym.

"When you stop doing cardio, you stop burning calories," Sarah Carr, a personal trainer and professional weightlifter, previously told Insider. "When you stop lifting weights, your body begins to recuperate and continues to burn calories for an extended length of time."

Then, when your body adjusts to the stress of weightlifting by developing new muscular tissue, your metabolism may increase even more.

Weight reduction experts advocate being patient since a slower method helps preserve or even develop muscle, keeping your metabolism robust. Slow weight reduction also assures that the effects will be long-lasting.

Good nutrition is key for fat loss

No matter what you do in the gym, burning fat means maintaining a calorie deficit, or using more energy than you eat in the form of food. For most people, that's difficult to do without making some changes to your eating habits.

Fat Burning Weight Training

Burpees combine squats, jumps, and pushups. It's an effective workout because you're burning fat from your overall body, and you're training multiple muscle groups like your chest, legs, and core, says Shaikh. Do 10 reps in 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, and Weightlifting Sports

Competitions in Weightlifting:

Within the last 20 years, the traditional fitness and competition applications of weight training and strength training — terms with essentially the same meaning — have changed. Training with weights is increasingly embraced as a means of facilitating health — for fat loss, for osteoporosis prevention, for strength, agility, and mobility in older age, for general fitness.1 Weights are even proposed as a means of managing various established conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease, to name a few.

The older, established forms of competition weight training are still very popular and they include:

  • Bodybuilding

  • Olympic weightlifting

  • Powerlifting

Strongman competitions are also popular within a small community. Here’s how it all fits together, from the casual fitness trainer to the competition junkie.

Weight Training for Fitness:

Most people weight train to improve health, fitness, and appearance, and to prepare for sports competitions. Here are examples:

  • Disease management including type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and heart and lung disease.

  • Fat loss, weight management and body shaping for health and appearance.

  • Fitness for participation in other activities like sports and the military and related physical fitness requirements.

  • General fitness, including strength, balance, aerobic fitness, blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and bone density management, and psychological well-being.

Weight Training for Sports:

Increasing sports performance by building strength, power, and agility is the goal of weight training for various sports. The best programs to achieve this are widely debated and different approaches are used. Some trainers favor exercises that mimic the dominant actions involved in a sport, while others concentrate on building general strength and power as a base from which performance will be enhanced.

For example, doing one-legged squats for cycle sprint training reminds us that power is applied mostly one leg at a time in cycle racing. Yet a trainer who favors a general preparation for strength and power might not consider such specific limb training necessary.


Bodybuilding is a sport as well as a recreation. Competition bodybuilders develop muscular bodies in the extreme and some compete for recognition at formal championships. Their bodies are characterized by extremely low levels of body fat and a very high muscular size and shape.

Bodybuilders use a wider range of exercises, including free and machine weights than any other discipline because they need to develop even smaller muscles to enhance body features. It’s fair to say that bodybuilders concentrate more on muscle size and body features than on actual strength.

Bodybuilders usually do not have much cross-fertilization with powerlifters or Olympic lifters. Yet they seem more familiar with the health and nutrition issues inherent in general fitness and health training. Nutritional aspects play a leading role in bodybuilders’ training programs, especially in relation to achieving a low percentage of body fat.


Powerlifters compete in competitions to see who can lift the heaviest weights in only three exercises:

  • The bench press — pushing a barbell upward while lying on a bench.

  • The deadlift — lifting a barbell from the floor.

  • The squat — squatting down, with thighs parallel to the ground with a barbell on the shoulders.

Powerlifters don’t usually cross over into Olympic lifting (weightlifting) — at least not while they compete in powerlifting. The techniques and culture are substantially different.

What weightlifting does to your body?

The benefits of lifting weights include building muscle, burning body fat, strengthening your bones and joints, reducing injury risk, and improving heart health. To lift weights safely, it's important to start slow, take rest days, and always use proper form.

The Bottomline

When you first begin training with weights it takes some time to sort out exactly what each specialized group does and whether the training is interchangeable or not. Olympic weightlifters and bodybuilders have about as much in common as ice and field hockey players, which is very little except vaguely similar tools and movements.