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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

Why Weight Lifting for Weight Loss Leads to Super Fast Results

Why Weight Lifting for Weight Loss Leads to Super Fast Results

Weight lifting for weight loss is no joke! You can weightlift a few times per week and yield massive results in regards to your weight loss journey, all while getting stronger, more toned, and feeling great!

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look into weight lifting and things that you probably never knew about it, as well as how you can get started with it.

What Is Weight Lifting?

Let’s first examine what weight lifting entails.

There’s one internationally known form of weight lifting, which relates to Olympic Weight Lifting—the super strong men and women you see competing in the international Olympic Games. There is actually some debate in the Powerlifting world as to whether or not the sport should be considered for the Olympic Games as its neighbor sport, Weight Lifting, already does.

I’m a Powerlifter, meaning I compete (occasionally) in the sport of Powerlifting, which entails another form of lifting weight (“weight lifting”) in the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift movements, respectively.

A Powerlifter can compete at his/her weight class and age division, and qualify (depending on the competition) to compete in large federations. I would argue that these large federations are akin to the Olympic Games in many ways, from regulatory requirements, drug testing, and more. Here are the top forms of weight lifting that we will touch on in this article:

  1. Olympic Weight Lifting (Snatch, Power Clean, Jerk, Front Squat)
  2. Powerlifting (Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift)
  3. Powerbuilding (Over Head Press, Bent Over Row)
  4. CrossFit (Snatch, Power Clean, Front Squat, Over Head Press, Jerk)

You may notice bodybuilding is not mentioned here, however I did include a term known as “Powerbuilding”; it’s quite simple really.

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Powerbuilding is basic, heavy compound movements for building physical and central nervous system (CNS) strength, whereas bodybuilding focuses on smaller/individual muscular growth/hypertrophy.

CrossFit has been included as it adopts movements from other weight lifting sports.

Lifting for Weight Loss

While performing the aforementioned weight lifting movements, you can work large groups of muscles and get your heart rate up with minimal time[1]!

Beyond that simple fact, you will also get an amazing cardio vascular workout while performing the higher repetition Olympic Weight Lifting and CrossFit movements, and while performing the lower repetition Powerlifting and Powerbuilding movements.

Weight lifting comes down to simple math. It’s based on the amount of weight you’re lifting, multiplied by the number of reps, multiplied by the number of sets. This simple formula gives you a daily volume, and when compounded over a week, a weekly volume.

Here’s an example:

Squats: 5 sets of 5 (25 total reps) x 150 lbs = 3,750 lbs in total volume.

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Your total volume is reflective of your workload for the day or week, and to some degree it dictates how much muscular growth you’ll have and how much weight loss you’ll achieve.

In order to lose weight performing weight lifting movements, you will need to achieve a minimum daily or weekly volume total. You can set a weekly volume target of 10,000 lbs for example, and all the weight lifting you perform during the week should total 10,000 lbs lifted.

Now, when you lift 10,000 lbs for the week, you’re almost guaranteed to build muscle or lose weight, unless you’re eating an excessive amount of food (which would be quite counter-productive).

Why Does Lifting Weights Lead to Weight Loss?

When you work your body consistently, such as reaching 10,000 lbs weekly weight lifting volume, your body’s metabolism will begin to speed-up to keep up with its need to burn fat as energy. Your body will also become very efficient at utilizing its resources for recovery, meaning you’ll lose fat even more.

Since you’re now calculating daily and weekly volume, you can also consider your daily and weekly caloric intake. I suggest downloading an app such as MyFitnessPal and entering your weight loss goals to determine your daily caloric goals.

How Weight Lifting Works

Weight lifting, in general, will yield 3 benefits:

  1. Cardiovascular development
  2. Optimizing metabolic function
  3. Improving Human Growth Hormone (HGH) development

All of these will result in weight loss from weight lifting. However, I would like to specifically focus on the HGH side.

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How Weight Lifting Improves HGH Development

Men and women experience this development and growth of HGH. In the case of women, consider the Biologically Active Growth Hormone. Let’s examine two studies of men and women with regards to weight lifting.

A 2006 study[2] looked at different forms of the growth hormone during varying weight training regimens. The research found that the role of growth hormone in women’s muscle development may be more complicated than previously thought.

They found that the growth hormone was responsive to moderate and heavy exercise regimens with 3-12 repetitions with varying weight loading. Women need to have a heavy loading cycle or work out in their resistance training routines, as it helps to build muscle and bone.

In a separate study, Brazilian scientists studied if and how much eccentric weight lifting affected growth hormone (GH) levels. The researchers took measurements of lactic acid and GH in all 16 of the lifters before the workout, and then continued to monitor the levels of those chemicals for 30 minutes post-workout.

Both lactate and GH levels were higher in the men who took three seconds to lower the weight, but 15 minutes after the workout, the GH of the eccentric lifters was an incredible, hand-clapping, 17 times higher than that of the quick lifters[3].

How to Start Weight Lifting

To start tracking weight lifting, you can download an app such as Strong Lifts to help track your weight lifting workouts.

Alternatively, you can download preset program templates, such as The Texas Method[4] by Mark Rippetoe, or 5-3-1[5] by Jim Wendler.

