Learn to Lift
By Neil Perkins
Why am I such an advocate of something I am not very good at? Weightlifting I feel is something that every serious trainer should integrate into their routine. If you are training (not working out) and training more than four times per week, then weightlifting should be integrated into your routine and you should make time to lift.
The common goal we here from a newcomer to the gym is to lose weight and tone up. The reality is that they want to lose ‘body fat’ not ‘weight’ and by promoting lean muscle and stripping fat, they will ‘tone up’. Weightlifting combined with other modes of training will promote this. We do not believe that you should S&C (Strength & Condition) train alone, but integrating Lifting with sports specific training to make you hit harder, run faster, jump further and play better.
If you are going to ‘train’ upwards of five times per week the here is why you should lift, what you should combine it with and what you should be looking to focus your sessions around.
I want a low body fat %
Look to lift twice per week and combine lifting with two to three HIIT sessions (Bootcamp is ideal). On your sessions focus on big movements. You must be squatting and deadlifting, if you want to progress to Olympic weightlifting then this would work also. Make sure you check your nutrition.
I want to get stronger
Do we really need to tell you that you need to lift weights?
I want to put on muscle mass
Lifting is key, but even if you want bigger biceps, hours upon hours of curling in the mirror will not work unless your body is primed to grow. Heavy squats and deadlifts will encourage your body to release growth hormone which will not only promote muscle, but burns fat. Base your sessions on compound big pressing, pulling and leg movements and look for two sessions per week. You can then work your ‘show muscles’ and curl on additional sessions. It is worth keeping some athleticism so a HIIT session would complete the training routine. I’d also review your nutrition and lifestyle to grow. Plenty of food, plenty of sleep and plenty of recovery.
I want to punch harder
Punches are mechanical not muscular but if you can learn the motor skills with improved strength you will hit harder. You will need to still work your motor skill development so boxing in the form of bag work or sparring would be key and should occupy a minimum of three sessions per week but dedicating two days to lifting would benefit ay boxer who is looking to pound for pound get stronger. Leg based exercises such as squats and deadlifts are key but spending time to learn the snatch and clean & jerk will really aid the mechanics of punch delivery and improve raw power. Regards upper body work, boxing is so focused on pectoral and pressing movements so it is worth focusing on back and pulling movements. Heavy bent rows and weighted chin ups can be integrated for that broad and powerful back that is associated with the sports big punchers.
I want to look more athletic
Try a Clean & Jerk or Snatch. They fire everything, give it a go and you can see why you’d integrate into your routine.
I sometimes wish I’d have spent more time on lifting when I was competing. Asides from numerous performance enhancing drugs, the reason why athletes now run faster, hit harder and jump further than athletes of days gone by is down to improved knowledge of Strength & Conditioning. Footballers, boxers, rugby players and even long distance runners such as Mo Farah regularly integrate weightlifting into their training regime, perhaps you should to?
You should make sure you make time to lift.