Weight Lifting (cont.)

Medical Editor:

What about proper weight-lifting techniques?

I wrote a response to this question in the Ask the Experts section that you can find here: www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=77873. I mentioned in my response that there is no research to show the proper form for any resistance exercise. People are built and move differently, and so you need to listen to your body when you perform resistance exercises and make sure that you feel it in the muscles that you want to work. The basics rules I propose in my response are (1) take your time and lift mindfully, (2) feel it in the belly of the muscle you're trying to work, and not in the joints, and (3) select weights that your body can handle without having to cheat or force the weight up (leaning way back, using momentum, etc.).

What are the benefits of weight lifting? Is it ever too late to start?

New benefits of resistance exercise seem to be discovered all the time. Research to date shows that resistance exercise is associated with improvements in all of the following:

  • muscular strength and endurance
  • functional capacity and ability (falling, climbing stairs)
  • blood pressure
  • osteoporosis
  • sarcopenia (loss of muscle as we age)
  • low back pain
  • insulin resistance and glucose metabolism
  • resting metabolic rate
  • body fat
  • psychological well-being

Is it ever too late?

It's never too late to start a resistance-exercise program. In a classic study in a Boston nursing home, 100 residents ranging from 72 to 98 years of age performed resistance exercise three times a week for 10 weeks. Muscle strength increased 113%, walking speed increased by almost 12%, and thigh-muscle area increased 2.7%!

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/17/2014