Although some of you may have chosen to undertake weight lifting to impress the opposite sex, with scientific reasoning such as ‘bigger guns’ and a ‘washboard stomach’ at the forefront of your attention, there’s simply more to weight training than increasing your muscle mass! Joking aside, weight lifting can invoke numerous positive long term effects on your overall health and well being.
Enhanced muscular mass is the obvious one and has already been mentioned above. Besides that, weight training can also bring about developments in your strength levels, metabolic rate, coordination levels and bone mineral density. And you thought it was all about the size of your guns!
These benefits can be further enhanced by the type of resistance training you choose to undertake and perform on a regular basis. The purpose of this article is to consider these reported benefits in greater detail. So let’s kick things off with one of the primary reasons for undertaking weight training; muscular mass and subsequent metabolism levels:
There’s nothing more satisfying and motivating than reaping physical benefits from undertaking weight training and it doesn’t get much better than muscular hypertrophy and development. Following a foundation period, brought about by initial training, your body develops to meet the needs of the stresses and strains you place on your musculoskeletal system during your workouts. Damage to the target muscles at a microfiber level following intense training sessions stimulates a growth response. This also has a knock on effect with metabolism, with additional muscle requiring extra energy.
On initially commencing weight lifting, you will notice during the first 6-8 weeks that your target muscles rapidly enhance in strength levels, more so than they do in actual mass. The reason for this concerns neurological developments, as your fibres become more efficient and effective and producing and transferring the relevant force. Eventually, you will begin to plateau off and further gains in strength will be harder to come by. This isn’t a problem however, as the developments you make during this period will move you towards maximal intensities and start to separate you from the crowd.
Out of the three benefits highlighted in detail so far, an enhancement in coordination levels is the one which appears least exciting. Whether it’s a key factor to your training or not, weight training will result in increments to your overall coordination levels. These effects can be further exacerbated through exercises which challenge your proprioceptive levels, such as wobble boards and exercise balls. This will also bring about developments in your ability to recruit and contract your key core muscles. Coordination can also prevent injury and enhance athletic performance levels.
There’s a lot more to weight training than initially meets the eye. If you’re able to train regularly and consistently over a period of time then all of the positive effects noted above can be realised. So whether you’re simply looking to enhance muscular mass and strength, bring about alterations to your metabolic and bone mineral density or improve coordination levels for athletic and sporting performance, you can do it all and more with weight training.