Strength training is a vital part of a balanced exercise routine that includes aerobic activity and flexibility exercises.
Regular aerobic exercise, such as running or using a stationary bike, makes your muscles use oxygen more efficiently and strengthens your heart and lungs. When you strength train with weights, you’re using your muscles to work against the extra pounds (this concept is called resistance). This strengthens and increases the amount of muscle mass in your body by making your muscles work harder than they’re used to.
Most people who work out with weights typically use two different kinds: free weights (including barbells, dumbbells, and hand weights) and weight machines. Free weights usually work a group of muscles at the same time; weight machines typically are designed to help you isolate and work on a specific muscle.
Most gyms or weight rooms set up their machines in a circuit, or group, of exercises that you perform to strengthen different groups of muscles.
People can also use resistance bands and even their own body weight (as in pushups, sit-ups, or body weight squats) for strength training.
Many people tend to lump all types of weightlifting together, but there’s a big difference between strength training, powerlifting, and competitive bodybuilding!
Strength training uses resistance methods like free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or a person’s own weight to build muscles and strength. Olympic lifting, or powerlifting, which people often think of when they think of weightlifting, concentrates on how much weight a person can lift at one time. Competitive bodybuilding involves evaluating muscle definition and symmetry, as well as size.
Powerlifting, competitive weightlifting, and bodybuilding are not recommended for teens who are still maturing. That’s because these types of activity can cause serious injuries to growing bones, muscles, and joints.
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