This guide is going to be very different than most lifting guides you’ve read.
It’s not about getting “jacked” or which supplements to take.
I’m simply going to cover why lifting heavy weights make you a better man. Lifting helps almost every aspect of your life.
Every guy should be in the gym at least three times a week.
Why Lifting Heavy is Important for Men
Lifting heavy makes you bigger, but that’s not what we’re focused on here.
Weight lifting creates discipline. It helps push yourself beyond your expected limits. It forces you to challenge yourself a few times a week. It teaches you that consistent action creates massive results. All of this helps improve other areas of your life as well.
Benefits of Lifting Heavy
Like meditation, lifting heavy weights has benefits that carry over into every part of your life.
One study found that lifting significantly increased testosterone among a group of males aged 30-62.
The younger group demonstrated higher total and free testosterone and IGF-I than the older men, training-induced increases in free testosterone at rest and with exercise, and increases in resting IGF-binding protein-3. With training the older group demonstrated a significant increase in total testosterone in response to exercise
Now, why would you want to increase testosterone?
According to Healthline, here are some of the main benefits of testosterone:
- Healthy blood and heart
- Less fat and increased muscle
- Strong bones
- Better memory
- Higher sex-drive
- Improved mood
Increases Growth Hormone
A study that tested the effects of training on a group of males aged 23-63 found an overall increase in growth hormone (GH) after 12 weeks:
The basal level of GH increased by 44.9% in the young and by only 3% in the elderly but neither change was significant.
Boosts Immune System
Stronger people in general are seen as more healthy due to their physique.
New research is showing that muscles may actually play a role in boosting your entire immune system:
The trunk muscles of zebrafish, a vertebrate model system, also possess the capacity to mount an immune response against bacterial infections, thus establishing that immune responsiveness of muscles is evolutionarily conserved. Our results suggest that physiologically fit muscles might boost the innate immune response of an individual.
Cortisol is a stress hormone created by your body. According to WebMD:
Too much cortisol will make you feel stressed and anxious.
Lifting weights or any kind of exercise decreases your cortisol, according to Harvard:
The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Improves Your Sleep
A hard session at the gym will make you feel tired.
But it can also help you sleep deeper at night, leaving you feeling more refreshed the next day.
This study tested older adults (70+) who started a lifting program, but the results are still interesting:
The training resulted in significant improvements (p < 0.05) in total (19%) and upper body (52%) strength and in sleep quality (38%).
Higher testosterone will increase your confidence.
But, the increase in confidence is just something that most heavy lifers seem to notice.
You feel better about yourself because you’re improving your health. Your discipline in the gym will carry over to everything, which makes you better in all areas of your life. You’ll feel better about your ability to tackle tough challenges day-to-day.
Yes, You’ll Get Bigger
Lifting heavy will make you bigger.
A lot bigger if you stick with it for a long time.
What to Know about Lifting
Proper Form is Important
Lifting heavy weights can hurt your body if not done properly.
Lifting with proper form will be key to ensuring that you can lift heavy for a long time.
If you Can, Get a Trainer (In the Beginning)
Going through each of the main lifts–squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press–with a trainer can jump start your lifting. You’ll feel more confident during your lifts.
If you have a friend who’s been lifting, use them as a resource as well. They’d likely be happy to go over the lifts with you.
Don’t Get Discouraged
At the beginning, it can be frustrating to lift. You’ll feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. And the gains will take a while to show up.
One way to get around this is to keep a log of how much weight you’re lifting.
Add weight each week, and that will help your mind understand that you are actually improving by lifting more weight each week.
Find a Good Gym
Since you’re going to be lifting heavy, find a gym that has the weights you need.
Look for one that has lots of places to squat, deadlift and bench press.
Another reason to find a gym more focused towards heavy lifting:
It means you’ll be surrounded by people who lift heavy. You’ll make friends you can learn from, which will help keep you on track.
If you can’t afford a trainer, use YouTube.
There are thousands of videos for each lift. Study a lot and you’ll be able to get tons of free advice.
How to Start Lifting
The worst mistake I made when I started lifting?
I shifted from program to program.
If you’re going to start, pick a program and stick with it.
This post has some great tips on how to select the right program.
I agree with the main point of the article:
The single best way to gain muscle and whole-body strength is to follow a strength training program that’s based on the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.