Weightlifting and Body Mass Index

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Weightlifting and Body Mass Index

One of the ways that a doctor or professional trainer can tell if you are overweight, and get a good idea of how bad your physical situation is, is by a means of measurement called body mass index.

So, what is your BMI, or Body Mass Index?

It must be pointed out, however, that BMI is only an approximate measure of percentage of body fat. It is based on a ratio of weight to height. BMI was developed to give an approximation, or snapshot, of body fat. It is not scientifically accurate as it can overestimate Body fat in those with a lot of lean muscle mass, like weightlifters, and underestimate body fat in some, such as the elderly, who have lost lean muscle mass.

How is BMI calculated?

BMI is calculated by taking your weight in pounds, multiplying by 703 and dividing that number by your height in inches squared. Compare the results as follows:

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 -24.9 Normal
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 & Above Obese

While it is true that professional weightlifters and especially professional bodybuilders whose regimen and diet is specifically programmed to increase lean muscle for "show" and eliminate as much body fat as possible - can have an inaccurate reading on their BMI. A competitive body builder for example has on average only 4% body fat! But for most of us, if you have not already picked up the sport of weight lifting - and you hit in the 25 or over range on that chart, the truth is there is no better way to lower that BMI and get in shape the weightlifting.

Weightlifting eliminates most of the problems of yo-yo dieting by increasing lean muscle mass and raising resting metabolic rate. Especially for aging baby boomers who see their BMI numbers creeping up and want to do something about it - weight lifting is the way to go.

For weight control, you should combine a weightlifting routine with cardiovascular workouts, and, of course, healthy nutrition.

Foods rich in fiber, low in fat, and whole grains are the keys to effective weight loss when combined with weight training and exercise. And don't forget to also drink a lot of water. It is important if yo really want to lower your BMI and get in better shape that you combine your weight lifting with cardio work outs. In the first place you should never lift weight without doing some kind of cardio warm up first - just to get the heat and lungs pumping. Also if you are really weightlifting to sculpt a defined and toned body - you need the cardio to burn calories and fat.

In developing a weightlifting routine designed to maximize health, strength, build muscle and reduce your BMI - it might be surprising to realize that it is important not to overtrain.

That means you need to plan to rotate your muscle groups. You also need to plan a routine for your primary and secondary muscle groups.


There are weightlifting exercises which work a primary muscle group, but since almost all muscles are interconnected they also will train a secondary muscle group. These are sometimes referred to as complex exercises, such as the bench press.

This is the reason why weightlifting, or weight training, gives you so much more "bang for the buck" and more of a total body work out than most other forms of exercise.

As I hinted at above, just about every lift to build chest and shoulders, i.e. bench press, also works the triceps. So if you do triceps on one day, followed by chest the next, and the shoulders the following you will overwork and overtrain the triceps.

A better rotation, or split workout would be:

Monday - Chest/Triceps
Tuesday - Break
Wednesday - Back/Biceps
Thursday - Break
Friday - Legs/Shoulders
Saturday & Sunday Break


Copyright 2022 by Donovan Baldwin
Weightlifting and Body Mass Index
Page Updated 11:46 AM Thursday, December 8, 2022