Weight training is organized exercise in which muscles of the body are forced to contract under tension using weights, bodyweight or other devices in order to stimulate growth, strength, power and endurance.
Weight training is also called ‘resistance training’ and ‘strength training’. The basis of weight training success is a combination of factors sometimes called FITT.
• Frequency of training - how often
• Intensity of training - how hard
• Time spent - session time
• Type of exercise - which exercises
Types of Muscle Contractions and Joint Movements
Isometric contractions: the muscle does not lengthen. An example of this is pushing against a wall.
Isotonic contractions: the muscle shortens and lengthens. The shortening phase is called a 'concentric' contraction and the lengthening phase is the 'eccentric' contraction. An example is a dumbbell arm curl where the muscle shortens as you raise the dumbbell (concentric) and lengthens as you lower it (eccentric). Eccentric contractions are mainly what give you sore muscles. Joint movements. Muscle contractions relate to joint movements.
Four important joint movements are flexion and extension, abduction and adduction.
Flexion is when you decrease the angle in the joint. An example is the upward movement of an arm curl which decreases the angle in the elbow joint. Extension is the opposite movement, that is, increasing the angle while lowering the weight.
Abduction is moving a body part away from the middle of the body in the side plane. An example is raising the legs out to the side of the body. Adduction is bringing them back again.
Strength, size and endurance of muscle is built by the overload principle. This entails lifting increasingly heavy weights or increasing the volume of work over time. Strength, as distinguished from increased muscle size (called hypertrophy), is built by training the neuromuscular system and the interaction between the nerves and muscle, rather than muscle anatomy, the size and constitution of muscle fibers. Heavier weights with fewer repetitions and longer rest are employed to prioritize strength. As a general rule, larger muscles will make you stronger, but probably not stronger than someone who trains for strength, all else being equal. Strength training can involve loads in the range 3-6RM with higher loads of 1-3RM for more experienced lifters and a variable number of sets according to program.
However, you have to ask yourself if training in a skill activity like running or swimming or biking is not more productive use of your time.
Weight training, strength training or resistance training, whatever you like to call it, builds the foundation for strength, power, bulk and muscle endurance for the following activities and sports.
• Bodybuilding, which specializes in body shaping and muscular definition, particularly for competition purposes. Hypertrophy programs predominate here.
• Sports-specific programs utilize exercises that support and enhance, as far as possible, the muscular actions of the sport. An example might be training swimmers with exercises that simulate the pull through the water, targeting shoulders, arms and back muscles. Strength-endurance and bulk and power programs are useful yet highly variable for particular sports and need to be designed so that they do not interfere with the skill set required for the sport.
• Weight loss and fitness includes exercises that provide an all-round exercise program for adding muscle and losing body fat. Bodybuilders just wanting to look good at the Beach are included in the category.
• Olympic weightlifting is a specialty weightlifting sport that utilizes only two exercises, the clean and jerk and the snatch, although there are many training exercises. Each lift is highly specialized and technical, requiring much training and practice.
• Powerlifting competition requires only three lifts, the squat, bench press and deadlift. Again, strength and technique programs are the basis of Powerlifting. Training Frequency and Overtraining How often and how much you train depends on your goals, experience, age, health, fitness and other factors such as equipment accessibility and time availability for training.