- The benefits of weight lifting include building muscle, burning body fat, strengthening your bones and joints, reducing the risk of injury and improving heart health.
- To lift the weight safely, it is important to start slow, take rest days and always use the proper form.
- This article was reviewed by Joey Thurman, CSCS, CPT, FNS, Chicago-based fitness expert and MYR fitness coach.
- For more advice visit Insider’s Health Reference Library.
Weight lifting provides more benefits than just strong muscles and toned bodies. Adding strength training to your workouts is a great way to improve your overall fitness, burn body fat and strengthen bones, prevent injury and make your heart healthier.
Here you need to know about the health benefits of weight lifting and how to safely add it to your workout routine.
Lifting weights is the best way to build muscle
Weightlifting increases hypertrophy, or the development of muscle cells, says Jonathan Mike, a strength and conditioning coach and professor of exercise science and sports performance at Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
It works because weightlifting increases the body’s production of testosterone and growth hormone. When you lift weights, your body releases these hormones, which promotes tissue growth and allows your muscles to get bigger and stronger.
Building muscle is important even if you are not interested in looking ripped. Weight lifting helps the body build and maintain muscle through late life, says Michelle Gray, director of the Center for Exercise Science Research at Arkellas University.
Gray says, “This muscle mass is important in helping daily adults to do activities of daily living and helping older adults to remain independent for longer periods of time, possibly pushing back the times when they need more direct care , “Says Gray.
Lifting weight effectively burns body fat
By building strong muscles through weight lifting, you are making your body more effective at burning fat. The reason is simple: muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. So in addition to burning more calories while resting, you will naturally boost your metabolism as you add lean body through weight lifting.
For example, a 2017 study in the journal Obesity of overweight or obese adults age 60 and older found that a combination of low-calorie diet and weight training compared to a low-calorie diet and walking More fat loss occurred. As an added bonus, adults who did strength training maintained muscle while losing fat.
“Reduced body fat reduces the overall risk of heart diseases, cancer, health risks related to obesity, and much more,” Mike says. “The higher the ratio of lean body mass vs. body fat, the person will always serve for more positive health changes each time.”
Lifting weights makes your bones and joints strong
Lifting weights does not make your muscles strong. It also helps to improve your bone and joint health. It is important to strengthen bones and joints so that we can fight against the natural weakening of bones according to age.
If the bones become very weak, osteoporosis can occur, a condition where the bones are so fragile that even minor stressors can lead to broken bones or fractures. In particular, strength training targets bones in the hips, spine, and wrists, which are sites prone to fracture.
For example, a 2013 study in the Journal of Sports Science and Physical Fitness found that pre-body strength training was an effective way for premenopausal women to maintain bone mineral density, or bone strength.
In addition, a 2018 study published in Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded that resistance exercises, including weight-lifting steps, “improve muscle and bone mass in postmenopausal women, middle-aged men, or even older populations” Might be the most optimal strategy for. “
Lifting weights may reduce the risk of injury
Muscles form the basis for all movement, balance and coordination of your body. So, strong body injury may be less likely to occur through lifting weights.
“Resistance training is beneficial for both injury prevention and rehabilitation,” Gray says. In particular, strengthening the muscles around a joint – such as the knee or elbow – can increase its stability and reduce pain, even helping to relieve chronic conditions such as arthritis. Huh.
According to a 2015 review in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, strength training increases the number and diameter of collagen fibrils in your tendons. Strong tendons are beneficial to prevent injury as they connect your muscles to your bones, providing support and flexibility.
However, it is important to maintain proper form when you lift weights, otherwise you may increase your risk of injury. If your form is incorrect, you can put additional strain on your muscles and joints, causing a tear or a stretch.
Lifting weight can improve heart health
Although you cannot associate weight lifting with your heart, weight training has significant cardiovascular benefits that can improve your long-term health.
For example, a 2017 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that women who were engaged in weight lifting had a 17% lower risk of developing heart disease than those who did not do weight lifting.
And the results are not limited to women. A 2018 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that lifting weights for less than an hour a week can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by 40% to 70%.
How to lift weight safely
You do not need to spend hours in the gym to see the benefits of weight lifting. In fact, you can get many prizes with just two or three 20 to 30 minute weight lifting sessions a week.
Gray suggests the following guidelines:
- Start slow with a light weight that can be lifted easily many times without breaking.
- Do three sets at that weight for 12 iterations, resting between sets for at least 60 seconds.
When it comes to incorporating weight lifting with a cardio routine, how you decide it is entirely based on preference, says Mike. Some people do this before cardio, after, or even on a different training day. It all depends on your goals.
You can also do various types of weight lifting that focus on different parts of your body. For example, you can be useful to train your upper body one day and lower body another. Or you can be more targeted and work your back and bicep muscles one day, and your chest and shoulders the other.
Regardless of how you combine weight lifting, if you are new to it, it is important to stay safe. Here are some tips that you can start by keeping in mind:
- Use the appropriate technique. Having a good form will help you avoid injury and set a solid foundation for lifting weights.
- Start light, and add weight as you get stronger. You can also decide to use resistance bands or bodyweight exercises to get used to the first movements and workout.
- Include rest days in between your weight lifting session. Taking one or two days will cure your body time. You can alternate between upper and lower body lifting days to allow more time for your muscles to relax.
If you have a chronic condition such as heart disease or diabetes, or are over 40 years old and have not been active recently, be sure to check with your doctor before starting a weight lifting routine.
There are many benefits to including weight loss in your workout routine, from looking more lean to cellular level. And if you are new to lifting, by the time you start slowly and listen to your body, you will begin to withdraw the prize with your first session.