When it comes to weightlifting within a gym environment, most individuals share commonly held goals; those being increments in size and enhancements in strength. The reasoning of weight loss is not often provided and isn’t commonly associated with lifting weights. Research investigations are now starting to provide evidence to the contrary.
Previously, the common notion was that if you wanted to lose weight then you literally had to strap yourself to a piece of cardio equipment and stay there for hours upon end. Strength training and weight loss weren’t even mentioned in the same sentence.
Although there’s no denying the link between cardio and weight loss, research is now suggesting that there is the potential for a greater link between weightlifting and weight loss. This really does provide food for thought, (excuse the pun) and opens up a whole new aspect of effective weight loss.
So why does strength training have the ability to offer greater weight loss? Quite simply, weightlifting enhances an individual’s metabolism level, not just during the workout but post-workout also. It provides a win-win scenario in that not only are you burning fat stores, but you’re also laying down and replacing them with lean muscular mass. From an aesthetic point of view, eventually your physique over a period of time will appear toned.
So far so good? So how can you implement this change and what should your strength training regime consist of? When starting out, your program should include large muscle groups, both upper and lower body and big compound movements that involve movement through a number of joints. Exercise examples include squats and deadlifts for the lower body and bench press and lateral pulldowns for the upper body. These large movements will burn greater calories compared to smaller, isolation exercises.
The harder you work during your strength training sessions, the greater the calorific expenditure will take place. With this in mind select a weight which will challenge you and limit your repetitions. There’s absolutely no point in lifting a weight up and down 20 times with ease. Select a heavier weight whilst maintaining good form and challenge yourself.
As highlighted above, never substitute good form for additional resistance. The ultimate outcome will be injury whether tomorrow or further down the line. Lift slowly and effectively, feeling the muscle contract with each lift and always ensure you are in complete control. The longer your muscles spent under contraction, the greater the energy expenditure you will experience.
Although weightlifting offers the potential to burn greater calories don’t forget about your cardio workouts. Remember, variety is the spice of life so why not perform both. Cardio also offers many additional benefits other than weight loss alone. Although textbook practice suggests weights before cardio, everyone is unique and responds differently to exercise, so spend some time getting to know your body and what works best for you.
The purpose of this article was to introduce weightlifting to an audience that would normally only opt for cardio. Weightlifting offers many benefits and can be an enjoyable and challenging way to undertake exercise. If you are looking to loose weight as an end goal then both cardio and strength training are deserving of recognition.
Before signing off, it’s important to note that strength training places enhanced demands on your musculoskeletal system, so if you have any worries or concerns be sure to consult with your GP prior to any exercise.