Weightlifting is often seen as something reserved for big muscular men. If you want to be a bodybuilder or powerlifter, you need to lift heavy weights. In reality, it’s something that should be part of everyone’s fitness routine.
Whether you’re a woman, man, elderly individual – you name it, you’ll benefit from lifting weights. The prospect of picking up some dumbbells or placing a bar on your back can seem daunting and intimidating. In this post, you’ll be shown why weightlifting is beneficial, as well as some tips to help you start your lifting journey.
The Benefits Of Lifting Weights
Let’s start with the obvious question…
Why should you start lifting weights? What will you gain from this that you might not see if you don’t do it?
There are many benefits of regular weightlifting, including the following:
- Increase muscle strength
- Increase bone health
- Improve joint stability & balance
- Enhance your ability to lose body fat
- Boost your brain
Increase muscle strength
Naturally, lifting weights builds strength and size in your muscles. The more you lift, the stronger you get – which impacts every aspect of your daily life. Getting stronger is highly beneficial when you start to age. The older you get, the weaker your muscles tend to be. That’s why it’s harder to do things – like carry bags of shopping – when you age.
Regular weightlifting sessions can make your body stronger. Your muscles are capable of lifting and holding heavier loads. Suddenly, tricky tasks become a lot easier. You’re only making one trip from the car to the front door with four bags of shopping in your hands! Picking up your child and carrying them around feels much easier because you’re stronger.
Lifting weights can completely transform your physique and leave you as a much stronger version of yourself. As such, you may feel more independent and confident!
Increase bone health
A little-known fact about lifting is that it also encourages healthier and stronger bones. This is because your muscles get bigger and stronger, so the tendons apply more tension to the bones they connect to. As a result, the bones are stimulated and produce more bone tissue.
This leaves you with harder, denser bones that are a lot more robust. It can dramatically reduce your chances of fracturing or damaging bones – which is a big problem when you enter the later years of your life.
Lifting weights while you’re in the prime of your life will improve bone density and set you up for a healthier future with fewer problems.
Improve joint stability & balance
Likewise, improving your muscle density will have a positive impact on your joints. You have more muscular tissue surrounding the joints, which protects them. A lot of people can suffer from knee or hip joint issues throughout their lives. Especially if you spend a lot of time sitting down at a desk or driving all day.
Weightlifting can help you target the muscles around these joints, making them much stronger and harder. Therefore, the joints are way more stable. There’s less chance of you experiencing joint pain or dealing with problems here.
Moreover, stable joints give you more balance. You’re less likely to fall over, which is also a problem that’s highly common when you grow older. Plus, lifting weights forces you to have good balance as you need to stop yourself from falling over or tipping backward. This translates to your regular life by making you feel more in control of your body and decreasing the risk of falls.
Enhance your ability to lose body fat
Fat loss is a key goal for most people during their journey through life. We want to have a healthy body composition, meaning there isn’t too much body fat on us. Of course, our bodies need fat to keep us warm and provide a source of energy. But, too much fatty tissue will lead to a host of dreadful health problems.
Most people will turn to cardio exercises to lose weight, thinking that lifting weights won’t help in the slightest. Funnily enough, it helps a ton. Lifting weights builds muscle and muscle encourages your body to burn more calories because it’s much denser and more metabolically active than fat.
This means that when you do your cardio exercises or try to lose weight, your body will naturally burn more calories than it did before. If you took two people of the same weight, but one had more muscle mass than the other, the musclier individual would burn more calories doing the exact same activities as the other person.
Boost your brain
Lastly, weightlifting has the amazing capacity to boost your brain. For starters, lifting weights makes you feel better about yourself and your confidence grows. You like the way you look as everything feels tighter and is more toned. You also enjoy the feeling of being strong and being able to do more things without pain or discomfort.
This is all amazing for your mental health – but the brain benefits don’t stop there.
Research shows that lifting can improve cognitive function. Experts suggest this is because your brain works hard when you work out. Think about simple compound movements like a squat. You have to do multiple things at once – bend at the knees, sit back, keep your back straight, lower the weight down, contract your core, and so on. It takes a lot of brain power and you’re effectively teaching yourself to do multiple things at once.
Tips To Start Your Weightlifting Journey
The benefits of weightlifting are clear for all to see. They should convince you that this is worth doing, but how do you start incorporating weights into your fitness routine?
If you’re a complete beginner, we’ll go through a few things that’ll help you get started:
- Learn proper form – Form is everything when lifting weights. It refers to the correct and safe way of doing things. You should always learn proper form before you attempt any exercise with weights added. There are loads of YouTube videos out there showing you how to do every exercise under the sun. It’s worth watching them before you go to the gym or work out at home. Alternatively, think about hiring a personal trainer to walk you through the basics of some common lifts.
- Start light and work your way up – Once you’ve got the form nailed down, gradually start adding weight. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 8-12 reps before you reach failure and struggle to lift anymore. Do three sets of this and make a note of how hard it was and the weights used. If you’re able to easily get 8-12 reps on each set without fail, increase the weight a tiny bit next time, or do another set. This is called progressive overload and it helps you get stronger and lift heavier weights to see more benefits. It’s worth noting that you might not increase the weights every week. It’s okay to keep using the same weight if you’re struggling to get within 8-12 reps on your final set. Just stick with it until it’s too easy and you need to up the weight to progress.
- Aim for three lifting sessions a week – Three sessions a week is a good way to get started. Have one day where you do upper body push movements, another where you do upper body pull movements and a third where you do lower body movements. This ensures you train your whole body and have more than enough days in the week to rest and recover.
- Consider using lifting aids – Lifting aids come in many forms and they’re there to help you feel more comfortable. It’s a good idea to get some lifting gloves to save your hands from a lot of soreness, or some lifting straps so your forearms don’t fatigue when holding heavy weights. Other ideas include a barbell pad or knee sleeves. These aids won’t necessarily make you stronger, but they do make you feel more comfortable, which is the key to staying consistent. You’re unlikely to keep doing something if it makes you feel uncomfortable!
- Think about supplements – Supplements are excellent for beginners as they help you gain more muscle and reduce some of the initial soreness. In the lifting world, you have loads of supplements to choose from. Some are more advanced and targeted at people who really want to gain muscle, like MK-677 and other SARMS. Others are a lot less advanced and aimed at beginners or casual lifters.
As a beginner, the main supplement to focus on is protein powder. Protein helps to build your muscles and reduces recovery time and soreness. If you don’t eat enough protein throughout the day, a supplement gives you the extra boost you need.
To wrap everything up, weightlifting is extremely beneficial and can improve all facets of your life. If you don’t already lift weights, start incorporating it into your regular schedule. Follow the tips above to ease yourself into a good routine.