Weight training

Last updated
A full body workout can be performed with a pair of adjustable dumbbells and a set of weight disks (plates). TwoDumbbells.JPG
A full body workout can be performed with a pair of adjustable dumbbells and a set of weight disks (plates).
Weight training can be incorporated into numerous fitness regimes. Crossfit gym cz.jpg
Weight training can be incorporated into numerous fitness regimes.

Weight training is a common type of strength training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. [2] It uses the force of gravity in the form of weighted bars, dumbbells or weight stacks in order to oppose the force generated by muscle through concentric or eccentric contraction. Weight training uses a variety of specialized equipment to target specific muscle groups and types of movement.


Sports in which weight training is used include bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, highland games, hammer throw, shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. Many other sports use strength training as part of their training regimen, notably: American football, baseball, basketball, canoeing, cricket, football, hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, rowing, rugby league, rugby union, track and field, boxing, wrestling and judo.


Arthur Saxon performing an early plate-loading barbell and kettlebell (late 19-century) EarlyBarbell.png
Arthur Saxon performing an early plate-loading barbell and kettlebell (late 19-century)

The genealogy of lifting can be traced back to the beginning of recorded history [3] where humanity's fascination with physical abilities can be found among numerous ancient writings. In many prehistoric tribes, they would have a big rock they would try to lift, and the first one to lift it would inscribe their name into the stone. Such rocks have been found in Greek and Scottish castles. [4] Progressive resistance training dates back at least to Ancient Greece, when legend has it that wrestler Milo of Croton trained by carrying a newborn calf on his back every day until it was fully grown. Another Greek, the physician Galen, described strength training exercises using the halteres (an early form of dumbbell) in the 2nd century.

Ancient Greek sculptures also depict lifting feats. The weights were generally stones, but later gave way to dumbbells. The dumbbell was joined by the barbell in the later half of the 19th century. Early barbells had hollow globes that could be filled with sand or lead shot, but by the end of the century these were replaced by the plate-loading barbell commonly used today. [5]

Another early device was the Indian club, which came from ancient India, where it was called the "mugdar" or ''gada''. It subsequently became popular during the 19th century, and has recently made a comeback in the form of the clubbell.

Weightlifting was first introduced in the Olympics in the 1896 Athens Olympic Games as a part of track and field, and was officially recognized as its own event in 1914. [6]

The 1960s saw the gradual introduction of exercise machines into the still-rare strength training gyms of the time. Weight training became increasingly popular in the 1970s, following the release of the bodybuilding movie Pumping Iron, and the subsequent popularity of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since the late 1990s, increasing numbers of women have taken up weight training; currently, nearly one in five U.S. women engage in weight training on a regular basis. [7]

Basic principles

A woman doing weight training at a health club with her coach standing behind her. 101 Armenian Woman Exercising Shoulder Back Press.png
A woman doing weight training at a health club with her coach standing behind her.

The basic principles of weight training are essentially identical to those of strength training, and involve a manipulation of the number of repetitions (reps), sets, tempo, exercise types, and weight moved to cause desired increases in strength, endurance, and size. The specific combinations of reps, sets, exercises, and weights depends on the aims of the individual performing the exercise. [8]

In addition to the basic principles of strength training, a further consideration added by weight training is the equipment used. [2] Types of equipment include barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, pulleys and stacks in the form of weight machines, and the body's own weight in the case of chin-ups and push-ups. Different types of weights will give different types of resistance, and often the same absolute weight can have different relative weights depending on the type of equipment used. For example, lifting 10 kilograms using a dumbbell sometimes requires more force than moving 10 kilograms on a weight stack if certain pulley arrangements are used. In other cases, the weight stack may require more force than the equivalent dumbbell weight due to additional torque or resistance in the machine. Additionally, although they may display the same weight stack, different machines may be heavier or lighter depending on the number of pulleys and their arrangements.

Weight training also requires the use of proper or 'good form', performing the movements with the appropriate muscle group, and not transferring the weight to different body parts in order to move greater weight (called 'cheating'). Failure to use good form during a training set can result in injury or a failure to meet training goals. If the desired muscle group is not challenged sufficiently, the threshold of overload is never reached and the muscle does not gain in strength. At a particularly advanced level; however, "cheating" can be used to break through strength plateaus and encourage neurological and muscular adaptation.


Weight training is a safe form of exercise when the movements are controlled and carefully defined. However, as with any form of exercise, improper execution and the failure to take appropriate precautions can result in injury. If injured, full recovery is suggested before starting to weight train again or it will result in a bigger injury.

Maintaining proper form

A dumbbell half-squat. DumbbellDeadlift.JPG
A dumbbell half-squat.

Maintaining proper form is one of the many steps in order to perfectly perform a certain technique. Correct form in weight training improves strength, muscle tone, and maintaining a healthy weight. Proper form will prevent any strains or fractures. [10] When the exercise becomes difficult towards the end of a set, there is a temptation to cheat, i.e., to use poor form to recruit other muscle groups to assist the effort. Avoid heavy weight and keep the number of repetitions to a minimum. This may shift the effort to weaker muscles that cannot handle the weight. For example, the squat and the deadlift are used to exercise the largest muscles in the body—the leg and buttock muscles—so they require substantial weight. Beginners are tempted to round their back while performing these exercises. The relaxation of the spinal erectors which allows the lower back to round can cause shearing in the vertebrae of the lumbar spine, potentially damaging the spinal discs.

