INTRODUCTIONLet’s start with a few definitions:
Resistance training: Exercises which involve moving against a resisting object, such as a weight, a
lever, a rubber cable, or a torsion bar.
Weight training: Exercises which use the weight of an object to provide resistance to movement.
Weight training isa form of resistance exercise.
Free weights: Barbells, dumbbells, iron shoes, and other objects.
Exercise machines: Machines designed to provide resistance to exercise movements. This resistance can be
achieved with built-in weights, bungee cords, torsion bars, hydraulic cylinders, etc.
Weightlifting: Weightlifting is a sport that involves lifting barbells or dumbbells.Olympic weightlifting: A sport that involves two lifts:
1. The snatch (moving a barbell from the floor to an overhead position in one smooth, rapid motion).
2. The clean and jerk (moving a barbell first from the floor to the level of the shoulders (the clean), then overhead
(the jerk), in two smooth, quick motions).
Powerlifting: A sport that involves three lifts:
1. The bench press (pushing a barbell vertically by extending the arms at the elbows while lying
on a bench).
2. The deadlift (lifting a barbell off the floor until the back is vertical).
3. The squat (stepping under a barbell that is held on a squat rack, lifting the barbell off the rack
onto the shoulders, squatting down until the thighs are parallel to the floor, then rising up until
the legs are locked).
Bodybuilding: Using weight training to develop muscular size and symmetry instead of athletic
ability. Bodybuilders use weight training to shape their bodies to fit current bodybuilding standards
for muscular development. In short, they train not for strength or health, but to achieve a certain
appearance. Although Ben Weider, the President of the International Federation of Bodybuilding,
has been working hard for many years to gain Olympic recognition for bodybuilding, the Olympic
Committee still does not recognize bodybuilding as a sport. Athletic weight training Using weight
training to develop the strength and endurance needed for such sports as swimming and football.
Coaches who assist such athletes are part of a professional organization called the National Strength
and Conditioning Association. Rehabilitative Persons who engage in this kind of training often
are recoverweight training ing from trauma injuries or are living with some condition or disability
such as a cardiac condition, diabetes, chronic arthritis or a respiratory ailment. Weight training in
such cases often focuses on certain areas of the body. The goal is usually rehabilitation and
development of overall fitness rather than appearance or strength. Like many forms of exercise,
weight training helps to develop both overall fitness and a well-muscled, defined and toned physique.
Much of that “hard body” look that we admire today in bodybuilders, both male and female,
comes from disciplined, regular weight training. Also, weight training is used to increase skills,strength and power not only in Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, but in football, wrestling,
hockey, and other sports where strength and power are necessary to play the game.
HISTORY OF WEIGHTLIFTING
Since earliest times, people have been fascinated by weightlifting. The Old Testament
tells the story of Samson and his extraordinary feats of strength. Greek legend supplies
the story of Milo, a strong man who became stronger through a unique progressive
resistance exercise. Starting with a young, small calf, Milo lifted the calf (a weight) for
a certain number of times (repetitions) each day. By the time the calf became a fullgrown
cow, legend has it that Milo was lifting that cow overhead in a movement very
much like our modern standing press!
England in the 1890s saw the first actual weightlifting contests to test the strength of the
competitors. Competition in America began at the 1920 Olympic Games, in which the
International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) supervised the competition for the first
time. Bob Hoffman (the late owner of the York Barbell Company) was the coach of the
U.S. Olympic team for several decades.
Today, the barbell is the standard (and
only) piece of equipment used in contemporaryweightlifting competitions. The
winner is the man or woman who can lift the heaviest amount of weight. Competitors
compete in one of nine categories, ranging from “flyweight” to “super heavyweight.”
Specific weight categories are defined precisely (132 lb. class, 181 lb. class, etc.).
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WEIGHTLIFTING
Many myths about weight training and weightlifting persist to the present day. Somebelieve (erroneously) that lifting weights is bad for the heart (it isn’t—in fact, many
physicians and exercise physiologists prescribe it for patients recovering from cardiac
Others believe (also erroneously) that it develops huge, out-of-proportion muscles, especially
in women. Equally wrong! If those mythmakers had any idea of just how difficultit is to build one pound of muscle, they’d forget their mythologizing and concentrateon their workouts. Another is the old myth of becoming “musclebound.” Full range-ofmotion
resistance exercises tend to make weight trainers more supple practitioners of
other forms of exercise and other sports.
