Weight training: Improve your muscular fitness

Weight training can help you tone your muscles, improve your appearance and fight age-related muscle loss.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your friends enjoy using the weight machines and free weights at the fitness center. And you see the results of their hard work — toned muscles and an overall improved physique. You'd like to start a weight training program, but you're not sure you have the time. Think again.

Weight training 101

Weight training is a type of strength training that uses weights for resistance. Weight training provides a stress to the muscles that causes them to adapt and get stronger, similar to the way aerobic conditioning strengthens your heart.

Weight training can be performed with free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells, or by using weight machines. You can also increase your strength through other types of resistance exercises, such as by using your body weight or resistance bands.

Weight training: How much is enough?

You don't have to be in the weight room for 90 minutes a day to see results. For most people, short weight training sessions a couple of times a week are more practical than are extended daily workouts.

You can see significant improvement in your strength with just two or three 20- or 30-minute weight training sessions a week. That frequency also meets activity recommendations for healthy adults.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two times a week.

Aug. 14, 2015 See more In-depth