The use of one's own power to displace objects is the basic premise behind weight lifting. Through the action of weight displacement, the muscles are torn down. The soreness often associated with weight lifting exercises is the direct outcome of this tearing down. In reaction to this, the body repairs the muscles bigger and stronger than before. The muscles also begin to take shape and become more defined. For most, this is the main goal as a direct result from weight lifting.

All exercises have been divided into six categories each with its own set of sub-categories. These categories are:

Exercises can be performed using a variety of weight lifting equipment including: using a barbell, calistenics (body weight), cable machines, and dumbbells.