Still another common misconception about weight training revolvesaround the terms “strength,” “power” and “endurance.” These terms
all have very specific meanings and are not interchangeable. Here are
a few definitions:
Strength Strength is measured in terms of how much weight can
be lifted, regardless of the amount of time required to
lift it. People who train for strength perform weight training
exercises with slow, deliberate
Power Power is measured in terms of how
much weight can be lifted within a
specified time period. To measure
power, divide the amount of work
done by the amount of time it takes to
do it. Persons training for power perform
weight training exercises with
explosively fast movements.
Endurance Endurance is measured in terms of how much weight
can be lifted repetitiously over an extended period oftime.
Stamina Stamina is measured in terms of how much weight can
be lifted in rapid repetitions over an extended period of
time.These four aspects of athletic ability—strength, power,endurance and stamina—are needed in different proportions,
depending on the particular sport. The primary
rule in any training routine is that training is specific.Powerlifters can’t be expected to run marathons without
having trained for them, any more than a marathoner
could be expected to benchpress 400 pounds without
having training for that kind of lift.
Athletes whose sports require great amounts of strength
benefit from slow-movement resistance training. If
power is required, training should be more rapid, and
movements explosive. If endurance is needed, resistance
should be less and repetitions greater in number. If
stamina is needed, training should include rapid movements
over an increasing period of time.
Many people go into weightlifting as a means to improving their shape and physicalcondition. It’s an excellent way to do both. Increasing the muscular endurance of all
major muscle groups in the body leads to a firmer, more defined shape in both women
and men. Weight training will NOT build big, out-of-proportion muscles unless you
work for that kind of physique.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS IN WEIGHTLIFTING
As with any type of physical activity, weightlifting is a relatively safe sport when practiced
correctly. But a few precautions are always in order. To be safe, observe the following
Always warm up thoroughly before you attempt any physical activity. A
warmup increases the body temperature to prepare it for more activity; it
also helps muscles to contract/relax and protects the joints and tendons
from damage when the weight training begins. A good warmup will last
anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on age, general physical conditionand the level of intensity of your workout.
Keep your knees bent and your back straight when you lift weights off the
floor or put them back down.
Remember to breathe regularly and naturally. Holding your breath during a
heavy lift can cause dizziness and even blackouts.
Check all equipment before using it. Make sure that bench
stands are stable and weights stacked on the floor. Be careful
to balance weights when adding to, or subtracting
weight from a bar. Keep weight stacks (on exercise machines)
with the pin firmly positioned at the right place
on the stack. Make sure that barbell or dumbbell collars
are securely fastened.Use a “spotter”—a friend or exercise partner to help you
with overhead or supine exercises such as the bench press.
NEVER do heavy bench presses alone!
Remember to keep control of the weight at all times. Make smooth, controlled
movements without jerking or wobbling. Use correct form at all
times. If the weight is too heavy to lift without a spotter, use less weight and
do more reps or sets until you can handle the heavier weight comfortablyand safely. If you are doing bench presses, don’t bounce the bar off your
Perform all exercises with a full range of motion unless you are specifically
trying to develop strength or power in a particular portion of a range of
WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES
FOR THE LEGS AND HIPS
The following exercises are part of any comprehensive lower body
routine. The weights and equipment can be either free weights
(hand-held weights, bars and dumbbells) or machines (such
as Nautilus or Universal machines). Remember to warmup before doing any of these exercises. Also remember
to breathe regularly. Never hold your breath during a workout!
This exercise works the muscles of the legs, hips and back.
Place your feet about hip width apart, with the whole foot resting on the floor. Step under
a squat rack and lift the barbell off onto your shoulders. Bend your knees and slowlyallow your body to move downward. Keep the back muscles tensed at all times—don’t
bow the back to the front! Continue in the squatting motion until the thighs are parallel
to the floor. Then, without bouncing, slowly come back to a standing position. In the
beginning, use a weight with which you can comfortably do 10 repetitions. Do only one
set of 10 repetitions as a beginner. Over-training can result in injuries.
This exercise works the muscles in the backs
of the thighs and calves.
This exercise is best done on a thigh curl machine.
Lie face down on the bench with the
heels under the roller pads. Press your knees
against the bench and bend the knees, bringing
the heels as close as possible to the buttocks. Straighten and repeat the movement. Do
this exercise slowly after a good warmup. Hamstrings (the collection of tendons and
muscles in the back of the leg at the knee) are easy to injure).
This exercise works the inner thigh muscles.
This exercise is also most easily done on a machine. Place the legs
into the moveable arms of a hip adduction machine so that the
thighs and ankles rest against the pads. In one fluid motion, bring
your legs together by pressing against the pads. Keep the lower
back pressed firmly against the back rest as you work. Return tostarting position and repeat the motion.