Stretching and warm-up

Weight trainers spend time warming up their muscles before starting a workout. It is common to stretch the entire body to increase overall flexibility; many people stretch just the area being worked that day. It has been observed that static stretching can increase the risk of injury due to its analgesic effect and cellular damage caused by it. [11] A proper warm-up routine, however, has shown to be effective in minimizing the chances of injury, especially if they are done with the same movements performed in the weight lifting exercise. [12] When properly warmed up the lifter will have more strength and stamina since the blood has begun to flow to the muscle groups. [13]


In weight training, as with most forms of exercise, there is a tendency for the breathing pattern to deepen. This helps to meet increased oxygen requirements. Holding the breath or breathing shallowly is avoided because it may lead to a lack of oxygen, passing out, or an increase in blood pressure. Generally, the recommended breathing technique is to inhale when lowering the weight (the eccentric portion) and exhale when lifting the weight (the concentric portion). However, the reverse, inhaling when lifting and exhaling when lowering, may also be recommended. Some researchers state that there is little difference between the two techniques in terms of their influence on heart rate and blood pressure. [14] It may also be recommended that a weight lifter simply breathes in a manner which feels appropriate.

Deep breathing may be specifically recommended for the lifting of heavy weights because it helps to generate intra-abdominal pressure which can help to strengthen the posture of the lifter, and especially their core. [15]

In particular situations, a coach may advise performing the valsalva maneuver during exercises which place a load on the spine. The vasalva maneuver consists of closing the windpipe and clenching the abdominal muscles as if exhaling, and is performed naturally and unconsciously by most people when applying great force. It serves to stiffen the abdomen and torso and assist the back muscles and spine in supporting the heavy weight. Although it briefly increases blood pressure, it is still recommended by weightlifting experts such as Rippetoe since the risk of a stroke by aneurysm is far lower than the risk of an orthopedic injury caused by inadequate rigidity of the torso. [16] Some medical experts warn that the mechanism of building "high levels of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP)...produced by breath holding using the Valsava maneuver", to "ensure spine stiffness and stability during these extraordinary demands", "should be considered only for extreme weight-lifting challenges — not for rehabilitation exercise". [17]


As with other sports, weight trainers should avoid dehydration throughout the workout by drinking sufficient water. This is particularly true in hot environments, or for those older than 65. [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]

Some athletic trainers advise athletes to drink about 7 imperial fluid ounces (200 ml) every 15 minutes while exercising, and about 80 imperial fluid ounces (2.3 l) throughout the day. [23]

However, a much more accurate determination of how much fluid is necessary can be made by performing appropriate weight measurements before and after a typical exercise session, to determine how much fluid is lost during the workout. The greatest source of fluid loss during exercise is through perspiration, but as long as fluid intake is roughly equivalent to the rate of perspiration, hydration levels will be maintained. [20]

Under most circumstances, sports drinks do not offer a physiological benefit over water during weight training. [24] However, high-intensity exercise for a continuous duration of at least one hour may require the replenishment of electrolytes which a sports drink may provide. [25] [26]

Insufficient hydration may cause lethargy, soreness or muscle cramps. [27] The urine of well-hydrated persons should be nearly colorless, while an intense yellow color is normally a sign of insufficient hydration. [27]

Avoiding pain

An exercise should be halted if marked or sudden pain is felt, to prevent further injury. However, not all discomfort indicates injury. Weight training exercises are brief but very intense, and many people are unaccustomed to this level of effort. The expression "no pain, no gain" refers to working through the discomfort expected from such vigorous effort, rather than to willfully ignore extreme pain, which may indicate serious soft tissue injuries. The focus must be proper form, not the amount of weight lifted. [28]

Discomfort can arise from other factors. Individuals who perform large numbers of repetitions, sets, and exercises for each muscle group may experience a burning sensation in their muscles. These individuals may also experience a swelling sensation in their muscles from increased blood flow also known as edema (the "pump"). True muscle fatigue is experienced as loss of power in muscles due to a lack of ATP, the energy used by our body, or a marked and uncontrollable loss of strength in a muscle, arising from the nervous system (motor unit) rather than from the muscle fibers themselves. [29] Extreme neural fatigue can be experienced as temporary muscle failure. Some weight training programs, such as Metabolic Resistance Training, actively seek temporary muscle failure; evidence to support this type of training is mixed at best. [30] Irrespective of their program, however, most athletes engaged in high-intensity weight training will experience muscle failure during their regimens.

Beginners are advised to build up slowly to a weight training program. Untrained individuals may have some muscles that are comparatively stronger than others; nevertheless, an injury can result if (in a particular exercise) the primary muscle is stronger than its stabilizing muscles. Building up slowly allows muscles time to develop appropriate strengths relative to each other. This can also help to minimize delayed onset muscle soreness. A sudden start to an intense program can cause significant muscular soreness. Unexercised muscles contain cross-linkages that are torn during intense exercise. A regimen of flexibility exercises should be implemented before and after workouts. Since weight training puts great strain on the muscles, it is necessary to warm-up properly. Kinetic stretching before a workout and static stretching after are a key part of flexibility and injury prevention.

