Weight training is a common type of strength training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It utilizes the force of gravity in the form of weighted bars, dumbbells or weight stacks in order to oppose the force generated by muscle through concentric or eccentric contraction. Weight training uses a variety of specialized to target specific muscle groups and types of movement. Sports where strength training is central are bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman, highland games, shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. Many other sports use strength training as part of their training regimen, notably: American football, baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, rowing, rugby league, rugby union, track and field, and wrestling. Strength training for other sports and physical activities is popular.
Strength training is an inclusive term that describes all exercises devoted toward increasing physical strength. Weight training is a type of strength training that uses weights, Eccentric Training or muscular resistance to increase strength. Endurance training is associated with aerobic exercise while flexibility training is associated with stretching exercise like yoga or pilates. Weight training is often used as a synonym for strength training, but is actually a specific type within the more inclusive category. Contrary to popular belief, weight training can be beneficial for both men and women.
The genealogy of lifting can be traced back to the beginning of history where humanity’s fascination with physical abilities can be found among numerous ancient writings. In many prehistoric tribes, they would have a big rock they would try to lift, and the first one to lift it would inscribe their name into the stone. Such rocks have been found in Greek and Scottish castles. Progressive resistance training dates back at least to Ancient Greece, when legend has it that wrestler Milo of Croton trained by carrying a newborn calf on his back every day until it was fully grown. Another Greek, the physician Galen, described strength training exercises using the halteres (an early form of dumbbell) in the 2nd century. Ancient Greek sculptures also depict lifting feats. The weights were generally stones, but later gave way to dumbbells. The dumbbell was joined by the barbell in the later half of the 19th century. Early barbells had hollow globes that could be filled with sand or lead shot, but by the end of the century these were replaced by the plate-loading barbell commonly used today. Another early device was the Indian club, which came from ancient Persia where it was called the “meels”. It subsequently became popular during the 19th century, and has recently made a comeback in the form of the clubbell. Weightlifting was first introduced in the Olympics in the 1896 Athens Olympic games as a part of track and field, and was officially recognized as its own event in 1914. The 1960s saw the gradual introduction of exercise machines into the still-rare strength training gyms of the time. Weight training became increasingly popular in the 1970s, following the release of the bodybuilding movie Pumping Iron, and the subsequent popularity of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since the late 1990s increasing numbers of women have taken up weight training, influenced by programs like Body for Life; currently nearly one in five U.S. women engage in weight training on a regular basis. Weight training is encouraged by some PUA, manosphere and seduction communities as a method of increasing men’s attractiveness.