Weight training is a common type of strength
training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It uses
the force of gravity (in the form of weighted bars, dumbbells or weight
stacks) 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.
Weight training differs from bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting and
strongman, which are sports rather than forms of exercise. Weight training,
however, is often part of the athlete's training regimen.
Strength training is an inclusive term for
all types of exercise devoted toward increasing muscular strength and size
(as opposed to muscular endurance, associated with aerobic exercise, or
flexibility, associated with stretching exercise like yoga or pilates,
though endurance and flexibility can improve as a byproduct of training).
Weight training is one type of strength training and the most common, seen
by all but specialists as synonymous with strength training. The difference
between weight training and other types of strength training is how the
opposition to muscular contraction is generated. Resistance training uses
elastic or hydraulic forces to oppose muscular contraction, and isometric
exercise uses structural or intramuscular forces (e.g. doorways or the
body's own muscles).
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,
size or shape. The specific combinations of reps, sets, exercises and weight
depends upon the aims of the individual performing the exercise; sets with
fewer reps can be performed with heavier weights.
In addition to the basic principles of strength training, a further
consideration added by weight training is the equipment used. Types of
equipment include barbells, dumbbells, pulleys and stacks in the form of
weight machines or 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 requires significantly more force than moving 10
kilograms on a weight stack due to the use of pulleys.
Weight training also requires the use of '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 - since the desired muscle group is not
challenged sufficiently, the threshold of overload is never reached and the
muscle does not gain in strength.
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