Other precautions

Anyone beginning an intensive physical training program is typically advised to consult a physician, because of possible undetected heart or other conditions for which such activity is contraindicated.

Exercises like the bench press or the squat in which a failed lift can potentially result in the lifter becoming trapped under the weight are normally performed inside a power rack or in the presence of one or more spotters, who can safely re-rack the barbell if the weight trainer is unable to do so. In addition to spotters, knowledge of proper form and the use of safety bars can go a long way to keep a lifter from suffering injury due to a failed repetition.


Weight training usually requires different types of equipment, but most commonly dumbbells, barbells, and weight machines. Various combinations of specific exercises, weights, and machines allow trainees to exercise the body in numerous ways.

Free weights

Free weights include dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, sandbells, and kettlebells. Unlike weight machines, they do not constrain users to specific, fixed movements, and therefore require more effort from the individual's stabilizer muscles. It is often argued that free weight exercises are superior for precisely this reason. For example, they are recommended for golf players, since golf is a unilateral exercise that can break body balances, requiring exercises to keep the balance in muscles. [31]

Some free weight exercises can be performed while sitting or lying on an exercise ball.

Weight machines

The weight stack from a cable machine. WeightStack.JPG
The weight stack from a cable machine.

There are a number of weight machines that are commonly found in neighborhood gyms. The Smith machine is a barbell that is constrained to vertical movement. The cable machine consists of two weight stacks separated by 2.5 metres, with cables running through adjustable pulleys (that can be fixed at any height so as to select different amounts of weight) to various types of handles. There are also exercise-specific weight machines such as the leg press. A multigym includes a variety of exercise-specific mechanisms in one apparatus.

One limitation of many free weight exercises and exercise machines is that the muscle is working maximally against gravity during only a small portion of the lift. Some exercise-specific machines feature an oval cam (first introduced by Nautilus) which varies the resistance, so that the resistance, and the muscle force required, remains constant throughout the full range of motion of the exercise.

Other equipment

Lifting straps WristStrap.JPG
Lifting straps
Lifting belt LiftingBelt.JPG
Lifting belt

Other types of equipment include:

Types of exercise

Weight training is usually isotonic in nature. This means that there is a specific muscle being used and contracting due to a weight, leading to muscle contractions in that area of the body. This can be contrasted with isometric exercise where the joint angles remain constant i.e. the exercise is static in nature and involves holding a posture. A weight training exercise may involve both isotonic and isometric elements i.e. squatting with weight usually involves bending and straightening the legs (an isotonic action) while holding the weight steady (an isometric action).

Compound exercise

The dumbbell squat is a compound exercise. An exercise ball can be used for support and allow for a wider range of exercises to be performed. They are also known as Swiss balls or stability balls. SwissBallSquat.JPG
The dumbbell squat is a compound exercise. An exercise ball can be used for support and allow for a wider range of exercises to be performed. They are also known as Swiss balls or stability balls.

Compound exercises work several muscle groups at once, and include movement around two or more joints. For example, in the leg press, movement occurs around the hip, knee and ankle joints. This exercise is primarily used to develop the quadriceps, but it also involves the hamstrings, glutes and calves. Compound exercises are generally similar to the ways that people naturally push, pull and lift objects, whereas isolation exercises often feel a little unnatural.

Each type of exercise has its uses. Compound exercises build the basic strength that is needed to perform everyday pushing, pulling and lifting activities. Isolation exercises are useful for "rounding out" a routine, by directly exercising muscle groups that cannot be fully exercised in the compound exercises.

The type of exercise performed also depends on the individual's goals. Those who seek to increase their performance in sports would focus mostly on compound exercises, using isolation exercises to strengthen just those muscles that are holding the athlete back. Similarly, a powerlifter would focus on the specific compound exercises that are performed at powerlifting competitions. However, those who seek to improve the look of their body without necessarily maximizing their strength gains (including bodybuilders) would put more of an emphasis on isolation exercises. Both types of athletes, however, generally make use of both compound and isolation exercises. [35]

Isolation exercise

The leg extension is an isolation exercise. LegExtensionMachineExercise.JPG
The leg extension is an isolation exercise.

An isolation exercise is one where the movement is restricted to one joint only. For example, the leg extension is an isolation exercise for the quadriceps. Specialized types of equipment are used to ensure that other muscle groups are only minimally involved—they just help the individual maintain a stable posture—and movement occurs only around the knee joint. Isolation exercises involve machines, dumbbells, barbells (free weights), and pulley machines. Pulley machines and free weights can be used when combined with special/proper positions and joint bracing.

Most common exercises

Bench press with a bench and barbell. The man standing is 'spotting' and ready to help with lifting the weight if the lifter becomes too fatigued. Bench press 1.jpg
Bench press with a bench and barbell. The man standing is 'spotting' and ready to help with lifting the weight if the lifter becomes too fatigued.
Bicep curl with a dumbbell. USMC-110816-F-2786W-001.jpg
Bicep curl with a dumbbell.

The following exercises can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells. For each of them, there exist numerous variations. Most weight training exercises can improve grip strength due to the gripping of the weights.

A deadlift usually involves lifting a barbell from the floor up to thigh height. It is very effective at strengthening the legs and core. Along with squats, a person will usually be able to lift the greatest amount of weight with this lift. A special kind of hexagonal-shaped barbell called a trap bar (or hex bar) can be used to lift heavier weight and to maximize safety.