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Stay consistent and keep yourself honest. This means that you should try not to miss workouts. If you’re just getting started, begin lifting weights two times a week. You can then move to three or four days a week once you feel ready.

You shouldn’t lift everyday as it will put unnecessary strain on your muscles. Change up the workout for a cardio workout or HIIT every other day when possible as this burns more calories instead of sticking to one regimen. This will help you see even more benefits from weight lifting for fat loss.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re considering high repetition weight lifting such as CrossFit, or you’re leaning more towards lower repetition training styles, such as Olympic Weight Lifting or Powerlifting, as long as you stay consistent and honest, you’ll see results!

Stay on top of the numbers (daily, weekly volume, and calories), track your progress, and watch the extra fat fall off your body while you get super strong!

More on Weight Lifting for Weight Loss

Featured photo credit: Victor Freitas via unsplash.com

Reference

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Adam Evans

BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in many fields including health and fitness, science, philosophy, metaphysics, religion.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts. While they are great for both, static stretches can offer a boost to any workout routine for people of all fitness levels.

Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain: stretching can help you. Static stretches come with myriads of benefits, such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness, which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll zero in on several great static stretches and take a look at the benefits and when they should be done.

Benefits of Static Stretches

Static stretches come with tons of benefits that can help you make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

Improved Flexibility

If you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. Luckily enough, static stretches are all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1]

Although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretches have been shown to greatly increase muscle and joint flexibility[2] and tissue length[3], which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

Prevent Injuries

If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and again that performing the right stretches pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

Think of it this way:

When you stretch, you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time, and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

Increased Blood Flow to the Joints

Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation, and removal of metabolites.

For static stretching, though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

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However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5]

Improvement in Recovery

If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling sore muscles for days.

Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibers back to their tip-top condition.

Research has shown that practicing static stretches after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released, and this encourages reduced inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

  • Improved relaxation
  • Increased movement efficiency
  • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
  • Reduction in muscle tension
  • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
  • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
  • Relief from cramping

15 Static Stretches to Enhance Your Workouts

Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

1. Neck Stretch

    While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head, and place the other arm out to your side. Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing, and repeat for the opposite side.

    Many people tend to hold stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. If you find this is the case, this is one of the best static stretches to use for a muscle release in this area.

    2. Chest Stretch

      Stand upright, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks. While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

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      3. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

      Shoulder Cross-Arm Stretch « CASS FITNESS

        Stand upright or sit up tall on a chair or mat, and extend one arm out in front to shoulder height. Grab the extended arm with your other arm, and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight. Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

        4. Triceps Static Stretch

          Lift your arms overhead, with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow. Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

          Many know this stretch from gym class, but it really is one of the best static stretches for the arms.

          5. Biceps Stretch

          Arm Exercises | Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch

            Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you. While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders, and chest. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

            6. Wrist Stretch

            11 Best Tennis Elbow Exercises For Pain Free Mobility [PDF]

              While standing up straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Grab your right fingers with your left hand, and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite arm.

              7. Side Stretch

                Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side. Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite side.

                The muscles down your side body are notoriously difficult to stretch out. This is one of the best static stretches to try on a consistent basis to get them loosened up.

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                8. Abdominal Static Stretch

                  Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up. While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push your upper body up from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                  9. Reclined Spinal Twist

                  Supta Matsyendrasana - Supine Spinal Twist - Yogaasan
                    Lie down, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor. While keeping the right leg straight, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side, and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.

                    Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground, and you should feel the stretch around your back. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                    10. Knees to Chest

                    Knee-to-chest exercise from Physical Therapists' Advice to Manage Pain at Home - The Active Times

                      Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent. Hold your shins, and pull your knees toward your chest. This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. If you’re looking to loosen up your back muscles, this is one of the static stretches you can do daily.

                      11. Hip Flexor Static Stretch

                      How to Do the Standing Lunge Stretch

                        Stand upright in a standard lunge position, and place your two hands on your hips. Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                        12. Figure 4 Stretch

                        How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch | Openfit

                          Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent. Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.

                          13. Standing Quad Stretch

                            Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture. With your left hand, grab a pole, wall, or anything durable for balance. With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.

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                            Keep your knees close together while doing this, push your hip forward, and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other side. This is one of the best static stretches for the quads.

                            14. Hamstring Stretch

                              Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent. Reach forward with your right hand, and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.

                              Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the left leg. If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead, but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                              15. Calf Stretch

                                Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you. Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.

                                Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg, if you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                Bonus: Stretch With a Resistance Band

                                Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights and create tension throughout your movement. Get the free 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge, and challenge yourself to stretch with a resistance band.

                                When Should You Do Static Stretches?

                                Static stretching is great when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up routines before an explosive workout session.

                                This is because static stretches have a cool-down effect on each muscle group and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                That doesn’t mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out, but do it sparingly. Dynamic stretches, which involve more movement, are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body prepare better for the work ahead.

                                The Bottom Line

                                Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running. You need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training, and that’s the whole point of static stretches.

                                Starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine, and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                More Tips on Stretching

                                Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

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