Secrets of Successful Weight-Lifting Workouts

6 weight-training techniques that will help you get results.

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

It seems so simple: Pick up and toss around the equivalent of a couple of soup cans a few times a week, and change your body, maybe your life. This very simplicity is at the heart of weight training, which is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise today.

The sport that was once confined to bulky bodybuilders is now being embraced by the average guy looking to drop a few pounds and beef up his physique, as well as the average gal looking to tone up and strengthen bones and muscles as she heads into middle age, experts say.

"Weight lifting not only helps you to look better, but it can play an enormous role in your quality of life as you age -- particularly for women -- since it definitely helps increase bone density, which diminishes with age," says Cedric Bryant, vice president of scientific affairs for the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

And unlike other forms of exercise that burn calories only while you're working out, weight lifting keeps on incinerating calories for hours after you stop, experts say.

"It increases your metabolic activity for the entire day -- not only when you are challenging your muscles, but also during the repair process that occurs when you stop working out," says Alex Schroeder, an exercise physiologist and trainer at Form and Fitness, a Milwaukee, Wis., gym and rehabilitation center.