The squat involves holding a barbell across the shoulders and upper back and squatting down and standing up again. It is very effective at building leg and core strength. Ordinarily, the bar is lifted out of a rack at just below shoulder height, to begin with. It is frequently mentioned as being the most effective single weight training exercise for building all-around physical strength. A front squat is a variation that involves holding the barbell in front of the torso and resting it on the tops of the shoulders and the upper chest.

For the bench press a person lies with their back on a bench. They hold a barbell over their chest and lower and lift it. It is an exercise designed to strengthen the arms and upper body, especially the shoulders and chest.

Bicep curls are usually performed with dumbbells and involve holding them at hip height before lifting them up to just over shoulder height with a bending action of the arm. They are used to strengthen the arms and especially the biceps.

The overhead press involves holding dumbbells at just over shoulder height and pressing them upwards and lowering them again. This exercise is used to strengthen the arms, shoulders and upper body.

Types of workout

Push-pull workout

A push–pull workout is a method of arranging a weight training routine so that exercises alternate between push motions and pull motions. [36] A push–pull superset is two complementary segments (one pull/one push) done back-to-back. An example is bench press (push) / bent-over row (pull). Another push–pull technique is to arrange workout routines so that one day involves only push (usually chest, shoulders and triceps) exercises, and an alternate day only pull (usually back and biceps) exercises so the body can get adequate rest. [37]

Variable resistance workout

Variable resistance training involves varying the resistance for different phases of a range of movement. This may be achieved by adding heavy chains or thick elastic bands to an exercise. For example, chains may be attached to the ends of a barbell during a bench press exercise. When the bar is lowered more of the chain rests on the floor resulting in less weight being lifted, and vice versa when the bar is raised. The elastic nature of bands can serve a similar function of increasing resistance. Another form of variable resistance training involves combining partial repetitions with a heavier weight with full repetitions with a lighter weight. The advantage of variable resistance training is that it more effectively strengthens the different phases of a persons strength curve for that movement. Strength curve is a graphical term which refers to the phases of strength which a person moves through when performing an exercise. [note 1] For example, when a person is performing a back squat they are strongest at the top of the movement and weakest at the bottom. If they do a full squat at 1RM then this 1RM is based upon the lower weaker phase of the movement. As they have to move through this phase to complete a full rep, they cannot ordinarily lift a weight heavier than they can manage here. This is even though the weight they are lifting is only about 66% of their 1RM for the stronger phase. [38] Variable resistance training provides a solution to this problem. By adding resistance during a repetition, or by combining heavier partial reps with lighter full reps, the same percentage of 1RM for both the stronger and weaker phase respectively can be lifted. A person following this training method may become stronger and more explosive as a result. [39]

Health benefits

Benefits of weight training include increased strength, muscle mass, endurance, bone and bone mineral density, insulin sensitivity, GLUT 4 density, HDL cholesterol, improved cardiovascular health and appearance, and decreased body fat, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. [40]

The body's basal metabolic rate increases with increases in muscle mass, which promotes long-term fat loss and helps dieters avoid yo-yo dieting. [41] Moreover, intense workouts elevate metabolism for several hours following the workout, which also promotes fat loss. [42]

Weight training also provides functional benefits. Stronger muscles improve posture, provide better support for joints, and reduce the risk of injury from everyday activities. Older people who take up weight training can prevent some of the loss of muscle tissue that normally accompanies aging—and even regain some functional strength—and by doing so, become less frail. [43] They may be able to avoid some types of physical disability. Weight-bearing exercise also helps to increase bone density to prevent osteoporosis. [44] The benefits of weight training for older people have been confirmed by studies of people who began engaging in it even in their eighties and nineties.

For many people in rehabilitation or with an acquired disability, such as following stroke or orthopaedic surgery, strength training for weak muscles is a key factor to optimise recovery. [45] For people with such a health condition, their strength training is likely to need to be designed by an appropriate health professional, such as a physiotherapist.

Stronger muscles improve performance in a variety of sports. Sport-specific training routines are used by many competitors. These often specify that the speed of muscle contraction during weight training should be the same as that of the particular sport. Sport-specific training routines also often include variations to both free weight and machine movements that may not be common for traditional weightlifting.

Though weight training can stimulate the cardiovascular system, many exercise physiologists, based on their observation of maximal oxygen uptake, argue that aerobics training is a better cardiovascular stimulus. Central catheter monitoring during resistance training reveals increased cardiac output, suggesting that strength training shows potential for cardiovascular exercise. However, a 2007 meta-analysis found that, though aerobic training is an effective therapy for heart failure patients, combined aerobic and strength training is ineffective; "the favorable antiremodeling role of aerobic exercise was not confirmed when this mode of exercise was combined with strength training". [46]

One side-effect of any intense exercise is increased levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which can help to improve mood and counter feelings of depression. [47]

Weight training has also been shown to benefit dieters as it inhibits lean body mass loss (as opposed to fat loss) when under a caloric deficit. Weight training also strengthens bones, helping to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. By increasing muscular strength and improving balance, weight training can also reduce falls by elderly persons. Weight training is also attracting attention for the benefits it can have on the brain, and in older adults, a 2017 meta analysis found that it was effective in improving cognitive performance. [48]

Studies also show that weight training has significant benefits for an individual's mental health. Strength training has shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. [49]

Weight training and other types of strength training

The benefits of weight training overall are comparable to most other types of strength training: increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength, bone density, flexibility, tone, metabolic rate, and postural support. This type of training will also help prevent injury for athletes. There are benefits and limitations to weight training as compared to other types of strength training. Contrary to popular belief, weight training can be beneficial for both men and women.

