Weight training is a great way to achieve strength and overall body fitness. There are two main forms of weight training, body building, and weight training for a specific sport. Body building desires to increase overall strength and muscle mass. Weight training for a specific sport involves strengthening specific muscle groups targeted for the sport. The benefits of weight training include, increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength, bone density, flexibility, tone, metabolic rate, and postural support.
Weight training can either be done at home, or at a gym. The advantage of training at home is low cost, and ease of fitting workouts into your schedule. The benefits of joining a gym include access to more equipment, and advice and encouragement from fitness trainers or other members. There are also online communities that you can join, such as CrossFit that give you some of the benefits of joining a gym, but let you workout at home.
You don't need an expensive gym set to start training. A simple bar and a few weights is all you need. Even if you don't have any weights, you can lift anything heavy, or even your own body weight with push-ups or chin-ups.
There is a lot of fancy machines and equipment out there, but most serious weight lifters generally prefer simple free weights. Sandbags, water-filled kegs, and tractor tires are examples of cheap and functional free weights. The benefits of free weights include cost, and that they don't over isolate a single muscle. The problem with over isolating a single muscle is that general to lift something real your body relies on all sorts of different muscles to stabilize and balance the weight and your body. If you train only a single muscle, then it will be strong enough to lift a really heavy weight, but the muscles around it will give out, and you risk injury. The benefits of weight machines is that they are good at targeting various muscle groups that may be difficult to target with free weights. Also weight machines can be safer, as they avoid risk of injury from dropping weights.
Some free weight lifts that can be performed with a simple bar and some weights include:
- Bench press (WP)
- Chest fly (WP)
- Bent-over row (WP) can be done 45 to 90 degree bend for various emphases.
- Upright row (WP)
- Shoulder press (WP)
- Leg press (WP)
- Knee extension (WP)
- Knee curl (WP)
- Seated calf raise (WP)
- Pulldown (WP)
- Pushdown (WP)
- Back extension (WP)