What is weight training?

People can use weight training for many outcomes but we will focus on some of the most common; to gain strength and increase muscle mass.

Strength or resistance training is a physical activity designed to improve muscular strength and fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, which could be using your own body weight, bags of sand, kettlebells, barbells, free weights or weight machines. The basic principle is to apply a load and overload the muscle so it needs to adapt and get stronger.

Why should I do weight training?

The benefits of weight training to general health, injury prevention and recovery are massive.  Regular strength or resistance training is good for everyone of all ages and fitness levels for the following reasons:

  • Increase your strength. It is the best way to increase your strength. Being stronger makes day-to-day tasks easier and reduces your likelihood of injury or falling. Being stronger will make you better at any sporting activity or able to be active for longer durations.
  • It will increase your muscle mass. We naturally lose muscle mass as we age which can start around the age of 30. Losing muscle mass will make you weaker, reduce your stamina and interfere with physical activity.  A lot of people become fearful of building muscle mass as they do not want to be big and bulky. However, to achieve this bulky appearance it takes years of weight training and overload along with diet adaptations and dedication. Regular weight training to increase muscle mass will just leave you toned and feeling good about yourself.
  • Increases bone density: Like muscle mass, we also lose a percentage of bone density each year as we age. Resistance training creates a force on the bone and helps it stay strong, leaving you less likely to break a bone if you have an accident.
  • Improves your balance. Having stronger muscles and a better ability to use these muscles will improve your balance. Therefore you are less likely to fall in the first place.
  • It boosts metabolism and fat loss.  Your body demands a lot of energy usage when you are weight training therefore you burn more calories. Also,  when you have more muscle you burn more calories even at rest!
  • It can help with chronic disease management.  Strength training can also help ease symptoms in people with many chronic conditions, including neuromuscular disorders and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, this may be as it helps fight off inflammation. It can also help improve glucose control in those with type 2 diabetes.
  • It can boost energy levels and improve your mood. All exercise boosts mood because it increases endorphins. There is also evidence that strength training can help you sleep better, and we all know a better night’s sleep can go a long way in keeping our mood up.

The great news is, that even if you are in your 90s+ you can still gain muscle and strength. Furthermore, strength training increases bone density reducing the risk of fractures, if you were to fall, in addition, it also improves your balance so you are less likely to fall in the first place. After all, prevention is better than cure.

How much should I do?

Just 30 minutes 2-3 times a week of high-intensity resistance training can improve functional performance and help with the benefits listed above.

To gain muscle and strength changes, you should try to use a load ( weight) that challenges you between 6 repetitions and 12 repetitions. You should be able to work between those ranges finding the exercises difficult and challenging but still able to maintain proper form and technique.

How can I get started with weight training?

  • Weight training is a brilliant form of exercise for you and your body. However, if it is done incorrectly you can easily injure yourself or create bad habits and movement patterns. It is harder to overcome bad/poor movement patterns than to take the time to learn them correctly, in the first place. So, finding yourself a good coach to teach you how to train and lift correctly is very important.
  • Start with bodyweight exercises, so you get used to the right movement patterns before you start using heavier weights. You can start these at home also so there is no need for all the gym equipment.
  • Slowly and gradually increase the load (weight) on your body so you give your muscles time to adapt and strengthen without too much overload.
  •  If you feel any  aches or pains that are different to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) please seek the advice of a physiotherapist

Here at Physiofit, a number of our physiotherapists are trained in strength and conditioning, therefore they will be able to give you guided advice and teach you the proper techniques in weight training. We have a fully equipt weights gym also so you will have all the equipment needed to start and develop your weight training.

If you want more information on strengthening and conditioning and how to implement it into your life, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Book online or call us on 01223 914140

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