Increase strength with weightlifting

Weightlifting is an exercise that is ideal for everyone. The most effective way to increase strength is by lifting weights. Some people ask: why lift weights? But the results speak for themselves.

By using the most important lifts, combining power lifts with other compound and isolation exercises, the right diet and cardio, everyone can benefit from weightlifting.

The three classic power lifts

For all over body strengthening no exercise can compare to the classic three powerlifting exercises: squatdeadlift and bench press.

Together, these three compound exercises work the entire body and all muscle groups.

Because of their importance and the fact they make excellent tests of pure strength, these three lifts make up the lifts performed in competitive powerlifting competitions.

weightlifting squat

The importance of free weights

If you only focus on a few exercises while weightlifting, make it the three powerlifts. Together, they work all your muscles effectively.

Another point to remember is that, although the machines at the gym are fine for general use, nothing can beat the use of free weights for building strength and core stability.

This means, use barbells and dumbbells in your weightlifting routines rather than machines, and a free bench rather than one which is part of a multi-gym.

The reason that free weights are best is that many more muscles have to work to stabilise the lift. In contrast, when you use weightlifting machines, the range of motion throughout the exercise is limited and not as natural.

In short, you will not get as strong as quickly by using only machines for weightlifting.

dumbbells for weightlifting

Compound exercises

If you want to target a particular muscle set, the weightlifting exercise you focus on will depend on where you want to build muscle.

The power three (squat, deadlift and bench press) are the ‘big 3’ compound exercises, which means that they work many different muscles at once.

However, each of the powerlifts has different benefits, depending on your goals. If you are looking to develop your legs, choose the squat; to develop your back and core torso, the deadlift; to develop your chest, the bench press.

But to get the most effective overall body strength training workout, you should combine all three of these weightlifting moves with a selection of other compound lifts and isolation exercises.

Other important compound lifts for your weightlifting routine are: dipschin ups, pull ups and the shoulder press.

Isolation Lifts

Non-compound lifts are isolation exercises that exercise a specific muscle group. There are many different kinds of isolation lifts.

Some important ones include bicep curlstricep extensions, hamstring curls and leg extensions. These lifts are non-compound exercises, meaning they are highly muscle-specific.

These isolation exercises are good for developing balance in the muscles and fine tuning your development. However, compound exercises are better for building general muscle mass and strength.

Compound lifts get the fastest overall results for a general strengthening routine. This is because they exercise more than one muscle at at a time.

Share your thoughts about weightlifting

Explore more about weightlifting by reading our specific exercise pages for each lift. You might also like to read about bodyweight exercise for times when you want to do resistance training but have no free weights or gym equipment.

Have you recently started weightlifting? Tell us about your experiences so far.

Experienced lifters, do you have any tips for newcomers to the weights room?

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