Why Weights?

The old adage that soothes anyone who is exercising, effectively or not, is "any exercise is better than no exercise." Well to me this assumes we are all  incapable of assigning value to any program other than on or off, black or white, male or female, etc. Even entertainment, which is clearly not critical to human development or performance, is given ratings. This is done because if we are going to go spend money or time on watching a movie, going to a concert, playing video games, or most importantly going out to eat we want to know if our time and money is going to be well spent. Nobody ever says to you "well at least you went to the show." If the show you went to was poorly rated everyone knows you just washed two hours of your life down the drain and that you are probably a little upset with the creators of the show and yourself. If the movie you went to is considered good your friends are probably all jealous that they were not able to spend their two hours being entertained by such high quality artistry. We should evaluate exercise training programs the same way, not a simple "well at least your not sitting on the couch" grading system, because it is glaringly obvious that even playing chess or table tennis is a better use of time than sitting on the couch.

If your goals include anything like losing fat (not necessarily weight), gaining strength, improving or physique, or increasing athletic performance than you need to lift weights. The importance of training is discussed on this page upon reading the prose therein you realize or already know that short and long term performance goals are critical to getting a more attractive and useful body. It is often the case that an individual will be highly motivated to train hard for 2-3 weeks than slowly lose motivation and eventually stop training all together. In order to keep motivation high the individual must be convinced that they are progressing. If they are not progressing the painful gym experience is clearly not worth it, since it is not working.

Okay, so how do we know if we are progressing? Perhaps an overall feeling of "wellness" on a scale of one to ten, taking pictures of ourselves, feeling the "pump" during and just after a workout, or maybe the degree of soreness the next day will tell us if we are progressing. These all can be part of the training experience but are poor indicators of progress or workout quality. Numbers never lie and weights have numbers on them. You can even count the number of times you lift a weight with a particular number attached to it. Weights are highly quantifiable!!! Therefore, weightlifting is easily measured and monitored. If you lifted more weight, for the same sets and reps, than you did last time you have progressed and you know by precisely how much.

In addition to being quantifiable, weights are infinitely scalable. That means the weights can be adjusted in very small increments (as low as 0.5 pound increments with the right plates) from one pound pink dumbbells to 800 pounds on an olympic barbell. I don't have to lift as much as Donny Shankle my wife doesn't have to lift as much as me. The weights can be tailored to the individuals current strength level, but not below that level that is just pretending to train. My four year old daughter used her own Christmas money to buy a pair of pink one pound dumbbells to do her own version of a squat and press exercise. Do I think one pound pink dumbbells are acceptable for adults or even teenagers? No, I do not. They are very good for small children that are excited about trying to be big and strong like their mom and dad. The point here is there is no body type, age, or gender that cannot train with weights. In that same line of thought there is but one group of people that would not benefit from training with weights. That group is the "dead people" because they have lost the ability to lift even the lightest of weights. So unless you are dead go train with weights, put more weight on each workout and reap the benefits.