Weight training and bodybuilding

Although weight training is similar to bodybuilding, they have different objectives. Bodybuilders use weight training to develop their muscles for size, shape, and symmetry regardless of any increase in strength for competition in bodybuilding contests; they train to maximize their muscular size and develop extremely low levels of body fat. In contrast, many weight trainers train to improve their strength and anaerobic endurance while not giving special attention to reducing body fat far below normal.

Complex training

In complex training, weight training is typically combined with plyometric exercises in an alternating sequence. Ideally, the weight lifting exercise and the plyometric exercise should move through similar ranges of movement i.e. a back squat at 85-95% 1RM followed by a vertical jump. An advantage of this form of training is that it allows the intense activation of the nervous system and increased muscle fibre recruitment from the weight lifting exercise to be utilized in the subsequent plyometric exercise; thereby improving the power with which it can be performed. Over a period of training, this may enhance the athlete's ability to apply power. [50] The plyometric exercise may be replaced with a sports specific action. The intention being to utilize the neural and muscular activation from the heavy lift in the sports specific action, in order to be able to perform it more powerfully. Over a period of training this may enhance the athlete's ability to perform that sports specific action more powerfully, without a precursory heavy lift being required.

Ballistic training

Ballistic training involves throwing a weight such as a medicine ball or slam ball. The ball may be thrown as far as possible, or thrown into a wall and caught on the rebound etc. Whilst the term ballistic strictly refers to throwing, in its modern usage as a categorical term it is sometimes construed more broadly. In such cases ballistic training can be said to focus on maximising the acceleration phase of a movement and minimising the deceleration phase. This is done in order to increase the power of the movement overall. For example, throwing a weight, jumping whilst holding a weight, or swinging a weight. These actions can be contrasted with standard weight lifting exercises where there is a distinct deceleration phase at the end of the repetition which stops the weight from moving. [51]

Weighted jumps (loaded plyometrics)

Dumbbell weighted jumps A1.png
Dumbbell weighted jumps A2.png
Jumping split squat with dumbbells 1.png
Jumping split squat with dumbbells 2.png
TOP: Vertical jumps with 15kg dumbbells held just above the shoulders. Heavier dumbbells usually have increased plate diameters which can mean it becomes easier to hold them above the shoulders than by the hips. BOTTOM: Jumping split squats with 10kg dumbbells. On each jump, the stance alternates so the front leg becomes the rear leg and the rear leg becomes the front leg.

Weighted jumps, also known as loaded plyometrics, involve jumping whilst holding a weight, such as a trap bar or dumbbells, or jumping while wearing a weight such as a weighted vest or ankle weights. Weighted jumps are commonly used in a training regime to increase explosive power. Many sports such as rugby, gridiron, and others recommend their players do plyometric training to train explosive power.

Contrast loading

Contrast loading is the alternation of heavy and light loads. Considered as sets, the heavy load is performed at about 85-95% 1 repetition max; the light load should be considerably lighter at about 30-60% 1RM. Both sets should be performed fast with the lighter set being performed as fast as possible. The joints should not be locked as this inhibits muscle fibre recruitment and reduces the speed at which the exercise can be performed. The lighter set may be a loaded plyometric exercise such as loaded squat jumps or jumps with a trap bar.

Similarly to complex training, contrast loading relies upon the enhanced activation of the nervous system and increased muscle fibre recruitment from the heavy set, to allow the lighter set to be performed more powerfully. [52] Such a physiological effect is commonly referred to as post-activation potentiation, or the PAP effect. Contrast loading can effectively demonstrate the PAP effect: if a light weight is lifted, and then a heavy weight is lifted, and then the same light weight is lifted again, then the light weight will feel lighter the second time it has been lifted. This is due to the enhanced PAP effect which occurs as a result of the heavy lift being utilised in the subsequent lighter lift; thus making the weight feel lighter and allowing the lift to be performed more powerfully.

Weight training versus isometric training

Isometric exercise provides a maximum amount of resistance based on the force output of the muscle, or muscles pitted against one another. This maximum force maximally strengthens the muscles over all of the joint angles at which the isometric exercise occurs. By comparison, weight training also strengthens the muscle throughout the range of motion the joint is trained in, but only maximally at one angle, causing a lesser increase in physical strength at other angles from the initial through terminating joint angle as compared with isometric exercise. In addition, the risk of injury from weights used in weight training is greater than with isometric exercise (no weights), and the risk of asymmetric training is also greater than with isometric exercise of identical opposing muscles.

See also


  1. A movement may be considered as having any number of strength phases but usually is considered as having two main phases: a stronger and a weaker. When the movement becomes stronger during the exercise, this is called an ascending strength curve i.e. bench press, squat, deadlift. And when it becomes weaker this is called a descending strength curve i.e. chin ups, upright row, standing lateral raise. Some exercises involve a different pattern of strong-weak-strong. This is called a bell shaped strength curve i.e. bicep curls where there can be a sticking point roughly midway.

