Contrary to popular belief, weightlifting is not just good for bulking up and getting bigger, it’s also the perfect exercise for those looking to tone and lengthen, and is great for fat loss.
But if you’re new to weightlifting, it can seem intimidating at first. There are a couple of terms and phrases you may have heard mentioned which you’re not really sure about. But fear not! We’re here to help.
We’ve put together an easy weightlifting A-Z which can talk you through all the terms that will help you understand the world of weightlifting. Take a look at our guide to help you get started on your weightlifting journey.
A - Arm Curl
An arm curl, also often referred to as the bicep curl, is a weightlifting exercise that uses dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells to work the muscles of the upper arm. It involves keeping the upper arms stationary while curling the weights to contract your biceps.
B - Barbell
A barbell is a long metal bar onto which you can place weight plates. You’ll be using barbells a lot once you get into weightlifting. If you’re new to the sport, we suggest using the barbell on its own at first to ensure you have the correct form.
C - Chin-up
The chin-up is a strength training exercise designed to strengthen your biceps. Chin-ups require you to use your strength to support your own body weight, making them brilliant for both strength building and weight loss. They require a close, supinated grip, which make them different to pull ups which require a wider, pronated grip.
D - Deadlift
The deadlift is a weight training exercise in which the barbell or bar is lifted off the ground to hip level then returned back to the ground. Typically, deadlifts are done with heavy weights with lower reps. The exercise primarily targets your hamstrings, back, quadriceps and glutes. Building these muscles helps improve your body's strength and stability.
E - Endurance
There are two main different types of weightlifting: endurance training and strength training. Strength training involves heavy weights with low reps and is good for those who want bigger muscles. Endurance training, on the other hand, demands high reps of smaller weights, and is best for those who want to tone up.
F - Fitbit
A Fitbit is a piece of wearable tech that’s great for monitoring your heart rate and keeping time during a weightlifting session. If you’re looking to improve your workouts, a Fitbit is a good investment.
G - Gloves
Weight Lifting gloves are great for protecting your hands from calluses and marks when you begin weightlifting.
H - Hypertrophy
Hypertrophy is the growth and increase of the size of a muscle. It is most commonly seen in those who weightlift as a result of physical exercise.
I - Injuries
There are some common weightlifting injuries (like slight strains) but these are easy to prevent. The right techniques, training gear and refraining from pushing yourself too far can all help to prevent injuries.
J - Joints
Doing resistance training like weightlifting can help relieve chronic joint pain. However, things like improper form, lifting weights that are too heavy and lifting too often can counteract the benefits.
This is a type of weight with a single handle, made from cast steel or cast- iron. It’s great for ballistic exercises that combine cardio, flexibility and strength training.
L - Lunge
A lunge can be made more challenging with the introduction of weights, typically a barbell, dumbells or Kettlebells. One leg is positioned forward with knee bent and foot flat on the ground while the other leg is stretched out behind. The barbell is placed over the shoulders or dumbells held to your sides.
M - Machines
There are a variety of different machines that can be great for both toning up and building muscle. There are advantages to both weight machines and free weights, and good weightlifting routines usually incorporate both.
N - Nutrition
Nutrition is incredibly important for weightlifters. Whether it’s re-energising your workout routine with supplements or adding whey protein to your diet, you can take a look at the different types of sport nutrition available here.
O - Olympic Lifting
Olympic-style weightlifting is a type of position where the athlete attempts a maximum-weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. It’s not recommended for beginners but is something to work towards if you discover a passion for weight lifting.
P - Powerlifting
Powerlifting is a competitive form of weightlifting that involves participants having three attempts at lifting a maximum weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Again, we don’t recommend this initially for beginners, but it’s absolutely something you can work towards.
Q - Quadricipes
These are a group of muscles located in the front of the thigh, which many weightlifters work hard to build or tone. The best ways to work the quadriceps are squats and using the leg press and extension machine.
R - Resistance Training
All weight lifting and bodyweight training is also sometimes referred to as resistance training, as you work against some type of force that resists, or pushes against, your movement.
S - Strength Training
Weightlifting to increase strength is also called strength training. Routines usually incorporate resistance training, bodyweight training, free weights and machines, lifting heavier weights less often.
T - Tone
Toning up is often a specific goal people have when they begin weightlifting. It basically means becoming leaner, losing fat and adding a little muscle definition, while not getting any bigger. It’s usually achieved through lifting smaller weights in longer sets.
U - UK Weightlifting Competitions
If you begin to fall in love with weightlifting, you can enter a number of amateur competitions across the UK. In fact, Fitness First often have weightlifting challenges in our gyms - check out your nearest gym to see when the next one begins.
V - Volume and Intensity
When volume is talked about in weightlifting, it’s usually referring to the number of reps you perform in an exercise or workout overall. Intensity, on the other hand, refers to the relative difficulty of the exercise depending on the amount of weight you lift.
W - Weightloss
Contrary to popular belief, weight lifting is really beneficial for fat loss. As muscle weighs more than fat, you may not lose as much weight as cardio, but if you weight lift to tone, you will find yourself fitting into smaller sizes, looking better and being overall much healthier.
X - eXercises
Okay, so we may have cheated a bit here with X, but there are plenty of exercise sets you can do to help you being weightlifting. Why not check out our YouTube channel for some of the best 10-minute workouts out there?
Y - Yoke
The yoke is a frame that you carry during strength training exercises. It’s for those serious about building strength and is often used in ‘strongman training’. If a Yoke is unavailable, Farmer walks or loaded walks with weight plates or a barbell across the shoulders can have the same effect.
Z - Zecher Squat
During this exercises, the lifter performs a squatting movement while holding a barbell in the crooks of their elbows.
So there you have it! There are many different reasons to start weightlifting, and it can be beneficial to many people for many different things. If you’d like to get started, why not try a free three-day pass to one of our Fitness First gyms? They have everything you need to get started, and highly-trained staff who can answer any questions you might have.