Weight training, as the name suggests, is a type of strength training that primarily focuses on developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. Also known as resistance training, it involves the use of force of gravity in the form of weights such as dumbbells and barbells against the force generated by the muscles through contraction. It places stress on the muscles, causing them to become stronger. In the course of training, muscle fibers are broken down which get repaired in the days to follow and thus, become stronger. Weight training is generally done with help of dumbbells, barbells, weight stacks and even weight machines.
Benefits of Weight Training:
Weight training is one of the most common types of strength training that is meant to provide you toned muscles and a great physique. Moreover, it offers a range of other benefits, some of which are given below.
a. Overall Well Being:
Weight training contributes towards overall well-being by increasing your physical work capacity. As you start ageing, you tend to lose lean muscle mass. Weight training is an effective way to compensate for this loss. These workouts improve your ability to perform your daily activities. Consequently you end up working harder and longer.
b. Improved Bone Density:
Weight training is one of the best ways to prevent bone loss and maintain peak bone mass. Thus, incorporating strength training in your workout regime will improve your bone density and reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis and fractures in future.
c. Better Body Shape:
Getting a toned and sculpted body is everyone’s dream. Toned muscles are not only a sign of health and fitness but they also make a person more attractive. No one can stop admiring a person having a perfect well-toned body. A well-shaped body can be yours if you incorporate a combination of resistance and aerobic workouts in your regime.
d. Increased Metabolic Rate:
Weight loss and maintenance of healthy weight become much easier with strength training. While doing workouts, your muscle tissue is metabolically active causing you to burn more calories.
e. Increased Muscle Strength and Power:
Weight training goes a long way in increasing the strength of your muscles for performing daily activities. Advanced level of training incorporating performing exercises with high momentum helps in improving muscle power.
f. Lesser Injuries:
Apart from strengthening your muscles, weight training makes your ligaments and tendons strong which connect your bones, muscles and tissues. By directly working on the tendons and ligaments, it reduces the incidence of injuries.
g. Reduction of Other Health Risks:
Regular weight training is beneficial for overall health as it reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, high insulin levels, heart disease and even cancer.
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Weight Training Exercises For Women:
Weight training exercises constitute an important part of a fitness program. As pointed out earlier, weight training if done properly, can be beneficial in a number of ways. The exercises given below are some of the most sought out work outs in a weight training program.
1. Chest Press:
This exercise can be done with dumbbells and aims at strengthening the pectoral muscles in the front of your chest. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie on your back with your knees bent. Hold your upper arms such that they are perpendicular to your body and your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor. Now slowly press the weights upwards, almost straightening your elbows. Ensure that your elbows are not locked into a straight position. This way, you will feel the tension across your upper chest. Return to the starting position but do not drop your elbows below the surface of the bench. Repeat this process. Chest press can be done lying on a weight bench or on the floor.
2. Alternating Shoulder Presses:
This workout can be done either in a seated or standing position. Start off by holding a weight in each hand at shoulder levels and palms facing outwards. Your abs and core should be kept tight. Straightening your arms, press the weight upwards. While doing so, your elbow should be bent slightly at the top of the motion. Repeat the procedure with the other arm. You can also try pressing both the arms at the same time instead of alternating. At least 10 to 15 repetitions per arm are recommended.
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3. Biceps Curls:
The bicep curl is an exercise which if done with dumbbells aims at strengthening your bicep muscles in the front of your upper arm. Start off by standing straight with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell with your palm facing upward. Now slowly curl up the weight by bending your elbows and keeping them tight into your body. Then lower the weight slowly to the starting position. While doing so you can feel the tension in the front of your upper arm. Isolate your bicep muscle completely by twisting your wrist outwards at the top of the curling motion. Avoid swinging your arms and elbows and try working both biceps at the same time by alternating arms during the exercise.
4. Hamstring Curl:
This exercise strengthens the hamstring muscles at the back of your thighs. The lying hamstring curl can be done with the help of a weight machine. Lie with your face down on the bench, positioning the pad just above your ankles. Now pulling your feet towards your buttocks, bend your knees slowly. Try going as far as far as you can without feeling your spine or pelvis move. Now slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the process. Ensure that your leg muscles do most of the work while doing hamstring curls and avoid pulling your arms or arching your neck or lowering your back. The handgrip should only be used for support.
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5. Bent-over Row:
The bent-over row exercise can be done with a dumbbell for strengthening the muscles at the back of your shoulders. Rest your one knee on a weight bench and lean forward supporting yourself with your hand. Hold a dumbbell with your other hand such that your arm is hanging straight below your shoulder. Now raise the weight slowly, making your elbow line up just below your shoulder. You can feel the tension at the back of your shoulders. Now lower the weight to the starting position. Repeat the procedure. Alternatively this workout can be done without a weight bench by simply standing with your feet apart, bending your knees and leaning forward at the hips.
This is a body resistance exercise that aims at strengthening the quadriceps muscles in the front of your thighs and hamstring muscles at the back of your thighs. Holding a weight in each hand, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, your core tight and your knees slightly bent. Now slowly descend, bending through the hips, knees and ankles. Your back should be kept in a neutral position and your knees should not roll inward or outward. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold the beat and exhale while returning to the starting position. Try doing 10 to 15 repetitions.
7. Triceps Extension:
Triceps extension can be done with dumbbells to strengthen your triceps muscles. Holding a dumbbell in your hand, lie on your back and point your upper arm towards the ceiling with your elbow bent to 90 degrees. Now move the weight upwards, straightening your elbow slowly. You can feel the tension in the back muscles of your upper arm. Now lower the weight slowly to the starting position. Repeat the procedure. You can use your opposite hand to keep your arm at an angle of 90 degrees during the workout.
8. Knee Extension:
This exercise can be done with ankle weight and it aims at working on your quadriceps muscle in the front side of your thigh. Tie an ankle weight to your ankle and sit on a chair or a weight bench, dangling your feet in relaxed position. Now straighten your knee slowly, pause and return to the starting position. Repeat the movement. Take care not to lap or lock your knee into extension. This exercise can also be done with a knee extension machine.
9. Overhead Triceps Extension:
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and core tight. With your elbows near your ears, hold a weight with both your hands directly above your head. Now slowly lower the weight behind your head. Your elbows should be kept in the same position throughout the entire motion. Keep your abs tight and exhale while pressing the weight upward upon exertion. Do at least 10 to 15 repetitions.
10. Calf Raise:
This body resistance exercise works on strengthening the calf muscles at the back of your legs. Stand with your feet slightly spread apart. While doing this, your abdominal muscles should be kept tight and your back should be straight. Rise up onto your toes, pause and return to the starting position. Repeat the movement. You can do this exercise by holding dumbbells at your sides, with your palms facing your body while you rise up onto your toes.
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