Strength conditioning is a type of exercise that uses resistance to increase muscle strength, size, and endurance. There are a variety of exercises that fall under the definition of strength conditioning, including weight training, body-weight training, and resistance training. Strength training by athletes can be traced as far back as Ancient Greece, but it became especially common during the 20th century, even as a healthy activity for non-athletes. In modern times, strength conditioning has also been demonstrated to greatly increase the amount of calories the human body burns.
Perhaps the most commonly practiced type of strength training is weight lifting. Barbells and dumbbells are traditional objects used in the process of weight lifting, with the dumbbell generally categorized as a weight that is lifted with one hand whereas the barbell is long enough to be lifted with two. Both are formed of a thin pole for the hand to grasp with weights on both ends of the pole or rod. Another traditional variety of weight is the kettlebell, which has regained in popularity; a kettlebell is a ball-shaped weight with a handle on top that is lifted with either one hand or two.
Dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells are often commonly referred to as free weights. Aside from free weights, numerous machines are designed for weight lifting. Theses generally are operated with a pulley attached to the weights through which a person lifts the weights by grasping any of a variety of handles that are attached to the end of a cable. Most gyms will typically have a large number of different weight-lifting machines and free weights with which its visitors can train.
Along with weight training, body-weight training and resistance training are popular forms of strength conditioning. Body-weight training is composed of exercises that involved lifting one's own body, such as push-ups and pull-ups. Push-ups are especially common since they can be done easily in one's own home or, in fact, at any location since they do not require any equipment. Conversely, resistance training makes use of objects, such as elastic bands, that provide an opposing force that the person exercising pulls against. While also sometimes available in gyms and other public locations, resistance training is especially popular in the home since the resistance bands, with or without a machine, are manufactured for use in a range of exercises.