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There are many benefits of weightlifting and these are not just limited to building muscle. Other benefits of weightlifting include burning body fat, reducing your risk of injury, strengthening your bones and joints, and improving your overall heart health. When starting out lifting weights it important to start slow, take rest days, and always use proper from by following a strict plan such as The Muscle Experiment.
In this article I dig deep into some crucial benefits to lifting weights and how to safely incorporate weightlifting to your exercise routine even if you are not particularly interested in looking like Schwarzenegger.
During weightlifting your body releases testosterone and growth hormone, which promotes tissue growth and allows you and your muscles to get bigger and stronger. This muscle growth process is known as hypertrophy. You need muscle strength for general everyday activities like carrying groceries up some stairs. You can measures muscle strength in two ways:
As you get stronger you will notice that not only can you lift heavier weights more easily but you can also lift them for longer. You should increase the amount lifting gradually to gain more strength.
Building stronger muscles by weightlifting means that you are making your body more effective at burning fat, especially considering that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does. A study from 2017 of older people found that a low-calorie diet combined with weight training resulted in greater fat loss than a low-calorie diet paired with walking. Importantly for people interested in benefits of lifting weights, those that did strength training maintained muscle mass while losing fat, source.
Weightlifting strengthens muscles and helps improve bone and joint health, which is important for people both young and old, though the effects may be more noticeable in older people as strong bones and joints help fight the gradual weakening of bones that happens as we age. Weightlifting can help with this as it affects the joints most prone to the effects of ageing: the hips, spine, and wrists. Indeed, a study concluded that resistance training, that includes weightlifting, "may be the most optimal strategy to improve the muscle and bone mass in postmenopausal women, middle-aged men, or even the older population", source.
Muscles are the foundation for movement, balance, and coordination therefore a stronger body strengthened through lifting weights is less likely to undergo injury. In addition, strengthening muscles and tendons around knee or elbow joints can increase stability, flexibility, and reduce pain, potentially helping with joint conditions like arthritis, source. This depends on form and how well you follow a detailed weight lifting plan such as The Muscle Experiment; if lifting weights is done incorrectly this can increase your risk of injury. Incorrect form can put additional stress on your muscles and joints, which can lead to tears or strains.
Weightlifting has a long-term benefit for heart health; a really good workout like that as part of The Muscle Experiment has significant cardiovascular benefits. This benefit has been found in studies the comprise both men and women. A study that included just women found that compared to women that did not lift weights women who did had a 17% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, source. A study that included over 12,500 men and women (79% were men) found that lifting weights for as little as less than an hour a week helped reduce the risk cardiovascular disease to 70%, source.
There are many benefits to weightlifting and you and your body will benefit from incorporating two or three 20- to 30-minute weightlifting sessions into your weekly exercise routine. You will feel fitter, you will look leaner, your body will be more able to prevent injury and fight against cardiovascular diseases. These benefits all depend on following the correct instruction to ensure that you lift weights safely. To do this I highly recommend The Muscle Experiment.