Weightlifting refers to a type of sport in which participants try to lift the heaviest weights possible. In the recent past, weightlifting has been included in various training programs designed for athletes engaging in different sports. The major reason for inclusion of weightlifting is the immense benefits it adds among athletes engaging in various sports. Common techniques applied in weightlifting are the snatch and clean & jerk. These enable individuals to lift as much weight as possible. When applied correctly, weightlifting yields immense benefits to the body and mind. This paper examines the reasons why individuals should include weightlifting in their personal training schedule by discussing its possible benefits to the body and mind.
Weightlifting helps individuals in increasing their lean body mass
During weightlifting, individuals experience a reduction in body fat in about as little as 5 weeks following the start of training. As the body fat decreases, muscles begin to build. This increases strength and power. The individual can grow larger from the resulting buildup of muscle. This is closely linked with burning of excess calories (“Lera Blog,” n.d). Exercise generally helps in burning of excess calories, which can be a major cause of heart problems. Maintaining a lean body mass is critical in preventing lifestyle diseases such as obesity, type II diabetes, heart problems such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, and others. It is worth noting that there has been a tremendous increase in lifestyle diseases since the turn of the new century. Engaging in weightlifting can help in reducing incidences of lifestyle diseases.
Weightlifting increases both bone density and strength
Various forms of speed-strength exercise can help in enhancing bone metabolism or new bone formation. Weightlifting is associated with high bone tensile strength. In addition, improvements involving the lean body mass have a close connection to improved bone density. Weightlifters have a higher bone mass compared to those who do not engage in weight lifting. A high bone mass is key in improving the health of an individual. This is because it helps in preventing certain bone diseases such as osteoporosis, which may result from low bone mass. Another benefit of weightlifting is in neuroendocrine adaptations. The neuroendocrine system concerns key bodily aspects as homeostasis, metabolism, reproduction, and energy utilization. According to Hedrick and Wada (2008), individuals engaged in weightlifting for over two years have a higher testosterone levels. The increase in testosterone levels compares with increased power-generating potentials.
Weightlifting provides biomechanical benefits to the body
Weightlifting helps in generation of high power by large muscle groups. It increases power in the trunk, legs, and hips region (Hedrick & Wada, 2008). Power relates to the volume of work generated per given time. Weightlifting has neuromuscular benefits to individuals. It particularly helps in enhancing neuromuscular adaptations. Weightlifting involves the use of multiple muscle groups as well as joints. Such body movements require the inter-sequential and intra-sequential muscle coordination. This increases such aspects as balance and neural efficiency. Balance is critical especially among athletes. As such, weightlifting has a positive impact on motor control. It also helps in improving the activation of motor units. Motor units are responsible for muscle contractions.
Weightlifting has positive effects on flexibility, kinesthetic awareness, and coordination
Flexibility occurs in joints because of frequent and coordinated movements (Domonell, 2014). Kinesthetic sense refers to developing the awareness of an individual’s own movement. This may include the awareness of movements such as walking, writing, chewing food, and others. Weightlifting encourages high oxygen consumption. Weightlifting is a high-intensity form of training. However, it involves short bursts of training. Oxygen consumption increases during training and after training. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Following a training session, the individual undergoes a recovery process. Weightlifting helps individuals adapt to the entire process involved in the oxygen debt process. As such, an individual can engage in vigorous activities such as running without suffering from physical burnouts.
People can engage in weightlifting as a way of reducing stress
Weightlifting has significant benefits in improving moods. According to MedlinePlus (2016), weightlifting lowers the rate at which the body releases stress hormones. This reduces the chances that an individual develops stress-related complications. High stress levels increase a person’s vulnerability to illnesses. Weightlifting is a form of exercise. Any form of exercise helps to increase the level of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are hormones that promote an analgesic feeling, resulting to happiness. Weightlifting is a form of meditation. It requires concentration from the person involved. This enables an individual to forget the bad memories or irritations experienced during the day.
During a physical workout session, individuals experience lower tension
This is because they concentrate on accomplishing a single task and direct their energy towards the task. This can help and individual to achieve calmness and peace. Weightlifting can improve confidence and one’s self-esteem levels (Domonell, 2014). Individuals who exercise often are able to maintain lean and healthier bodies. This helps in improving their self-esteem since they feel good about themselves. This can also help in lowering depression and anxiety levels. Exercise helps in improving sleep. Lack of sleep can be the result of stress or other underlying factors. When people engage in exercise, they are able to sleep better. This improves the sense of control over one’s body.
Some studies attribute weightlifting to the development of a stronger immune system, which helps in fighting off diseases. Improvement of the immune system occurs through a complex process. One of the various ways this can happen is by increasing the circulation rate of white blood cells throughout the body. The white blood cells help in early detection of diseases. Weightlifting promotes a long and healthy life especially in old age. Weightlifting slows down the natural process of muscle decline that is common in old age. Moreover, it increases the strength and power of muscles and joints. This ensures that individuals maintain active lives even in old age. Such people are not a burden to their families since they are strong enough to take care of themselves.
Weightlifting is a cost effective form of training. It is cost effective because of a number of reasons. First, weightlifting equipment costs less comparing to prices of single-movement machines. Equipment such as plates, platforms, and barbells can enable individuals to train a variety of muscle groups (Hedrick & Wada, 2008). This cost is lesser than when one purchases a number of single-movement machines. Weightlifting provides economy of time. Weightlifting engages almost all muscle groups of the body. It also includes various stabilizer muscles. As such, an individual can engage in a few of the weightlifting movements yet with similar results to training multiple joints using specific movements and weights. It is thus possible for a person who is time-constrained to opt for weightlifting as a thorough type of training. This gives almost similar results to a person who opts for multiple single joint group exercises.
There are different weightlifting movements that an individual can opt to perform. Weightlifting thus gives individuals the choice on the kind of movement that is suitable to them. It is important to include flexibility in order to cater for the needs of diverse people. Various types of weightlifting movements include snatch and clean & jerk. In addition to this, there are different variations in performing the two movements such as clean pull, snatch, and hang clean. The full benefits of weightlifting can best be realized on applying a variety of movements and variations of the same. Studies recommend that individuals spend more time on the snatch and clean. Trainers should give attention to pull movements while performing the snatch and clean. Pull movements help in developing power.
To conclude, weightlifting provides immense physiological benefits to individuals. Weightlifting helps in maintaining a lead body mass by increasing the breakdown of calories in the body. This is critical in keeping various lifestyle diseases at bay. Weightlifting promotes development of strong bones and increase in muscle and joint strength. This is key in ensuring that individuals remain independent even in old age. Weightlifting improves coordination, flexibility, and kinesthetic awareness. Another key benefit of weightlifting is that it helps in relieving stress and improving moods. Weightlifting movements affects different groups of muscles and bones, which means that an individual does not have to keep training every joint or group of muscle.
Domonell, K. (2014). The 8 biggest myths about Weightlifting – debunked. Retrieved from http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/weightlifting-myths-debunked/
Hedrick, A., & Wada, H. (2008). Weightlifting movements: do the risks outweigh the benefits? National Strength and Conditioning Association, 30(6). Retrieved from http://staff.argyle.esc11.net/cms/lib/TX21000387/Centricity/Domain/176/Weightlifting% 20Movements%20Highlighted%20Info.pdf
Lera Blog. (n.d). Pros and cons of weight training. Retrieved from http://lerablog.org/health/sport/pros-and-cons-of-weight-training/
MedlinePlus. (2016). Exercise and immunity. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm