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Dumbbell training for weight loss

This is an excerpt from Dumbbell Training by Allen Hedrick.

Based on information from the World Health Organization, the prevalence of obesity around the world has nearly tripled since 1975, and this problem exists across the generations (WHO 2018). For example, if increases in obesity continue at current rates, functional obesity will soon become the most commonly encountered cause of frailty in the elderly (Beavers et al. 2017). Further, the World Health Organization has seen an increase in obesity in the pediatricpopulation over the last two decades.


This increase in overweight and obesity can lead to several health issues, including

  • increased risk of heart disease and stroke,
  • high blood pressure,
  • diabetes,
  • some forms of cancer,
  • gallbladder disease and gallstones,
  • gout,
  • breathing problems,
  • osteoarthritis,
  • fatty liver disease, and
  • kidney disease.


Because evidence exists that both overweight and obesity increase the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, this dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity and being overweight represents a serious issue. Most training programs meant to assist in reducing body fat emphasize aerobic exercise. Typically this aerobic exercise is performed either in a steady-state, continuous movement format for the selected duration or in interval training, where periods of lower intensity recovery periods are distributed between periods of higher intensity training.


In contrast to this, resistance training is typically not as commonly prescribed when the goal of training is a reduction in body fat despite the benefits that resistance training might have on weight control. Typically, resistance training is prescribed when the goals of training include increases in muscular size, strength, and power.


However, recent guidelines on exercise for weight loss and weight maintenance have begun to include resistance training as part of the training plan. Often, when resistance training is combined with aerobic training, the addition of resistance training does not consistently enhance weight loss. However, dieting, without including resistance training as a part of a weight loss program, often results in the loss of both fat and muscle mass. This decrease in muscle mass can have the effect of reducing your metabolic rate. In contrast, including resistance training in a weight loss program may reduce the decline in, or even increase, resting metabolic rate because of the preservation or addition of lean mass. This is important because your metabolic rate represents the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest, which obviously has a significant impact on the total number of calories you burn each day.

Did You Know?

It is important to include resistance training during a weight loss program. Dieting alone, without resistance training, will often result in the loss of both body fat and muscle mass. Decreases in muscle mass result in a decrease in daily caloric expenditure, which further increases the difficulty in losing weight. Maintaining, or better yet, increasing muscle mass when attempting to lose weight is the most effective approach.