Cardio is great, but weight training is the best way to get in shape. There are always fitness pros or athletes telling you to lift weights and heavier ones. Experts agree that weight training offers many incredible benefits.
What are the true benefits of weight training? What if your current routine is working well? These are just a few of the many reasons you should pick up heavy dumbbells.
Weight Training: The Benefits
Do you want defined, lean muscles? Jason Karp Ph.D., M.B.A is a USA Track and Field-certified running coach and exercise physiologist. Lifting heavier can help women become more defined.
Although strength training is often referred to as “bulking up,” it is not true. Your weight will be more muscle-based than fat, so you’ll get leaner. It’s also difficult for women to become bodybuilders muscular. Jen Sinkler is an Olympic lifting coach, RKC-2 certified kettlebell instructor, and author of Weights Faster. You would need to be able to lift a serious weight if you live in the weight room. (Related to The Beginner’s Guide to Lifting Heavyweights
Strengthens the Bones
Your bones are strengthened by weight lifting. For example, when you curl your arms, your muscles pull on the bones of your arms. Holly Perkins C.S.C.S. is the founder of Women’s Strength Nation. She says that bone cells in those bones create new bone cells. Your bones will become stronger and denser over time.
This is where consistency is key. Research has shown that lifting weights over time can not only preserve bone mass but also build new bone, particularly in high-risk postmenopausal women.
The goal is to reduce body fat, not lean muscle mass
You’ll burn more calories if you build more muscle. This is why weight training targets more body fat than other fitness methods. Lifting weights can improve your lean body mass, which will increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day,” states Jacque Crockford C.S.C.S, spokesperson for American Council on Exercise.
Extra calories after a workout and building muscles? Although it may sound unbelievable, research has supported this claim. A 2017 study showed that a combination low-calorie diet with weight training led to greater fat loss in overweight adults aged 60 and older. However, a substantial portion of weight loss was due to lean body mass. Adults who exercised weight loss while maintaining muscle mass were also able to do so. This indicates that weight lifting is almost entirely fat-burning, while aerobic exercise can burn fat and muscle.
…and Targets Visceral Abdominal Fat
ICYDK means that there is more than one type of body fat. According to an article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, subcutaneous fat can be found under the skin. It’s the fat you can feel and see. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is deep within the body and lines vital organs. Both types of fat are essential parts of the body’s structure. However, they are distributed differently depending on many factors.
According to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study, excess visceral fat can increase your risk of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Weight training is a good option. The UAB study showed that women who exercised regularly lost more visceral abdomen fat than those who did not. It was also found that women who continued weight training for at least one year saw their visceral abdominal fat drop, even though they gained weight.
Burns More Calories Than Cardio
This is how you burn calories if you sit on your stomach and read it. (See The Science Behind Afterburn Effect).
It is possible to burn more calories while you are taking a one-hour cardio class. However, a study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that women who lift weights burned on average 100 more total calories in the 24 hours following their session. A second study found that young women who had completed a 100-minute weight training session saw their basal metabolic rate rise by 4.2 percent over 16 hours. This means they burned approximately 60 calories more.
According to, weight training has a greater effect on your body if you increase your load. This is according to a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Women who lifted less weight (85% of their maximum load for 8 reps) ate nearly twice as many calories in the two hours following their workouts than those who did more reps at a lighter weight (45% of their max for 15 reps).
Why? How many calories you burn just by living and breathing determines how your resting metabolism rate. Your body will burn more energy if you have more muscle. Perkins says that everything you do, including brushing your teeth, sleeping, and checking Instagram, will help you burn more calories. This could be particularly beneficial, depending on your goals.
All around Strengthening
For muscle endurance, lifting lighter weights for more reps can be great. However, if you want to build strength, it is important to increase your weight load. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can build strength by adding compound exercises like squats and deadlifts to your weight training program. (Here’s What counts as heavy lifting and how often it should be done.
This is a huge benefit of weight training. You’ll find it easier to do everyday tasks like lifting a child, pushing open heavy doors, and carrying groceries.
Prevention of injury
Sore hips and sore knees do not have to be part of your morning routine. By strengthening the muscles around and supporting your joints, you can prevent injuries and help maintain good form.
So go ahead, squat low. You’ll be a blessing to your knees. Perkins says that proper strength training is the best way to solve joint problems. Stronger muscles will hold your joints in place better, so you won’t have to worry about your knee slipping during your next run. (Related to Do You Need to Do Cardio or Weights?
For some, this might seem like a surprising benefit to weight training. But it is something that should not be overlooked. Stronger muscles mean better performance, period. Your core will be able to support your body’s weight better and keep you in good form when doing other exercises, such as running. Running will improve your strength and endurance, as well as your arms-and legs’ power.
Perkins says that weight training can help you burn more calories in your cardio workouts because it increases the size and number of muscle fibers.
University of North Dakota researchers compared static stretching to weight training and discovered that full-range resistance training can increase flexibility as well as static stretching.
Sinkler notes that the keyword here is “full range.” Sinkler notes that if you are unable to complete the full motion with a given weight (i.e. going all the way up or all the way down), you might need to use a lighter dumbbell to get there.
Increases heart health
Cardiovascular exercise isn’t the only cardiovascular exercise. Weight training can also improve your heart health. One Appalachian State University study found that people who did 45 minutes of moderate-intensity resistance exercise had a 20 percent drop in blood pressure. This is comparable to, if not greater than, the benefits of most blood pressure pills. (Related to How to Use the Heart Rate Zones for Maximum Exercise Benefits
Makes You Feel Empowered
Not only does it empower those in the movies, but also makes you look good. Weight training can help you build self-esteem and lift heavier weights. Strength will show not only in your body but also in how you feel.
Sinkler says that strength can have a funny way to seep into every area of your life, from the gym to the outside. Your confidence will grow by challenging yourself to do things that you never imagined possible.