If you are looking to tone your body and build muscle mass, there is no better method than weight training. The American Heritage Dictionary defines weight training as weightlifting done as a training program for improving or maintaining overall fitness, strength or endurance. This is indeed a very accurate, albeit simple, description of the act of weight training.
In fact, weight training is the single most effective physical activity for individuals that want to create a toned and well sculpted physique by increasing their lean muscle tissue and density. This being said, weight training is not just for body builders - instead, weight training is an important component of any complete and comprehensive fitness routine.
This section of our website is designed to go beyond this simple definition and provide a comprehensive guide that discusses and reviews all facets associated with the act of weight training. This includes a variety of topics that the novice weight trainer may not automatically associate with weight training, including topics such as proper diet and mental preparation.
The weight training information provided in this section of our website is a collection of general information, approaches and methods, training routines and dietary requirements that have been tested throughout time. It is designed to provide helpful guidance to both the novice and experienced weight lifter.
History of Weight Training
The history of weight training dates all the way back to ancient Greece when Olympic athletes would train to improve their physical strength and endurance. This form of weight training utilized elements from nature to improve natural strength. The birth of weight equipment as we currently know it occurred sometime in the 2nd century with the invention of the dumbbell.
After the advent of the dumbbell, little progress was made in the development of more sophisticated weight training equipment until the 1960s. It was at this time that the various exercise machines that we are familiar with today become more popular.
However, gyms were still rare at this point, and it was not until the 1980 movie Pumping Iron that weight training really took off in America.
Today, there are just under 18,000 gyms and health centers across the United States. People of all ages are now looking to weight training as a way to improve their physical appearance and fitness level. Weight training has also increased in prominence in regards to sports training. In the past, only professional athletes would train with weights. Today, athletes as young as those in middle school are commonly found weight training.
Common Weight Training Terminology
Before you begin using this section of our website, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the common terms associated with weight training. Each exercise will commonly be marked by a certain number of sets with a certain number of repetitions (reps) within each set.
A rep is the number of times you actually perform the weight training exercise before setting the weight down. A set is the number of times you repeat the number of reps you’ve decided to do. For example, if you were to do five sets of ten repetitions, you would complete ten repetitions (actual weight training movements); rest briefly; and then repeat these ten repetitions four more times. Note that you would take a brief rest between each set.
There are also distinctions between free weight training and machine weight training that need to be understood. Free weight training commonly refers to the use of dumbbells and barbells.
Machine weight training is used to denote any exercise in which the weight is controlled by various pulleys and/or levers. Both of these weight training techniques have different advantages and disadvantages and will be discussed in detail throughout the weight training section of our website.
Weight Training Safety
Weight training can be dangerous at times, and you should make every effort to be as safe as possible. Before you begin any weight training regimen, it is strongly advised to consult your family physician. This is especially important if you are over the age of 35, or if you have been physically inactive for an extended period of time.
Your medical physician will be able to adequately assess your current level of physical fitness and inform you of any limitations and risks you should be aware of. It is also important to always workout, especially if lifting free weight, with a partner, as they will be able to assist you if you run into any kind of trouble.
Many free weight exercises, for example, require the assistance of a spotter who will help prevent an injury should you lose control of the weight.
It's also important to always weight train within your physical limitations, as overexerting yourself is one of the most common causes of injury in the weight room.
The Weight Training section of our website should be able to answer virtually all questions you may have in regards to weight training. The more knowledge that you acquire about weight training, the more likely you are to be successful in meeting your weight training goals.
Once you become more advanced in your weight training efforts, it's likely that it will become a core aspect of your lifestyle rather than simply a source of physical activity.
If you plan to invest a good deal of time in the weight room, then you should look to maximize these efforts by learning as much as possible.
The tips and methods included within the weight training section of our website are a representation of the general consensus that has been developed throughout the history of weight training. We hope that you find the information useful, and that it assists you in achieving all of your fitness goals.