Related Research Articles

Calisthenics Form of exercise consisting of a variety of exercises, often rhythmical

Calisthenics or callisthenics (/ˌkælɪsˈθɛnɪks/) is a form of strength training consisting of a variety of movements that exercise large muscle groups, such as standing, grasping, pushing, etc. These exercises are often performed rhythmically and with minimal equipment, as bodyweight exercises. They are intended to increase strength, fitness, and flexibility, through movements such as pulling, pushing, bending, jumping, or swinging, using one's body weight for resistance. Calisthenics can provide the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility, and coordination. A study done in 2017 titled "The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength and body composition" found that calisthenics training is an "effective training solution to improve posture, strength and body composition without the use of any major training equipment".

Bench press Exercise of the upper body

The bench press, or chest press, is an upper-body weight training exercise in which the trainee presses a weight upwards while lying on a weight training bench. The exercise uses the pectoralis major, the anterior deltoids, and the triceps, among other stabilizing muscles. A barbell is generally used to hold the weight, but a pair of dumbbells can also be used.

Dumbbell Piece of equipment used in weight training

The dumbbell, a type of free weight, is a piece of equipment used in weight training. It can be used individually or in pairs, with one in each hand.

Strength training Performance of physical exercises designed to improve strength

Strength training or resistance training involves the performance of physical exercises that are designed to improve strength and endurance. It is often associated with the lifting of weights. It can also incorporate a variety of training techniques such as calisthenics, isometrics, and plyometrics.

Squat (exercise) Workout that targets the legs

A squat is a strength exercise in which the trainee lowers their hips from a standing position and then stands back up. During the descent of a squat, the hip and knee joints flex while the ankle joint dorsiflexes; conversely the hip and knee joints extend and the ankle joint plantarflexes when standing up.

Deadlift Weight training exercise

The deadlift is a weight training exercise in which a loaded barbell or bar is lifted off the ground to the level of the hips, torso perpendicular to the floor, before being placed back on the ground. It is one of the three powerlifting exercises, along with the squat and bench press.

Isometric exercise Static contraction exercises

An isometric exercise is a form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint. The term "isometric" combines the Greek words isos (equal) and -metria (measuring), meaning that in these exercises the length of the muscle and the angle of the joint do not change, though contraction strength may be varied. This is in contrast to isotonic contractions, in which the contraction strength does not change, though the muscle length and joint angle do.

Plyometrics Maximum-intensity explosive exercises

Plyometrics, also known as jump training or plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or "explosive" manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes, especially martial artists, sprinters and high jumpers, to improve performance, and are used in the fitness field to a much lesser degree.

Kettlebell Cast iron or cast steel ball with a handle attached to the top

The kettlebell is a cast iron or cast steel ball with a handle attached to the top. It is used to perform many types of exercises, including ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. They are also the primary equipment used in the weight lifting sport of kettlebell lifting.

The good-morning is a weight training exercise. It is known as a good morning because of the movement in the erector spinae which resembles the bow that traditionally begins a schoolday in some East-Asian countries. The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform hip extension. Other muscles are involved in stabilizing weight on the back and maintaining balance.

Complex training, also known as contrast training or post-activation potentiation training, involves the integration of strength training and plyometrics in a training system designed to improve explosive power. According to Jace Derwin:

Strength training and plyometric training are both effective measures for increasing athletic performance independent of each other, but a true program designed for power-based athletes needs to incorporate both disciplines. A study done in 2000 in the NSCA's Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research measured three different training protocols: strength training, plyometric training, and a combination of both. The group that used combined methods was the only group that showed significant increases in BOTH strength and power.

Lunge (exercise) Type of exercise

A lunge can refer to any position of the human body where one leg is positioned forward with knee bent and foot flat on the ground while the other leg is positioned behind. It is used by athletes in cross-training for sports, by weight-trainers as a fitness exercise, and by practitioners of yoga as part of an asana regimen.

Outline of exercise Overview of and topical guide to exercise

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to exercise:

Bodyweight exercise

Bodyweight exercises are strength-training exercises that use an individual's own weight to provide resistance against gravity. Bodyweight exercises can enhance a range of biomotor abilities including strength, power, endurance, speed, flexibility, coordination and balance. Such strength training has become more popular among recreational and professional athletes. Bodyweight training uses simple abilities like pushing, pulling, squatting, bending, twisting and balancing. Movements such as the push-up, the pull-up, and the sit-up are among the most common bodyweight exercises.

Ballistic training

Ballistic training, also called power training, is a form of training which involves throwing weights, and jumping with weights, in order to increase explosive power. The intention in ballistic exercises is to maximise the acceleration phase of an object's movement and minimise the deceleration phase. For instance, throwing a medicine ball maximises the acceleration of the ball; this can be contrasted with a standard weight training exercise where there would be a pronounced deceleration phase at the end of the repetition i.e. at the end of a bench press exercise the barbell is decelerated and brought to a halt. Similarly, an athlete jumping whilst holding a trap bar maximises the acceleration of the weight through the process of holding it whilst they jump; where as they would decelerate it at the end of a standard trap bar deadlift.

