There's more to weightlifting than achieving a perfectly sculpted silhouette. Workout programs that include weightlifting can help increase strength, stamina and muscle tone, says Andy Grossman, who has directed the men's fitness program for the Golden Door health spa and now privately trains men and women one on one in his Fitness Express, a gym on wheels.
Question: What does weight training offer that other forms of exercise do not?
Answer: Weights are a magnificent tool for toning muscles and loosening up the kinks.
Q: How do you use them in your custom-designed fitness program?
A: They are about a third of the hourlong workout that I developed. I combine weights with stretching and aerobics. I do 10 minutes of stretching first to loosen the joints and stimulate circulation. Then I do 10 minutes of aerobics using the stationary bike, rowing machine or treadmill to warm up the muscles so there is a minimum chance of injury. Then weights. Then a final stretching period.
Q: Do you encourage weightlifting for women, or is it best suited to men?
A: I think more in terms of body types than men or women. If you're under age 30 and in decent shape, the goal in strengthening any muscle is to do 10 to 15 repetitions before you add a slightly heavier weight. If you're over 40, you should be able to do more than 20 repetitions well before you add any weight to what you lift safely in the beginning. I encourage women to lift weights. But it takes some women a while. First, they have to get over the image that weights are a sweaty, gross way to build big, unwanted muscles.