Strength Training Exercises are a critical factor if you want to boost your muscle mass. Having muscles is something you will achieve by adding weight exercises to your training.
Feeling strong and healthy is, without a doubt, the best gift you can give your body.
To begin with, you will be more handsome, but you will also gain security and confidence.
Besides, a strong and functional muscle will give you more health and energy and lengthen your youth. With a healthy body, you will face every day’s challenges, and you will overcome them without problems.
You probably already knew all this, and you have finished this article because you have been following a muscle hypertrophy program for a long time.
But you can’t see the results.
The sad reality is that most of today’s hypertrophy programs are not sufficient.
Many are based on false myths and have been more influenced by bodybuilding “gurus” and the fitness market than science.
Note that you probably think that to gain muscle, you must kill yourself by carrying the weight and repeating the same exercises over and over again while you puff up to eat chicken rice.
Forget all this, with this method, you will only get bored and injured, plus you will not be able to achieve your goals.
What should you do then?
This article will discover how to perform effective strength training by exercising with extra weight or load.
You will learn:
- How to use weights as a tool to stimulate muscle growth and strength, respecting your physiology and minimizing the risk of injury.
- What the best exercises with weight for you to practice wherever you want are.
- How to choose the appropriate weights, exercises, and tools not to harm yourself.
- You can adapt the training to your day to day without always depending on the gym’s accessories, and above all,
- You will train effectively without getting bored.
What is the use of using the extra weight?
The best load element is your weight, not only because it allows you to have better coordination at the joint and muscular level. This is because conditioning muscle strength is essential as a first step before looking for hypertrophy (more information in our article on gaining muscle mass).
However, training with external loads has its benefits:
If you always do self-loading exercises, there will come a time when your body will get used to your weight.
In these cases, to stimulate hypertrophy, you would need a higher rep volume.
Adding weight allows you to give the muscle the growth stimulus you are looking for without stretching as much in training. In turn, prepare the fabric to mobilize this type of load if you need to do it in your day today.
To achieve this, I recommend having at least two extra loads (such as kettlebells, dumbbells, or chin-up weight) to tell the difference between exercising with different weights.
Reach failure more easily
The determining factor for muscle gain is reaching failure during any exercise. The unmistakable signal to the muscle that the environment’s demands are too great, and it must grow.
One of the benefits of working with extra loads is the possibility of reaching failure much faster. This is especially relevant in those muscles that require a lot of effort to tire them, such as those in the legs.
To reach failure, with exercises like deep squats, many repetitions are required since they are huge and strong muscles.
If you want to work better on your leg muscle gain, it is a good idea to add extra load as in this image.
Weight training arm exercises are super effective for something that is sometimes overlooked in most other exercises: grip.
Therefore, working with weights in your hands will help you have more strength, and that on days when you have to carry furniture up the stairs, the strength of your fingers does not fail. Remember, functional training should prepare you for daily life, and this is when you notice the absence of exercise with external weights.
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Left and Right Side Force Balance and Compensation
When doing push-ups, you feel that one arm is more tired than the other, and it is difficult for you to maintain the correct technique. This is normal because right-handers tend to be more active with their right limbs, and left-handers tend to be more active on the left side.
However, our ancestors could not afford to have a weaker arm when they had to climb a tree to escape a predator.
Upper body strength doesn’t just depend on your arms. Suppose you have read our article on exercises for pectorals. In that case, you already know that the upper body’s strength is given by several muscle groups’ joint work, the abdominal muscles, the pectorals, and that of the arms, working as a set.
Often, the body does not have the same strength on both sides of the abdomen or the pectorals, so the extra loads can compensate for our core’s strength, giving greater stability and balance, especially in the performed movements above the head.
Increased progressive power
When someone starts training after a long time without activity, they may not be able to reach ten repetitions of a classic push-up with the right technique.
However, after some training or other, you will do them without problems.
Then twenty, thirty, forty, and fifty reps. During this period, your muscles become stronger, but it takes less effort for the body to perform each repetition. Therefore, the efficiency of this exercise to gain strength and muscle decreases.
At this point, you can choose to switch to another push-up with greater difficulty (you can see our article on push-ups to see the different variants of push-ups) or to start with chin-ups (you can see our guide to perfect pull-ups). However, after a while, the same will happen to you with pull-ups.