EXERCISES FOR THE UPPER BODY
These are only three of the major exercises in any good upper-body routine. As with the
lower-body workout above, be sure to warm up adequately and breathe regularly.
Bench Press (or Chest Press)
This exercise works the muscles of the chest
(called the pectorals), the back of the upper arms
(triceps) and front of the shoulders (anterior
deltoids). Stabilizing muscles in the shoulders
and torso (body) are also used during the lift.
Lie flat on a benchpress bench with the small
of the back pressed into the bench. Reach up
and grasp the barbell (with or without weights)
with a grip a little more than shoulder-width. Push up and lift the bar off the rack, then
lower it smoothly in one motion until it touches the chest. Then, without pausing or
bouncing, lift it upward again. Repeat this movement 6 to 8 times, exhaling as the bar is
raised and inhaling as it is lowered.Remember: always use a spotter for this exercise! Don’t try to do it alone! Also, make
sure that you warm up your shoulder muscles before doing this lift. While your arms and
chest muscles may be able to handle the weight, the shoulder muscles act mostly to
stabilize your arms in this lift. If you get off balance or it one of your spotters drops his
or her end of the bar, you could injure at least the arm, chest and shoulder muscles.
Use a wide grip to concentrate the load on the chest muscles (pectorals) and the front of
the shoulders (anterior deltoids). Use a narrow grip to concentrate on the pushing muscles
of the arms (triceps).
Alternating Dumbbell Curl
This exercise works the biceps, the muscles at the front of the upper arm.
Stand with your legs slightly apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with the arms close
to the sides and the back straight. The dumbbell bars should be pointing straight ahead.
Start with your right arm: bend (flex) it at the elbow and bring the dumbbell up in an arcto shoulder height in front of your chest.
As you bring the dumbbell up, rotate your wrist so that at the end of the lift, the dumbbell
bar is pointing to the side. Slowly bring the arm down. Maintain tension on the biceps
throughout the lift. Then do the other arm. Do 6 to 8 repetitions in strict form, with a full
range of motion.
This exercise works the muscles of the neck, the upper back (primarily the trapezius)
and the middle head of the shoulder muscles (lateral deltoids).Here’s how to do this exercise, step by step:
1. Bend your knees, reach down and grasp a bar or barbell with
both hands, palms facing you. Keep your back slightly arched
(hyperextended), straighten your legs and stand erect with
the bar resting across the groin area.
2. Slowly lift your shoulders as high as you can. Imagine that
you are going to touch your ears with your shoulder muscles.
3. Slowly lower the weight until it is back across the groin area.
Maintain tension on the upper back muscles (trapezius) throughout
the movement. Repeat this movement for a total of 8 to 10 repetitions.
If warmups are important, cooldowns are almost equally so. After the weight training
exercises are completed, you need gradually to bring the body back to its normal condition.
Stretching, riding a stationary bicycle or doing some additional light exercises are
excellent ways to cool down.
Remember: never sit or lie down immediately after a strenuous workout. All the bloodthat’s been directed to the muscles will find it difficult to get back to the heart if you sit
or lie down. Instead, remain standing or walk at a relaxed pace around the room for afew laps. Otherwise, you may find yourself growing light-headed or faint.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
Before the introduction of the modern health club,
championship bodybuilders and weightlifters did all
their workouts with ordinary barbells and dumbbells.
With the proper benches and racks, you can
do all the exercises needed to do a rough cut of
the kind of strong, powerful body you want.
The exercise machines found in modern health
clubs have evolved for several reasons. The Nautilus machines started with designs done
for rehabilitation work. The Smith Machine, a movable squat rack, was designed to
enable lifters to do squats without a spotter. All of the machines can be used for working
both muscle groups and individual muscles. Some work
on the principle of eccentric cams (Nautilus, Dynacam,
etc.), others by use of bungee cords (Soloflex) or flat
pieces of flexible material (Bowflex). Old-fashioned
weight machines have pegs that hold regular barbell
plates. One of the most innovative machines uses adjustable
hydraulic cylinders to provide resistance
The advantage of resistance exercise machines is that
you rarely need a spotter. The disadvantage is that since
the machines move in a predetermined path, that path
may not match your own individual ranges of motion. In short, if a machine is designed
with the average person in mind and you are either larger or smaller than the average
person, you may risk injury in the machine. Some machines are adjustable.
Experiment with light resistance until you find the adjustment
that matches your own personal “groove.”
