Op-Eds Opinion

The Keys to Weightlifting

Andrew Gutman
Contributing Writer

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and there are many different ways to exercise. In my opinion, weightlifting has given me the best results.

Weightlifting is something that entered my life about two years ago when I participated in Muay Thai boxing, but recently, I’ve been lifting for bodybuilding and strongman.

Weightlifting is a form of resistance training that includes free weights, resistance machines, etc. People use this equipment to put their muscles under opposing force. By doing this, one can increase their strength and skeletal muscle size.

Now, the reason that increased muscle size is beneficial, besides the fact that muscles look nice, is that muscle burns more calories at rest than either bone or fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.

There are many different lifts and machines to use, so don’t get confused just yet; I’m going to explain the basics.

There are two basic exercise categories, compound movements and isolation movements. Isolation movements are single-jointed exercises, such as a leg extension or a dumbbell curl. Compound movements are multi-joint movements, such as a squat or a bench press that rely on the actions of several different muscle groups to move two or more joints.

Isolation exercises can have their part in a weight training routine, but remember that your body is not a bunch of unrelated parts, so training multiple muscles at once will help you strengthen yourself better, in my opinion, then isolation exercises.

My favorite compound movements and the most common ones are: the deadlift, the bench press, the squat, the overhead press and pull-ups. Now before you try these, you should be careful, as good technique is required to perform these lifts, but hey, practice makes perfect!

Now another important aspect of weight training is the rep, ranges one should use while lifting. A repetition, or rep is completing the movement a number of times. So let’s say you are going to bench press for 10 reps. That means you are going to complete the movement 10 times. A set is how many times you are going to perform the number of reps, so three sets of 10 reps means you are going to bench 10 times, then rest, and then repeat two more times.

Following? Good.

Now there are different rep ranges for different goals. The general guidelines are that one to five repetitions build strength, eight to 12 reps are for hypertrophy (muscle growth) and 12 and up helps with muscular endurance.

Usually the lower the reps, the heavier the weights should be, but don’t lift more than you can handle, and always make sure to have someone spotting you. Everyone is different, so that is just a general guideline.

For beginners, I wouldn’t do more than three sets of any given exercise.

The last tip that I want to give is a personal opinion and kind of goes back to the compound movements. Training one or two body parts at a time can leave opportunity for weak points to develop, so consider doing full body routines; that is what has worked best for me.

I know this seems like a lot to take in, but these are just a few very general tips and guidelines that you can use to forge your own routine.

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