Do you know what the example of Milo of Croton is?
It can be useful to have better results:
The story of Milo of Croton begins with him training with a small calf on his shoulders. As Milo got stronger, the calf grew and gained weight, so even though Milo had gained muscle and strength, his extra load continued to pose a challenge for him.
In the end, among so many legends that are told about him, he was indeed the absolute winner of the fight six times in the Olympic games.
In short, performing strength training exercises with weight allows us a progressive and controlled increase in difficulty that, without the extra weight, we may not be able to achieve at a certain point.
This progressive strength and hypertrophy training is also the one we use in our course to gain muscle mass and to which you can sign up with this button.
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Risks when exercising with weights
The two main risks of weight training are increased risk of injury and increased likelihood of accidents.
Most common injuries
By adding extra load to the exercises, there is a greater risk of injury.
The load is not part of your body and requires greater motor coordination to maneuver the weights and move them from side to side with each repetition.
If we add to this a greater weight than we can bear to perform the correct technique, it can produce contractures or muscle overload.
For this reason, it is essential to know what your level of physical strength is, how much load you can support, and what weights you will use.
The muscle and all the locomotor system tissues must adapt to the increased tension that they will receive with this training. Start with self-loading exercises (with your weight) and gradually add weight.
Also, consider aspects such as the type of weight you will use. For example, the ease of grip that a kettlebell or kettlebell offers is different from what you’ll find on different types of dumbbells or a barbell.
A higher probability of an accident
If all this information has not convinced you that you have to choose adequate weights and grips that facilitate the extra load’s maneuverability in your exercises with weights, this point will indeed.
If you are not careful when executing an exercise technique or do not understand that the load is very high for the current physical strength you have, I assure you that you will have unpleasant episodes.
Imagine that you do an exercise like Swing. If the centrifugal force is greater than the power of your hands, the weight could fly off, or you could lose your balance with the same weight and fall. In the worst case, when it fails, it could even impact the weight against yourself and hurt you, especially if it falls on susceptible areas.
Not sure that you can train with weight without injury or accident? I recommend that you try out a mild weight program, which is designed to gain muscle and strength but always minimizing the risk of injuries and accidents.
Warm-up protocol to increase joint mobility.
A comprehensive description of how to do each exercise.
- Strength training exercises that minimize the risk of injury.
- Gain muscle and lose fat
- Recommendations for exercising with weights
Now that you know the risks, we do not want to leave you with fear and eliminate your life’s weights forever. Here are some recommendations that will help you avoid injuries and optimize your training and achieve the best results.
Be realistic and choose a suitable weight.
The best thing you can do is choose a weight with which you can do 12 or 13 repetitions without representing a superhuman effort but a challenge to finish the series.
Checking what level you are at and choosing the exercises may not be an easy task, but once you identify what physical level you are at, you can understand why there are no strength training exercises with weights that you should not or can do yet.
We suggest that you start with light weights and compensate with a higher number of repetitions.
Over time you will have much more security with your technique and tolerance, so you will gradually increase the load as it happened in the story I told you about Milo of Crotona.
Avoid spending money on accessories.
Do you remember that before we talked about grip?
The grip you need for life is not always that of a dumbbell or a kettlebell.
Indeed, these two are designed to make training easier, but in real life, the things you carry, like the grocery bag or a suitcase, do not have the grip of a kettlebell.
So, if you don’t want an accessory, you can use a weighted backpack (with books, stones, etc.) or, if you train outside the home, you can take a rock or something similar with a suitable weight and balance between its sides.
If this is not enough for you, you can try a full laundry basket and water bottles. And start doing repetitions. There are no excuses!
If you want to use specialized training weights
In this case, you can opt for a kettlebell, which is an accessory that gives you significant variability of uses and movement. It also has an essential ergonomic factor to avoid injuries.
My recommendation is to invest in a kettlebell like this or a pair of dumbbells that will serve you for several months, which will not damage the floor’s surface.
Stay consistent in your weight training.
One of the keys to seeing results with weight training is staying consistent.
In my experience analyzing half a million users of our APP, the key to generating the habit and constancy is the session’s pleasantness.
Maintain proper technique
Maintaining proper technique is the key! I will not tire of repeating this until the idea is captured in your brain, and you never forget it.
