Does Lifting Heavier Weights Accelerate Fitness?
Lifting weights should be a simple exercise. You go to a place with a bunch of heavy metal and pick it up and put it down until you look totally pumped. But weightlifting like any other worthwhile strength training endeavor requires study, planning, and due care to do well and progress. Yet let us consider the question and crux of this article, does lifting heavier weights accelerate fitness?
So is more really the cure, if you’ve made the effort to get to the gym in the first place, you should be getting the most out of your strength training exercises and, at the very least, not hurting your body in the process. That said, here are some easy ways to figure out what weight level is right for you and whether increasing these weights will offer any real term benefits.
Weightlifting is also no fitness panacea or magic touch for strength and vitality. There are few things you can do at the gym that you can’t undo at the burger drive through on the way home, and no amount of dead lifts is going to prepare you for a marathon.
That said, lifting weights and strength training is fun, tones and defines the body and exercise is good. Be careful in light of what I just said not to become guilty of taking one step forward only to take take two steps backward.
Preparing to Lift Weights
Go through all of your strength training exercises in front of a mirror with your body weight only. Perform each exercise move in a slow, controlled manner, carefully watching your form.
If you can’t correctly perform the exercise without weights, then you definitely shouldn’t try to do it with weights.
Never sacrifice form for weight. You won’t get optimal results from this and will most likely create muscular imbalances across the body.
Understand what body muscles each weight lifting exercise is supposed to target, and make sure you are feeling it properly in the right places.
Gaining the Proper Equipment
Let’s start with the equipment that you will need. Lifting equipment falls into three categories, the items you’ll need, the items you’ll probably want, and the items you might eventually want.
To get started with weight lifting you will need very little, actually; you were born with most of the equipment necessary for these exercises. I’d recommend athletic shorts, a t-shirt and a pair of Converse All-Stars. Chucks are great because their flat, hard rubber sole provides a solid platform for full body lifts.
Running shoes look athletic and they look the part, but their cushy soles and high arches provide an unstable base that can slow your progression. Some people even lift in socks, but shoes are preferable as heavy weights and exposed toes are not a good match, you only have to drop a weight once and ouch.
You will probably want a water bottle, a towel, some pre-workout energy and some music to listen to. Working out requires energy, so a 5-hour-style shot or powder, along with headphones and a horrifyingly loud play list of your favorite tunes will spur you on.
Eventually as you gain more experience and progress to heavier weights you may require a lifting belt, pre and post workout supplements, gloves, chalk, a home gym, a personal trainer, testosterone shots and the list goes on.
I have very few of these things, but you should do your own research. I don’t use a lifting belt because I don’t want to mask bad form. I took Creatine Muscle Builder for a while which worked pretty well. A lot of people add Whey protein to their diet but everybody has a favorite nutritional pattern that works out for them.
Weights to Try and Their Common Injuries When Performed Incorrectly
1. Bicep Curls – Common injuries when done incorrectly: These exercises can lead to neck strain and low back pain. Be sure to keep your shoulder blades low and back. Never feel your back working, or lean too far back, or shrug your shoulders.
2. Weighted Squats – If performed incorrectly these can lead to knee and back pain. Be certain to keep your back as straight as possible. You should also be able to see your toes over your knees. Refrain from leaning forward or round your middle back area. If you can’t see your toes over your knees, then you are bending too far forward so correct this.
3. Bench Press – Frequent injuries when done incorrectly: This exercise can cause some shoulder issues. Ensure that you are lifting equally through your arms. Do not place one shoulder higher than the other, and definitely do not bounce the bar off of your chest at any time during the exercise.
These three types of weight exercise are progressive, meaning that as you train you gain strength so you can up the weight and the performance will follow but always go gradually and increase weight in measure increments. Lifting heavier weights can improve your strength and fitness.
Using a Gym for Weights
For a gym, much has been said about why chain type establishments are terrible, and it’s all true. Most such gyms won’t have even the basics: a barbell, iron plates, a squat cage and a bench. If your gym has those things, it is a generally going to be a decent gym and place to work out.
My own personal gym is just small two rooms in a garage but it has weights and racks, is near my house, and costs $35 a month. One thing to bear in mind is do not opt in to a gym that carries far more facilities than you actually need, think purpose, why are we here yes!
Gyms are a shared space, and people generally are terrible at looking out for others. You can make your gym a less terrible place by doing a few simple things: Wipe everything down and put away your weights when you’re done, and don’t hog equipment unless you’re using it or have booked personal training time.