Weight Training vs. Strength Training: What’s the Difference?

While the terms “weight training” and “strength training” are often used interchangeably, there is actually a difference. Both are a way to get stronger, improve your health and fitness, and/or lose weight. It’s also important to do both correctly in order to prevent injury and get lasting results.

However, generally speaking, weight training is using weights to improve your general health and fitness, and strength training is a specific type of training that helps you build muscle and become stronger over a longer period of time. Strength training programs often include weight training, as well as other forms of exercise.

Here’s a brief guide to weight and strength training, including pros and cons of each and tips for choosing which is right for you.

What Is Weight Training?

Put simply, weight training is working out using weights. These exercises have several benefits including:

  • Reversing age-related declines in muscle mass
  • Increasing bone density
  • Improving joint flexibility
  • Enhancing balance
  • Allowing for better control over your body

Weight training includes any free weight movement, using equipment like dumbbells, barbells, and kettle bells, as well as weight machines found at the gym. If you don’t have access to actual weights or machines, you can use your own body weight, resistance bands, or stretch tubes for similar workouts.

While it can be helpful to work with a gym employee or trainer who can teach you the proper form and way to handle the weights, it’s not required. Plus, you don’t need to weight train every day. Experts recommend 20-30 minutes, two to three times per week, working each muscle group at least twice per week.

Weight training is best for those with broad goals to improve their health, lose weight, and develop general fitness.

Pros And Cons of Weight Training



·        Can be done at home or in a gym.

·        May need to purchase equipment or a gym membership.

·        Equipment can include free weights, barbells, kettle bells, machines, your body weight, resistance bands.

·        Without a long-term goal, it can be easy to lose motivation.

·        Program can be short-term.

·        May not know proper form or technique, therefore needing to hire a trainer or coach.

·        Don’t need specific goals.

·        Typically, must be paired with other types of exercises for maximum results.

·        A number of general health benefits.

·        Working with a trainer or coach not necessary.

What Is Strength Training?

Strength training is any kind of training that helps build strength, such as size and strength for maximum performance. It is defined by physical exercises specializing in use of resistance to induce muscular contraction, building strength, endurance, and size of muscles and bone density.

This type of training includes many types of exercise such as weight training, body weight exercises like lunges, resistance movements, and specialties like climbing, jumping, and throwing. You also use a variety of equipment, such as weights, ropes, balance balls, and more.

The goal of strength training is to push body to respond and adapt while following a structured workout plan. This includes applying the right amount of stimulus at the right time and working to boost performance in a sport or activity. These programs should be supervised by a professional coach who can help you develop a plan so you’re performing the correct exercises, using the right amount of weights, making the right adjustments over time, and avoiding plateaus.

Strength training an also be a part of physical therapy programs if performed carefully and under proper supervision. 

Generally, these programs are best for those with specific goals to build muscle, improve joint function, increase overall endurance and physical conditioning.

Pros And Cons of Strength Training



·        Can work out in gym or at home.

·        May not have access to equipment outside of a gym.

·        Variety of types of equipment and machines available.

·        Longer period of time to commit to, can lose motivation.

·        Specific goals planned out over longer a period of time.

·        May need to hire a coach, which can be expensive.

·        Variety of exercises keep you interested and avoiding plateaus.

·        Some equipment expensive to purchase or difficult to have/use at home.

·        Guidance from a professional.

Should You Be Doing Weight Training or Strength Training?

It may be best to choose weight training if you:

  • Have shorter term goals, or broad goals to improve your general health or lose weight.
  • Don’t want to work with or hire a professional.
  • Want more flexibility with program.
  • Want to build strength and muscle mass.
  • Want to burn calories efficiently with a lower risk of injury.

On the other hand, you should choose strength training if you:

  • Are an athlete.
  • Want to hire a professional trainer.
  • Prefer to create a long-term, structured plan.
  • Have long-term or specific goals.
  • Take gym programs seriously and are willing to follow a strict training schedule.

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