Weight Lifting (Resistance Exercise)

  • Author:
    Richard Weil, MEd, CDE

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

What about proper weight-lifting techniques?

I wrote a response to this question in the Ask the Experts section that you can find here: http://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 proposed in my response were (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.). If you're not feeling it in the belly of the muscle, then either adjust your position and movement until you do, or ask an experienced lifter or trainer to watch you lift so they can make corrections if necessary.

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:

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 72-98 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 7/28/2015

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