The benefits of weight training are vast and varied. We recommend doing weight training in combination with all cardio exercise. We've written this buying guide to help you choose the right type of weights to achieve your goals.Shop Strength Training & Weights >>
Weight training is quickly losing its stigma for being an exercise reserved for bodybuilders. With research showing that weight training benefits people of all ages, and from all walks of life, it's growing in popularity. Which is brilliant, considering the wide array of benefits weight training brings:
Let's start with an obvious one. With weight training, you'll develop the strength of your muscles, tendons and connective tissues. Not only will this make you feel like you're progressing in fitness, but it will also make day-to-day tasks much easier. After building your strength by lifting weights, carrying the shopping will feel like a breeze.
Your muscles aren't the only thing that develops with weight training. Your bones will also reap the rewards and build in density. This is especially beneficial as we age and the bones naturally start to lose density and become more fragile. By lifting weights you can dramatically lower your risk of getting osteoporosis.
Because weight training strengthens the muscles, bones, connective tissues and tendons, it leads to a reduced risk of injury in general. Keeping the body in peak physical condition really does require a little resistance training.
Whatever you're into, whether it's a bit of light jogging or football on Sunday, you can improve your overall performance with weight training. Many top athletes from very different disciplines weight train, because they know the benefits it can have on their performance. Increased explosive power, endurance and strength all help towards improving your game.
Weight training won't automatically make you 'bulky', but if that's the look you're going for, it can certainly be achieved! There are different types of weight training that lead to different results. Each type of weight requires you to train and eat a little differently. Want to get hench? Weight train. Want to tone up? Weight train.
Both weight training and cardio lead to better heart health, even in small quantities. And if you engage in both, you'll get even greater benefits! Weight training that strengthens the major muscle groups in the upper and lower body gets your heart pumping, increases blood flow and ultimately helps you avoid heart problems.
Weight training may feel like the last thing you want to do when you're feeling down, but psychological research suggests it's the quickest way to happiness. Lifting weights triggers your brain to release dopamine, the happy hormone. In combination with making you sleep better, a heightened sense of self-esteem and stress-reducing endorphins, weight training is a surefire way to make you feel great.
By building and strengthening the muscles that surround your bones, you're much less likely to experience pain. The muscles can 'support' the bones and make them less likely to rub or sit incorrectly, causing pain. However, make sure you have good form and your weights aren't too heavy. Weightlifting can lead to injury if it's not done correctly.
Weight training programmes have a lot of success when it comes to helping people lose weight. It also leads to an incredible thing called 'after burn' - where your body will keep burning calories up to 72 hours after your workout is complete.
Loss of balance and stability, especially as we get older can be stressful and a source of worry. Weight training develops large muscle groups and overall core strength. This, in turn, leads to a much better balance.
Need help choosing the best home weight for your fitness goals and budget? Here’s a summary of the most common types of weights:
Dumbbells are handheld weights that can be found at almost every gym. They usually come in preset weights and in pairs. They are very versatile and can add resistance to most exercises. With a pair of dumbbells you can have an excellent workout that includes all major muscle groups.
Dumbbells are most commonly used for static, joint isolating exercises, such as bicep curls. However, they can also be used to add resistance to squats and lunges and used in more dynamic workouts. They're a great option for everyone from beginners to experienced weight lifters.
Adjustable dumbbells allow you to change the weight of one pair of dumbbells. This makes them a good option for those looking to buy multiple weights, but who lack storage space. The traditional adjustable dumbbell has a screw end bar and comes with multiple weight plates that can be changed manually.
More recent models of adjustable dumbbells sit in trays that stack your weights for you. They generally have weight dials which you adjust, to adapt the dumbbell to the desired weight.
Kettlebells are mainly used for ballistic exercises, which combine strength, cardio and flexibility. The kettlebells off-centre of gravity and handle make it perfect for swinging movements that are great at developing whole-body and core strength. Unlike dumbbells, kettlebells are more frequently used in dynamic exercise sessions which also improve cardio and endurance.
Medicine balls are used for a variety of different exercises, however, Compared to dumbbells and kettlebells which build strength, medicine balls are mainly used to build explosive power. You'll find that these balls are usually used for catching and throwing drills, these help you develop explosivity and train you to absorb and redirect force. They are also used regularly to develop rotational core strength.
Barbell weights are essentially the same as dumbbells but with a much longer bar and larger, heavier plates. You'll find barbell weights in the gym, on the squat racks or the bench press. You don't tend to find barbell weights in a home gym as they're much larger.
Barbells are effective at improving max strength and are used in static exercises such as squats. Typically, without the plates attached to them, barbells will weigh around 20kg. It's important that you account for this before you attempt to lift one, at best you overestimate your strength, but at worst you could injure yourself.
As there's such a variety of home weights to choose from, it's a good idea to think about your overall aim and go from there.
If you're looking to build muscle at home, we recommend a dumbbell set suited to your current strength level. To build muscle, it's important to lift weights that feel just manageable. This will strain the muscle, which will then be repaired by growing new muscle fibres. So, you'll want to lift more weight as you progress. One of the many benefits of weight training with a dumbbell set is you'll be able to build muscle across all major muscle groups.Shop Dumbbell Sets >>
Kettlebell exercises are great for toning muscle. You won't be focusing on one muscle at a time, you'll be toning the entire body with every exercise you perform. You'll also improve your core strength and stability.Shop Kettlebells >>
Medicine balls are effective training tools for developing explosiveness, you can do this by throwing them against a wall, the floor or a workout partner. Beyond that, you can also use them to improve your flexibility, range of motion and your coordination, all of which are indisposable for sportsmen and athletes.Shop Medicine Balls >>
It's important to vary your exercises in a HIIT or circuit style workout. You'll want to push your body to its max capacity to get benefits such as increased strength, endurance and 'afterburn' (where your body keeps burning calories up to 72 hours after your session). We recommend a mix of weights and small gym equipment such as skipping ropes and steppers. Our functional fitness range has a brilliant choice of equipment for your HIIT and circuit sessions.
Crossfit® consists of performing functional fitness exercises at high intensity. Our range of functional fitness equipment is perfect for CrossFit® style workouts.Shop Functional Fitness >>
If you're considering buying home weights, it's a good idea to go to the gym and see which weights feel just heavy enough to lift for your chosen exercises, for around 10 reps. If you're not able to do that, contact us and we'll help you make a decision based on your age and current activity levels.
Weight training can, of course, make you look like a bodybuilder, but only if you train like a bodybuilder! To achieve the muscular look, you have to eat a lot of protein and train with very heavy weights on a regular basis. Adding weight training to your workouts, even on a regular basis will only tone and strengthen muscles unless you're eating a lot and lifting very heavy weights. One of the benefits of weight training is that you can tailor it to suit your desired results.