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"Strength Is More Than Just Muscle"

Online PT, Training Videos/Articles, Oldtime Strongman

Weight Training Pro's, Con's, and Tips

What is weight training? Weight training is perhaps the biggest industry when it comes down to fitness and exercise. There are various programs that allot their profits through designing a new and improved method that has its foundation in weight training. Often times those programs are not completely honest in terms of their true effectiveness, but let me establish this fact first.

Weight training is one of the best and worst forms of training for your muscular system. That you can perform. At times it is overrated, and at other times it is over-criticized, but this style of training truly depends on the user. The father of bodybuilding himself, Eugene Sandow, was an avid weightlifter. Even Alexander Zass, hailed in the physical culture world as the father of isometrics, began his strength training journey using weight training. 

The Father of Bodybuilding - Eugene Sandow

Weight training involves exercising your body using any external weight apparatus. That includes barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, stones, tires, and a slew of other items. The list ends at your imagination. As one would imagine, there are almost as many different training methods as there are weights to train with. That includes sports, strongman competitions, powerlifting, martial arts (Bruce Lee was a big proprietor of using weights to benefit martial arts training), bodybuilding, general fitness, etc.  So how does weight lifting truly benefit such a wide array of specific goals, and what are the disadvantages? 

Pros:

  • Weight lifting is one of the most common indicators of strength.  Many strongmen had a great level of strength in different areas, and often had rather imposing physiques, but their true mettle was proved in weight lifting competitions.
  • It is a very versatile style of exercise. Weight lifting can be translated to numerous uses whether practical lifting in life, like a heavy TV or dresser, or training for sports.
  • Weight training, when conducted properly, helps the user to understand fully how to contract and isolate different muscles.
  • Using short range, low rep and heavy partials is one of the most powerful methods to reach an incredible level of strength in a short time, and of boosting strength in full range lifts. If you're a powerlifter and you haven't tried partial lifts, you're robbing yourself of a complete powerlifter physique and a potential boost over competition.
  • Weight training is great for the hypertrophy needed in bodybuilders. Combining diet with high rep, low to mid range weight training is prime for bodybuilding, among other things.
  • Weight training is great for your health. It's especially great for weight loss, because it can prevent a loss of bone density after dieting for weight loss.

Cons:

  • Weight training is one of the most physically harmful forms of training if done incorrectly. Improper lifting could cause injury to tendons, muscles, and sometimes bones.
  • The focus of the workout is often detracted from the body. This means that often times, moving the actual weight becomes less of a focus than contracting the muscle properly for that movement.
  • Buying actual weights or a gym membership can become expensive.
  • Training for hypertrophy through weight training can damage tendons. Have bulky muscles without training the tendons to handle them makes the tendons strain themselves, often resulting in tears.

Do it well and do it correctly, and weight training will be a great tool on your fitness journey. 

Weight Training Tips

Weight training tips are important to have, because it's very easy to have a crappy time lifting weights if you don't know what to do. Weight training for beginners is a different ballgame than weight training for experts, because the goals change. So naturally, the first tip is...

Know what your goals are. Are you weight training for weight loss? For cardiovascular endurance? For general strength and fitness? To build muscle? It's important to know your goals, because different methods of weight training give different results. What can help with this is if you...

Hire a personal trainer. Even if it's an online personal trainer, if you're weight training, it pays big dividends to have someone walk you through the exercises to maximize your results. You can read about plenty of weight training exercises and programs, but sometimes it really does help to have someone there to say, "Get your shoulders out of your ears!" on a deadlift set, for example. Things like this can really help your progress along, and progress is important. What's also important is...

Don't give up. Weight training is not for the faint of heart. Sloppy trainers might get injured, personal trainers might give faulty advice, or, much more commonly, you might simply feel like you're not improving at all. For that, I have simple advice. If you put in the necessary intensity each time, if you always give it your 100%, trust the method. You've done your reading, you've had your training, now trust the method. You might not be making progress as fast at you want it (especially if you see other people making gains at a faster rate.) Feel free to ask others about their own methods, but invest your energy in yourself. You will make progress in weight training at your own rate, and you're speed may increase as you gain more experience with the art of weight training. But above all, do not. give. up.

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