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Ariana Leonard, ACSM, CPT
A New Approach To Weight Training
Core Effects Personal Training
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A New Approach To Weight Training

As Markham Heid wrote in Time Magazine, “For many, weight training calls to mind bodybuilders pumping iron in pursuit of beefy biceps and bulging pecs. But experts say it's well past time to discard those antiquated notions of what resistance training can do for your physique and health. Modern exercise science shows that working with weights whether that weight is a light dumbbell or your own body may be the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness.”

Weight training has undeniable benefits relating to both physical and mental well being ranging from improving bone density loss to boosting self-esteem. Weight training effectively lowers the risk, and improves symptoms, of metabolic disorders like diabetes, and heart disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Improvements in focus, sleeping, depression, anxiety, balance, and chronic pain are all benefits from resistance training exercise. Heid quotes Brad Schoenfeld, an assistant professor of exercise science at New York City's Lehman College, “To me, resistance training is the most important form of training for overall health and wellness.”

Heid explains the misperception regarding the use of heavy weight to obtain the benefits of weight training. “Many people think of weight training as exercise that augments muscle size and strength, which is certainly true [but] some of the latest and most surprising research is in the realm of “light-load training,” or lifting very small weights.

“It used to be thought that you needed to lift heavy loads in order to build muscle and achieve a lot of these benefits,” Schoenfeld says, “but now it looks like that's completely untrue.” He says lifting “almost to failure” or until your muscles are near the point of giving out is the real key, regardless of how much weight you're using. “This is a huge boon to adherence, because many older adults or those with injuries or joint issues may not be able to lift heavy loads,” he says.

With this new-age approach to weight lifting, the entire population can participate in weight lifting and maintain optimal health, longer. Mark Peterson, an assistant professor of physical medicine at the University of Michigan says, “When we add strength…almost every health outcome improves. It used to be we thought of strength training as something for athletes,” he adds, “but now we recognize it as a seminal part of general health and well-being at all ages.”

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