In itself, for any training you follow, the technique is essential to avoid injuries and for the muscles to work as they should. It is more important to do 10 repetitions well done than 100 bad ones.
However, this takes on even greater relevance when it comes to strength training exercises with weights because it puts a greater strain on your joints. To avoid risks, you should do the following when exercising with weights:
Perform the first repetition without weight to verify that your body’s position is adequate for the exercise. We often focus only on the strength we have for some exercise with weights and forget that flexibility comes into play. I have seen many people squat with a potentially damaging back position, but not due to their lack of strength in the legs but in the hips’ lack of flexibility.
Measure your feelings. When lifting weights, use the full range of motion of your joints and muscles, and analyze how you feel. If you find that with your current strength, it is difficult to maintain your technique, change your strength training exercises, or reduce the weight or number of repetitions.
If you are not sure if you are doing an exercise correctly, watch the videos again, or record yourself with your mobile and compare the video of the correct technique with yours to know what changes you should make.
The importance of breathing in training
When you do strength training exercises with weights, you can find two cases, and it depends on the case, you will have to use your breath in one way or another.
First, when you weigh them, your technique and strength allow you to perform sets of between 10 and 12 repetitions.
If this is the case, the best way to breathe to optimize your performance and blood circulation is at the moment of effort, for example, when lifting a weight, exhale; and at the time of least effort, for example, when lowering a weight, inhale. This must be done on each rep.
However, it is essential to mention that if you do not do exercises with functional weights and use a weight that requires significant power to lift it (known as maximum lifts). It is best to use the Valsalva maneuver to hold your breath to increase intra-abdominal pressure and stabilize the lumbar region.
If you want more information about the proper way to breathe during training, you have it very detailed in this article.
Find balance in your weight training.
When many people start with weight training, they prioritize muscle groups that involve the arms and pectorals and neglect the legs.
This will create an aesthetic imbalance, clearly, but also by increasing the strength and weight of your muscles. If you have not worked your legs properly, you increase the weight they have to bear during the day without them having become strong from training. In the long run, it can cause you to suffer from knee and ankle joint problems.
On the other hand, the balance is not only in the upper and lower body.
Some people are looking to have incredible biceps, and in the end, they have a very well-shaped front of the arms and a poorly defined rear.
If you do functional training, this will never happen to you since it works for the muscle groups together and not in isolation.
Not everything is exercising with a weight.
If your goal is hypertrophy, surely the exercises with weights can be great allies, but if you want to have a body that is not only strong but also functional, fast, flexible, and explosive, and that does not tire in the first sprint, consider adding other types of training sessions.
For example, you can do 2 or 3 strength sessions and include 2 HIIT training sessions to compensate for your weekly workouts.
If you want to know what HIIT training is about, I recommend you read these articles:
Get proper rest
Rest is part of the training. The body is not a production machine that must work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You may think that you are recovered from training because you have recovered your breath and you feel energized, but it takes longer for the body to rebuild on a chemical level.
To develop muscle, it is essential to sleep well and rest the worked muscles. Giving your body adequate rest between each exercise routine is just as important as training.
One of the best advice I can give you is that you review this article on how to sleep better, you will notice the difference in your energy, strength in training, and muscle growth in less than a week.
Don’t skip the warm-up.
Having cold muscles lowers your performance. This happens because the unheated muscle has a hard time starting all the way and is even more likely to be injured than heated muscles.
Before working out with weights, work the same muscle groups in lower intensity exercises so that you start your workout with your muscles warm and ready to go all out.
Now you know everything about how to exercise with weights!
Below you will find the list of the top 10 strength training exercises with weights to create your plan.
Top 10 strength training exercises
1. One-hand Dumbbell Swing
2. Dumbbell Deadlift
3. Both Arms Row
4. Renegade Row
5. Dumbbell Windmill
6. Dumbbell power clean
7. Goblet squat
8. Clean and Press
9. Bench press
The training with load allows us to obtain stimuli of muscular hypertrophy with much fewer repetitions.
In turn, it allows a controlled and progressive stimulation and prevents us from stagnating in improvement.
It must be taken into account that the risk of injury increases, and we must pay the utmost attention to the technique.
Finally, to achieve a muscular body but strong and capable, we must simulate efforts that simulate human movements so that we will reject analytical and/or artificial exercises.