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.
Table of Contents
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:
- Olympic Weight Lifting (Snatch, Power Clean, Jerk, Front Squat)
- Powerlifting (Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift)
- Powerbuilding (Over Head Press, Bent Over Row)
- 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.
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!
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.
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:
- Cardiovascular development
- Optimizing metabolic function
- 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.
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 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.
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 by Mark Rippetoe, or 5-3-1 by Jim Wendler.
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
- Benefits of Lifting Weights Both Men and Women Can Experience
- Five Newbie Weight Lifting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them
- 5 Ways Weight Lifting Can Make You Mindful
Featured photo credit: Victor Freitas via unsplash.com
|||^||Sports Medicine: Weight Loss, Performance and Psychological Related States in High-level Weightlifters|
|||^||American Journal of Physiology: Chronic resistance training in women potentiates growth hormone in vivo bioactivity: characterization of molecular mass variants|
|||^||Biology of Sport: ACUTE EFFECTS OF MOVEMENT VELOCITY ON BLOOD LACTATE AND GROWTH HORMONE RESPONSES AFTER ECCENTRIC BENCH PRESS EXERCISE IN RESISTANCE-TRAINED MEN|
|||^||T-nation: The Texas Method|
|||^||T-nation: 5/3/1: How to Build Pure Strength|