Bulgarian Bag

The Bulgarian Bag, also known as the Bulgarian Training Bag, is a crescent-shaped exercise equipment used in strength training, plyometric weight training, cardiovascular training, and general physical fitness. The bags are made of leather or canvas and filled with sand; they weigh from 11 pounds (5.0 kg) to 50 pounds (23 kg) and have flexible handles to allow for both upper and lower body training, and for building grip strength.

Football strength is a training regime, considered the most complex physical quality to be developed by an athlete. The training regime, exercises used, how the exercises are performed, and the types of equipment all play important roles in achieving desired results.

Split weight training is a type of exercise workout. It involves separate exercises for each group of muscles.

Power training Common type of speed and strength training

Power training typically involves exercises which apply the maximum amount of force as fast as possible; on the basis that strength + speed = power. Jumping with weights or throwing weights are two examples of power training exercises. Regular weight training exercises such as the clean and jerk and power clean may also be considered as being power training exercises due to the explosive speed required to complete the lifts. Power training may also involve contrasting exercises such as heavy lifts and plyometrics, known as complex training, in an attempt to combine the maximal lifting exertions with dynamic movements. This combination of a high strength exercise with a high speed exercise may lead to an increased ability to apply power. Power training frequently specifically utilises two physiological processes which increase in conjunction with one another during exercise. These are deep breathing, which results in increased intra-abdominal pressure; and post-activation potentation, which is the enhanced activation of the nervous system and increased muscle fibre recruitment. Power training programmes may be shaped to increase the trainee's ability to apply power in general, to meet sports specific criteria, or both.


