Weight training doesn't just make your muscles stronger; it also works on
your tendons, ligaments, and bones. It has a variety of benefits, including:
- Making your joints stronger — allowing the joints to withstand more weight
or stress when, for example, you exercise more vigorously
- Helping prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone mass
- Promoting weight loss by adding muscle mass and losing fat
Weight training makes your muscles stronger through a series of breakdown
and rebuilding. When you force your muscles to lift more weight than usual,
your muscle fibers literally tear. During the 1 - 3 days afterwards, your body
repairs these microscopic tears, in part by adding more muscle tissue to the
fibers. This process increases muscle mass and strength; it also strengthens
tendons, ligaments, and bone.
Many people (especially women) fear that lifting weights will make them "bulky" or
look like a body-builder. In general, using lighter weights and doing more
repetitions ensures strength and toning without building bulk.
Because it takes a few days for your muscles to "recover" from weight training,
wait at least 2 days before you attempt to use weights to train the same muscles.
Fitness professionals often recommend training the upper body (arms, shoulders,
and chest) and lower body (back, legs, abdomen) on alternate days.
Exercise both your upper and lower body with weights to get the
Who should lift weights?
Just about everyone can benefit from moderate weight training, especially
people who are at risk for osteoporosis. Women who do not regularly do weight-bearing
exercise against the resistance of gravity may benefit in particular. (Non-exercisers,
swimmers, and cyclists: This means you!)
Since your individual circumstances dictate what you need from a weight-training
program, consult a fitness professional to help you develop a specific set
Review Date: 3/12/2007
Reviewed By: Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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