In the first post about weightlifting I covered what it is and why, for me, it absolutely rocks. Having trained with my fair share of different athletes over the last few years I can confirm that those subjective reasons are generally shared by others. Here’s a summary of those good-for-your-soul reasons along with some more benefits there for the taking:
When learning a lift (and I don’t just mean beginners, weightlifting is one of those ‘never stop learning’ kind of things) you’ve got to focus 100% to make progress. This focus means you have to be completely in the moment and mindful. Upcoming deadline at work? This is a stress free zone baby, work stress can wait outside. On days when, for whatever reason, it’s not going your way you just drop the weight back a little. There’s always a lift, or a variation of a lift, that will work just right and feel great with focus and a certain amount of weight.
Challenge and Reward
It’s a massive challenge to apply each technical aspect which makes it hugely rewarding when it comes together. If you’ve ever done deadlifts, chin ups or another movement which you initially felt a little intimidated by but then soon enough found yourself performing for reps, that’s the feeling right there! Once you get into the swing of things, improvement is black and white as it’s all tracked by kilograms on the bar.
I don’t care what anyone says, weightlifting is not an individual sport, not in my world. Just like going to the gym alone is a completely different experience to an FFS class with other members, weightlifting gives that extra hit as everyone you’re with is equally trying to learn and progress the same lifts. Each athlete also wants everyone else to do their best - I like to call it an interdependent endorphin experience! Which brings us nicely onto...
Endorphins and Confidence
We all know exercise make us feel good. It’s why we get up early to get a session in, go to the gym after work or know that going for a run will clear our heads. The endorphin rush we experience is partly responsible for this and weightlifting is no different. Coupled with that buzz of learning something new alongside teammates, the endorphins result in increased confidence not only in the gym but in other aspects of life, be it work, home, personal projects or social life in general.
Strength and Mobility
Needless to say weightlifting makes you stronger. Fact. Whether it’s good or bad news for you I can promise that by doing weightlifting a couple of times a week you will not look like a bodybuilder nor will you bust out of your clothes any time soon. No matter how hard you try, neither will happen. What will happen is that you learn movements which require you to engage your whole body. This means that while you need a certain level of mobility to begin, your mobility will continually improve and in the long run keep you moving more efficiently and safely throughout your life.
More lean muscle and less body fat
As you’ve undoubtedly seen yourself from committing to bodyweight or resistance training at FFS alongside eating the foods you know your body needs and deserves, this type of training results in more lean muscle and less body fat. As complicated as the media like to make it, its that simple: suitable training + suitable nutrition = better body composition. The great news is that weightlifting can only bring you further down the path of improved body composition. Quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, lats, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, forearms and everything in between - they all play their part in each lift which means more lean muscle with each session.
Better bone density
Speaking of body composition, weightlifting isn’t just great on a mind and muscle level, it literally strengthens your bones. Plenty of research has shown that resistance training results in improved bone density in a range of athlete groups. Think of it this way - muscles are attached to bone by connective tissue, so as your muscle tissue gets stronger, your bones respond by becoming strong enough to support them. Great news for guys, even better for women as it helps to prevent osteoporosis later in life
Improved sport performance
If you play or do sport aside from your gym sessions then weightlifting will most likely improve your performance. While weightlifting is a competitive sport in its own right, it’s used by competitive athletes in most other sports to improve performance. Whether it’s getting stronger for tackles, building resistance to injury, becoming stronger on one leg when quickly and unpredictably changing direction, or generating more force with each stride when running, weightlifting can do wonders for sport performance.
My third blog post on weightlifting will cover the basics to get you ready for beginning weightlifting at FFS. If you've any questions about weightlifting you can find me at no. 47 Leeson Street or drop me a mail.
Til next time,
Aoife is a Coach and Head of Olympic Weightlifting at FFS. She is an international Olympic Weightlifter who also has years of experience in sprinting. She is currently studying for an MSc in Strength and Conditioning and believes that all you need to do is “find the right type of training with the right people you will never look back”. If you would like to learn more about Aoife, you can check out her profile here or follow her on social media here.