The advantage of free weights is that you work not only
the main muscles involved in performing a particular
lift, you also work the collateral stabilizing muscles
involved in balancing the weight and allowing you to
make smooth transitions of body or limb positionsthroughout the lift’s range of motion.
The disadvantage of free weights is that you do need a spotter on some lifts, especially
bench presses and heavy squats.
Proper clothing and footwear are important in weight training because they make exercise
easier and more enjoyable. Wear loose-fitting clothing that stretches or “gives,”
such as a sweatsuit or exercise shorts. Stay away from excessively baggy styles that
might catch on bars or weights. Dressing in layers is a good idea so that you can discard
the top layers as you warm up. And make sure you wear proper athletic shoes with a firm
tread for lifts such as the squat or half squat.
WEIGHTLIFTING NOTES AND NEWS
Depending on where you live, news on
weightlifting competitions may be hard to find.
The newsstands are filled with bodybuilding
publications (Muscle and Fitness, Iron Man,
Muscular Development, Muscle Mag, Flex,
and dozens of others for men and women). But
bodybuilding and weightlifting are two different
things. Bodybuilding is about how your muscles look.
Weightlifting is about how much weight those muscles
You may find weightlifting competition results scarce evenin sports magazines. But don’t despair! Now is the time to
take advantage of a new source of information. If your
school has a computer department and the ability to connect
with the Internet, or if you have a computer and a
modem at home with an Internet link, you can find all the
news about weightlifting or any other sport you could ever
Weightlifting is also an Olympic sport. In 2000 the Olympics were held in Sydney,Australia. Medalists are found on the next page.
Gold medalists at the 2000 Olympics were:
56 kg weight class Halil Mutlu, Turkey
62 kg weight class Nikotay Pechaliv, Croatia
69 kg weight class Galabin Boevski, Bulgaria
77 kg weight class Xugang Zahn, China
85 kg weight class Pyrros Dimas, Greece
94 kg weight class Akakios Kakiasvilis, Greece
105 kg weight class Hossein Tavakoli, Iran
105+ kg weight class Hossein Rezazadeh, Iran
48 kg weight class Tara Nott, USA
53 kg weight class Xia Yang, China
58 kg weight class Soraya Mendivil, Mexico
63 kg weight class Xiaomin Chen, China
69 kg weight class Weining Lin, China
75 kg weight class Maria Isabel Urrutia, Columbia
75+ kg weight class Meiyuan Ding, China
In November, 2001, Jackie Berube, of Escanaba,
Michigan, competed in the world weightlifting
championship which was held in Turkey. Berube,
finished fifth overall and tied a U.S. record by
snatching 192.5 pounds while competing. Berube,
had to pay for her own trip because the natioanl
governing body for the sport, USA Weightlifting,
cut funding for the American team because of security
fears over military strikes in Afghanistan.
The 2004 Olympics will be held in Greece. You
might want to keep track of the plans at thiswebsite:
WHAT TO DO:
The following questions will help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding
of weightlifting and weight training. Write your answers in the spaces below the questions.
If there is not enough room, write on the backs of these sheets. Be neat, spell
correctly, and write in complete sentences.
1. What are some of the physical benefits to be gained from weightlifting?
2. Name at least two erroneous ideas about weightlifting that persist to the present
day, and explain why they are in error.3. Distinguish between the terms “strength,” “power,” and “endurance” as they are
used in weightlifting.4. What is the difference between weightlifting and bodybuilding?
5. Why is it important to warm up before doing weight training?
6. Why should you never do an exercise such as the bench press without a spotter?7. Describe how the exercise known as the “thigh curl” is done. What muscle group
does it work?
8. How is the bench press done? What muscle groups does this exercise work?9. How should you “cool down” after a weight training session?10. What kind of clothing is best for weight training?
Short Answer Questions:1. Measure of weight lifted within a specified time
2. A sport involving weights
3. Weight _______ is body-conditioning with weights
4. Do these to work trapezius and lateral deltoids
5. Hip _____ works inner thigh muscles
6. A type of weightlifting machine
7. The thigh ____ works the hamstrings
8. Measure of weight lifted rapidly through many reps
9. These weights include barbells and dumbbells
10. Measure of weight lifted regardless of time
11. Type of body conditioning by resistance exercises
12. Type of weightlifting sport
13. Training that involves moving against a resisting force
14. Ultimate weight lifting competition
15. Most famous US Olympic Team weightlifting coach
16. Therapeutic resistance training
17. Measure of weight lifted in reps over a period of time
18. This works the legs, hips and back
19. Do this press to work pectorals and triceps
20. Legendary Greek inventor of weight lifting