  1. Grainger, Luke (31 December 2019). "Work Your Entire Body With This Dumbbell Workout". Men's Fitness. Kelsey Media Ltd. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  2. 1 2 Keogh, Justin W, and Paul W Winwood. “Report for: The Epidemiology of Injuries Across the Weight-Training Sports.” Altmetric – Vitamin C Antagonizes the Cytotoxic Effects of Antineoplastic Drugs, Mar. 2017, summon.altmetric.com/details/8964732.
  3. "The History of Weightlifting". USA Weightlifting. United States Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2018. The genealogy of lifting traces back to the beginning of recorded history where man's fascination with physical prowess can be found among numerous ancient writings. A 5,000-year-old Chinese text tells of prospective soldiers having to pass lifting tests.
  4. "Weightlifting | sport". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  5. Todd, Jan (1995). From Milo to Milo: A History of Barbells, Dumbbells, and Indian Clubs. Archived 2012-07-31 at the Wayback Machine Iron Game History (Vol.3, No.6).
  6. "weightlifting | sport". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  7. "NBC News article on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on the prevalence of strength training". NBC News . Retrieved 2007-02-01.
  8. Juan Dominguez del Corral (14 July 2018). Weight Training for Beginners: 10 Basic Principles to Optimize Your Training. Amazon Digital Services LLC - Kdp Print Us. ISBN   978-958-48-4199-5.
  9. In the first picture, the knees are too close and get twisted. For appropriate muscular development and safety the knee should be in line with the foot. Rippetoe M, Lon Kilgore (2005). "Knees". Starting Strength . The Aasgard Company. pp.  46–49. ISBN   978-0-9768054-0-3.
  10. "Weight training: Do's and don'ts of proper technique - Mayo Clinic". www.mayoclinic.org. Retrieved 2016-06-13.
  11. Moore, Marjorie A.; Hutton, Robert S. (1980). "Electromyographic investigation of muscle stretching techniques". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 12 (5): 322–329. doi:10.1249/00005768-198012050-00004. PMID   7453508.
  12. Herman, Katherine; Barton, Christian; Malliaras, Peter; Morrissey, Dylan (December 2012). "The effectiveness of neuromuscular warm-up strategies, that require no additional equipment, for preventing lower limb injuries during sports participation: a systematic review". BMC Medicine. 10 (1): 75. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-75. PMC   3408383 . PMID   22812375.
  13. McMillian, Danny J.; Moore, Josef H.; Hatler, Brian S.; Taylor, Dean C. (2006). "Dynamic vs. Static-Stretching Warm Up: The Effect on Power and Agility Performance". The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 20 (3): 492–9. CiteSeerX . doi:10.1519/18205.1. PMID   16937960. S2CID   16389590.
  14. Fleck SJ, Kraemer WJ (2014). Designing resistance training programs (Fourth ed.). Leeds: Human Kinetics. p. 12. ISBN   978-0-7360-8170-2.
  15. "The Right Way to Breathe For More Powerful Weightlifting". Vitals. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  16. Rippetoe M, Kilgore L (2005). "Squat". Starting Strength . The Aasgard Company. pp.  46–49. ISBN   978-0-9768054-0-3.
  17. McGill, Stuart (2007). "Breathing". Low Back Disorders (2d ed.). Human Kinetics. pp.  186–7. ISBN   9780736066921.
  18. "Water, Water, Everywhere". WebMD.
  19. Mark Dedomenico. "Metabolism Myth #5". MSN Health.[ permanent dead link ]
  20. 1 2 American College of Sports Medicine; Sawka, MN; Burke, LM; Eichner, ER; Maughan, RJ; Montain, SJ; Stachenfeld, NS (February 2007). "Exercise and Fluid Replacement". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 39 (2): 377–390. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31802ca597. PMID   17277604.
  21. Nancy Cordes (2008-04-02). "Busting The 8-Glasses-A-Day Myth". CBS. Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  22. ""Drink at Least 8 Glasses of Water a Day" - Really?". Dartmouth Medical School.
  23. Johnson-Cane et al., p. 75
  24. Johnson-Cane et al., p. 76
  25. "Hydration and Exercise - What to Drink for Proper Hydration During Exercise". Sportsmedicine.about.com. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
  26. McCarthy M (2009-07-06). "Overuse of energy drinks worries health pros". USA Today.
  27. 1 2 Johnson-Cane et al., p. 153
  28. "7 tips for a safe and successful strength-training program". Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Health. Retrieved 2018-03-16.[ verification needed ]
  29. "Find your fit: Weight training". Arkansas Business. 35 (4): S30–S31. 2018. ProQuest   1994247717.
  30. "Is Training To Failure Necessary?". Training Science. 2012-03-27. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved 2017-03-31.[ verification needed ]
  31. Ahn Hyejung (November 11, 2012), World Class Fitness Trainers, John Sitaras , Golf Digest (Korean edition)
  32. Kingma, Idsart; Faber, Gert S.; Suwarganda, Edin K.; Bruijnen, Tom B. M.; Peters, Rob J. A.; van Dieën, Jaap H. (October 2006). "Effect of a Stiff Lifting Belt on Spine Compression During Lifting". Spine. 31 (22): E833–E839. doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000240670.50834.77. PMID   17047531. S2CID   22138551.
  33. Biller, Henry B. (2002). Creative Fitness: Applying Health Psychology and Exercise Science to Everyday Life. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN   978-0-86569-326-5.
  34. "The benefits of wearing weight lifting gloves".
  35. Henselmans, Menno. “Compound vs. Isolation Exercises: Which Is Best? [Study Review].” MennoHenselmans.com, 16 Jan. 2019, mennohenselmans.com/compound-vs-isolation-exercise/.
  36. Frontera WR, Slovik DM, Dawson DM (2006). Exercise in Rehabilitation Medicine. Human Kinetics, 2006. p. 350. ISBN   978-0-7360-5541-3.
  37. "Push-Pull Training". FLEX Online. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  38. Silvester, L Jay (1992). Weight Training for Strength and Fitness. London: Jones and Bartlett. pp. 23–25. ISBN   0867201398.
  39. Conalton, Bobby (15 May 2013). "Benefits of Lifting Chains". elitefts. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  40. Westcott, Wayne L. (2012). "Resistance Training is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health". Current Sports Medicine Reports. 11 (4): 209–216. doi:10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8. PMID   22777332. S2CID   11977370.
  41. "Fat Loss Article: Metabolism Myth". cbass.com.
  42. Meirelles, Cláudia de Mello; Gomes, Paulo Sergio Chagas (April 2004). "Efeitos agudos da atividade contra-resistência sobre o gasto energético: revisitando o impacto das principais variáveis". Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. 10 (2): 122–130. doi: 10.1590/S1517-86922004000200006 .
  43. Mayer, Frank; Scharhag-Rosenberger, Friederike; Carlsohn, Anja; Cassel, Michael; Müller, Steffen; Scharhag, Jürgen (27 May 2011). "The Intensity and Effects of Strength Training in the Elderly". Deutsches Ärzteblatt Online. 108 (21): 359–364. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2011.0359. PMC   3117172 . PMID   21691559.
  44. Layne, Jennifer E.; Nelson, Miriam E. (January 1999). "The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 31 (1): 25–30. doi:10.1097/00005768-199901000-00006. PMID   9927006.
  45. Ada, Louise; Dorsch, Simone; Canning, Colleen G. (2006). "Strengthening interventions increase strength and improve activity after stroke: a systematic review". Australian Journal of Physiotherapy. 52 (4): 241–248. doi: 10.1016/s0004-9514(06)70003-4 . PMID   17132118.
  46. Haykowsky, Mark J.; Liang, Yuanyuan; Pechter, David; Jones, Lee W.; McAlister, Finlay A.; Clark, Alexander M. (June 2007). "A Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Exercise Training on Left Ventricular Remodeling in Heart Failure Patients". Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 49 (24): 2329–2336. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2007.02.055 . PMID   17572248.
  47. "Exercise and Depression". WebMD.
  48. Northey, Joseph Michael; Cherbuin, Nicolas; Pumpa, Kate Louise; Smee, Disa Jane; Rattray, Ben (February 2018). "Exercise interventions for cognitive function in adults older than 50: a systematic review with meta-analysis". British Journal of Sports Medicine. 52 (3): 154–160. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096587 . PMID   28438770.
  49. OConner, Patrick; Herring, Matthew; Adrian, Amanda (September 2010). "Mental Health Benefits of Strength Training in Adults". American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 4 (5): 377–396. doi: 10.1177/1559827610368771 .
  50. Fleck SJ, Kraemer WJ (2013). "Complex Training, or Contrast Loading". Designing Resistance Training Programmes. Leeds: Human Kinetics. p. 253.
  51. Fleck SJ, Kraemer WJ (2013). "Ballistic Training". Designing Resistance Training Programmes. Leeds: Human Kinetics. p. 280.
  52. McGuigan M (2017). "Contrast Training". Developing Power. Leeds: Human Kinetics. pp. 196–197.