Weight Lifting

Build a home gym

While most individuals would like to lose weight, build muscle or exercise in some form to achieve a healthier lifestyle, the prospect of joining an overpriced facility - with complex machines and swarms of members - doesn't scream ideal or accessible. As a result, people may be discouraged to exercise at all.

Luckily, there are alternatives that allow you to improve your health without ever owning a gym membership, including the ability to create a weight lifting program at home.

The following pieces of weight lifting equipment are essential to any in-home gym:

Flat bench and barbell

Whether using them separately or combined, a flat bench and barbell will allow you to perform strengthening exercises such as the bench press, t-bar rows, shoulder press and dead-lifts, all of which are essential in any muscle-building programs.

Padded seat

A padded seat provides comfort and back support during a workout, helping to decrease the risk of injury - a common problem for beginners. Furthermore, a padded seat adds variety, allowing for exercises like the bicep curl to be performed sitting down. This can increase the difficulty level and give more opportunity for muscle growth.

Weights

This refers to both dumbbells (free weights) and weights that are added to the ends of a barbell (plates). Free weights not only increase flexibility and improve range of motion, but also allow for the growth of other supporting muscle groups that are not used for in barbell exercises. They also add variety, which again, supports muscle-building once the body has grown accustomed to a program.

Plates are necessary to increase the weight and difficulty of any barbell exercise. Beginning lifters should start with a light weight that can be handled for 8 to 12 repetitions, regardless of the exercise. This allows the correct technique to be established, which reduces the risk of injury. Gradual increases in weight can be made in accordance with the individual's program and strength gains.

Home Gym Area

Once the correct equipment is available to use, the focus should shift to the actual workout area. If possible, the area should be stationed near a mirror. This not only allows you to monitor your progress, but also provides motivation once positive results are noticeable. Other tools to help improve a workout can also be added, such as motivational posters and music. Most importantly, make sure the area is safe - weights that are not in use should be kept in the appropriate place to prevent injury to anyone using the facility.

How a Home Gym Can Work for You

Now that the equipment and workout area have been discussed, the benefits of weightlifting can be examined.

The following are physical benefits to weightlifting:

  • Increase in muscle strength and size of muscle fibers (type-II).
  • Increase in fat-free mass.
  • Improved bone health, including an increase in bone density and bone strength.
  • Increase in size and strength of ligaments and tendons.

Weightlifting not only provides physical benefits, but emotional and psychological ones, as well:

  • Increase in one's self-esteem and confidence
  • Improved outlook on surrounding environment.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Maintain a positive mind state.
  • Remain focused on accomplishing goals.

While weightlifting provides several benefits and improves one's overall health, it is not the only factor in building muscle. Small portions of foods such as tuna fish, poultry, vegetables and eggs should be consumed between four and five times per day, which helps to speed up metabolism and burn fat.

For beginners, a healthy diet is considered more beneficial than any supplement. However, for individuals interested in weight lifting as a competitive hobby, "weight lifting supplements," or supplements that aid in muscle building, are available at various health stores.

Another factor in muscle growth is the amount of sleep an individual receives. Between 6 and 8 hours is considered optimal for giving muscles time to repair and strengthen.

If proper nutrition and rest are combined with a weightlifting program of three to four days per week, muscle growth will occur and you will see the same results in a home gym as you would in a fitness facility.

By Niko Krommydas