Fitness Contrarian Principal # 8 – Lift Weights

We all need some form of weight lifting for good health. It can be your own body weight, free weights or any type of resistance that makes you push, pull and just work hard. I’m not that concerned what type of resistance you choose as long as you workout relatively hard and keep it short in duration.

They’re so many different ways to create a response and get stronger with resistance training. My favorites are free weights, machines, bands, medicine balls and my own body weight. There is just no getting around it. If you want to have strong bones, good muscle mass, flexibility, strength, a high metabolism and a firm shapely body you have to lift something reasonable heavy on a regular basis.

There is not too much debate on the benefits of resistance training but there is much debate on the duration, intensity and frequency of training. Why I feel there is so much confusion about what works best is because any type of weight training will work to some degree and it is hard to tell what will work best for each individual unless you experiment and try a number of different programs over an extended period of time.

How I think most people should resistance train is with basic full body workouts that are relatively hard and short in duration and perform them twice per week. I know this is a simple recommendation but for most people who want all the benefits that weight lifting will bring, two full body workouts per week is enough.

Two full body workouts consisting of movements like squats, lunges, push-up, pull-ups, presses, planks and a variety of body work movement lasting no longer than 45 minutes and as short as 10 minutes, will surely get the job done as long as you’re working reasonably hard (80% to 90% effort). No matter what, it’s certainly a great place to start your resistance-training program. After you have been lifting for a while you might want to change what you are doing to adapt to plateaus, boredom, age, time, injuries and an endless number of variables.

In addition, keep in mind that your hard weight lifting workouts require time to recover from. Make sure you don’t train hard two days in a row. A good idea would be to do an easy cardio day after your hard resistance-training day. That will give you time to recover while still staying active.

We all need to lift some type of weight for good health, so get started today.

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Best – Mike Cola

Fitness Contrarian

About Mike Cola

Mike Cola has well over 50,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience. He started his own personal training studio in1989, Mike Cola Fitness, which is located in New York.Connect with Mike @ Google+

6 Responses to “Fitness Contrarian Principal # 8 – Lift Weights”

  1. I’m glad to hear someone else saying resistance training sessions don’t need to be long. When I tell people they can get a great work out in 30-40 minutes, I sometimes get strange looks from people who like to hang out at the gym all day.

  2. Mike,

    I agree with you and Tom. My strength training workouts usually don’t last longer than 35 or 40 minutes. Intensity is a much more important factor than duration.


  3. Completely agree. Most of the folks I work with are busy but get results with two sessions per week at the gym (but then diet is key to create a caloric deficit).

    Resistance training (Weights, bodyweight, etc) are probably the most effective fitness tool – they preserve muscles mass, foster bone density, train the cardiovascular system, promote range of motion (with the proper exercises such as the ones you mention here)

    Keep em coming, Mike!


  4. @ Tom and Alykhan

    All I need is 30 to 40 minutes for a great strength training workout. My best workouts have always been on the short side. I can’t keep my concentration and motivation up for much longer than 45 minutes.

    @ Yavor

    Most of my clients train with me two times per week as well. I agree- as long as they eat well you don’t need to over exercise.

    Best – Mike

  5. I have a strength training routine that takes only about 35 minutes, but I have a hard time getting myself to do it even twice a week. Strength training is just so boring! I would so much rather just go out for a run or a bike ride.

  6. “In addition, keep in mind that your hard weight lifting workouts require time to recover from.”

    This is often forgotten or overlooked. Although getting a good pump in at the gym feels great, you’ve also got to allow your body time to recover.

    People who are at the gym 6-7 times a week wonder why they get sick so often or are always battling nagging injuries. The answer is simple: they aren’t giving their bodies enough time to rest and recover.