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Weight Training 101 with Franklin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine


Weight Training 101 with Franklin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

What is Weight Training? 

Weight training means adding resistance to the body’s natural movements in order to make those movements more difficult, and encourage the muscles to become stronger.

Why Weight Train? 

Weight training increases fitness by

• Increasing muscle strength and endurance
• Enhancing the cardiovascular system
• Increasing flexibility
• Maintaining the body’s fat within acceptable limits

Weight training can be an important component of your fitness program, regardless of your age or gender.

What Equipment is Needed to Weight Train? 

Free Weights OR Weight Machines

Free Weights:
• Less expensive than weight machines
• More easily adapted to smaller and larger body types
• Barbells or Dumbbells and a Weight Bench for upper extremities
• Barbells for lower extremities

Weight Machines:
• Safer than most free weights because the weight is more controlled.

For all lifting, use a weight belt.  Some people feel that weight gloves gives them better grip strength, but they are not necessary.  Good athletic shoes that provide firm floor traction are a MUST.

How Do I Start A Weight Training Program? 

Establish goals for your program.  Decide if you want to:

• Exercise to obtain good muscular tone and cardiovascular endurance
o Exercise 4 times per week for 20 to 30 minutes
o Short rest periods (30 seconds or less) between exercises
o 15 to 20 repetitions of an exercise for each major muscle group

• Build muscle strength in a particular muscle group to improve sports performance
o Exercise the muscle group you are strengthening to fatigue
o Fewer repetitions than circuit training (3 sets of repetitions, but only 8 to 10 repetitions per set, with longer rest periods of 60 to 90 seconds between exercises)
o Exercise every other day (not as frequently as a circuit program because fatigued muscles need longer to recover)

• Rehabilitate an injured muscle
o Similar to the circuit training program of higher repetitions and lower weights; however, unlike a circuit training program, this focuses on working the injured muscle group

An exercise professional, like a certified athletic trainer, a sports physical therapist, an exercise physiologist or a strength and conditioning coach, can help you design a program that’s suitable for your needs.


It is extremely important to check with your doctor before beginning a weight training program, particularly if you are over 30 or have any physical limitations.  If you have musculoskeletal problems, check with an orthopaedist to make sure that the program will not aggravate those problems.


To avoid injury when weight training, you should:

• Wear appropriate clothing
• Keep the weight training area clean and free of debris
• Stay well hydrated while lifting
• Get adequate rest
• Eat sensibly
• Stretch after warming up but before lifting
• Always use a spotter when doing bench presses and squats
• Lift with a buddy whenever possible.

Drs. Jeff & Greg Cook
Orthopaedic Surgeons
Franklin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
(615) 771-1116

This Sports Tip was obtained from the American Orthopaedic Society For Sports Medicine (  and the National Athletic Trainers Association ( to promote the health and safety of athletes.