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EXERCISE

The Differences Between Strength and Weight Training

A beginners guide to strength and weight training

Image source: Unsplash

To a novice gym-goer, the differences between strength and weight training might not be obvious at first. Both types of exercise build muscle, develop strength, and increase fitness levels, right?

While this is true, strength training and weight training are not interchangeable terms. It is always best to consider all of your options in order to make educated exercise decisions. To further enhance your fitness experience and reach your goals, you should always strive to learn and become informed about what you are doing. We all have different fitness levels and needs, and there are exercises which will suit some individuals more than others!

What is Strength Training?

Man practicing strength training by lifting weights
Man practicing strength training

Strength training is a broad category used to refer to any sort of training that is performed with the intention of building strength. Gym equipment to help you achieve your goals through strength training includes tools as diverse as swiss balls, ropes, and benches.

What is Weight Training?

Man doing pull-up weight training in gym
Man doing pull-up weight training in gym

Weight training is a type of strength training, as are Crossfit and simpler, commonly known exercises like pull-ups and push-ups. Weight training involves using weights of different types and sizes – of which there are many – in a bid to increase strength, and is one of the most successful ways of doing so, with workouts to suit every type of gym-goer.

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What Does Strength Training Involve?

Man strength training by lifting weights
Strength training, man lifting weights

While strength training is often mistakenly thought to always involve weights, this is not the case. There are plenty of routines and exercises that do not necessitate the use of equipment, and can thus be performed at home, or in any sort of makeshift gym setting. Strength training without weights may require a little extra effort and planning, but will pay off nonetheless. With or without weights, it remains one of the best ways to increase your fitness levels.

Strength training, including (but certainly not limited to!) weight training, is a tried and tested way to lose weight while building muscle. Weight loss using strength training is thus an achievable goal, as strength training allows for the maintaining of muscle while burning fat, with the added bonus, of course, of becoming stronger.

What Does Weight Training Involve?

Man doing sit up to practice weight training
Weight training. man doing sit up in gym

The two main types of weight training equipment are free weights and machines, both of which may either be used to train specific muscles or used in more general ways. Free weights consist of equipment like dumbbells, barbells and benches (easier to transport and keep in your home gym), while machines include the assisted pull-up station and the cable machine.

Popular weight training exercises include crunches and squats. The squat is performed by squatting whilst holding a weight (often a barbell) across the upper back, and standing up. Depending on the type of weights you will be using, it may be worth investing in a pair of weight training gloves to ensure your hands are protected during your workouts.

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The benefits of weight training are numerous. Weight training certainly isn’t only for those who want to look like bodybuilders, although this is a somewhat common misconception! If you’re just looking to tone or become a bit stronger – a worthy plan, because strength is beneficial across many areas of life – weight training is almost certainly your best option. Although there are plenty of other types of strength training to supplement your workouts.

Reaching your goals needn’t be daunting. There are a plethora of ways to use strength training to your advantage. The large variety of exercises available ensures you’ll never become bored, whether you prefer to use equipment or rely solely on your body.

Have any more tips on the difference between strength and weight training? Leave us a comment down below.

Cloe Matheson
Cloe Matheson is a full-time freelance writer based in New Zealand, who has contributed to various sites, blogs and local businesses including Hercules Gazebo. Besides writing, she's also passionate about traveling and nature. You can find more of Cloe’s work here.

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