By: Alex Michaels
What is the Definition of Strength Training?
Strength training is physical activity that forces your muscles to work against any kind of external resistance. Strength training can be achieved using multiple tools, such as free weights, dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls, kettlebells, or your own bodyweight.
Is Strength Training Just for “The Bro’s”?
There is a lot of teeter tottering non-sense gibberish online about how women and men should strength train differently.
There is no difference. Women and men can train the same and SHOULD. Gone are the days of pink 2lb dumbbells, now being switched for cardillo belts and heavy squats.
There’s a business term called “ROI” which means “return on investment” and in the case of exercise in general, strength training will yield the biggest ROI for your health. The benefits of strength training go far beyond just gaining muscle. Did you know you can increase bone density, increase metabolism, reduce low back pain, learn to stand up straight, and feel really confident about yourself? Keep reading and we’ll tell you why.
The Top Eight Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training at least two to three times a week will build the size and strength of the muscles. As early as age 30, our muscle mass starts to decrease little by little. This is a process called sarcopenia. If you implement a weekly strength training regimen, you can slow down the process of sarcopenia.
The more muscle tissue your body has, the more calories it will burn. Therefore, strength training is important because it will increase the size of the muscle, which builds more muscle tissue, and increases the amount of calories your body will burn even after you are done training. The body must burn more calories in order to help with the recovery and building process post-workout. Cardiovascular exercise will burn calories while you are working out and for a brief time afterward, but then the amount of calories burned for energy usage will go back to normal.
Increases Bone Density
Our bones are made up of bone minerals and depending on how active or sedentary we are, the bone mineral density will increase or decrease. Strength training regularly helps to strengthen and increase the bone mineral density, which will decrease the chances of developing osteoporosis later in life. Osteoporosis is when the bone mineral density levels become very low, therefore leaving the bones brittle and weak. This increases the risk of broken bones and injuries, especially in the elderly who are more at risk of falling.
Strength training helps to keep our posture upright and symmetrical as it is intended. This prevents muscle imbalances and overcompensation of other muscles and joints, which then helps reduce injury. The posture of the upper body is often compromised due to our sedentary society and the fact that people spend multiple hours a day sitting at a desk, watching T.V., hunched over looking at computers and cell phones, or playing video games. Our shoulders actually start to round forward, our upper backs are hunched, and our chest muscles become shortened and tight. Implementing strength training and specifically focusing on doing pulling movements will help you to pull your shoulders back, straighten out your upper back, and lengthen the muscles around the chest and shoulders.
Reduces Risk of Low Back Pain
Approximately 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. It is one of the top reasons people miss work and can greatly limit their ability to do daily activities. The core includes the lower back muscles and we activate these muscles every time we bend over, squat, sit up in bed, or lift items. Strength training the muscles of the core can greatly reduce our risk of injury.
Looks aren’t everything, however most people have a certain idea of how they want their body to look. If you want to build and shape your muscles, lose fat, and look more fit, strength training will absolutely help you achieve those goals. Men and women may have different ideas of how they want their bodies to look. For example, some women say they want to grow their butt. Some men say they want to grow their chest. No matter what your goal is, tailor your strength training program to target those areas.
Studies show that strength training helps reduce anxiety, depression, and stress by releasing the feel good chemicals such as endorphins and neurotransmitters. Since a large part of society experiences bouts with conditions such as depression and anxiety at some point in their lifetime, strength training is an excellent strategy for improving self-confidence, mental, and physical health.
Strength training can help you feel stronger, more energetic, and makes you happier with the way you look, which directly results in higher self-confidence. The physical benefits it has are amazing, but the benefit it will have on your mental health is invaluable.
Overall Better Quality of Life
Our quality of life directly affects our mental and physical health. Being able to wake up in the morning, get yourself out of bed, dress yourself, perform tasks at work, go out with family and friends, and take care of tasks around the house are all aspects of our day that will greatly benefit from strengthening our muscles and being able to move with more ease.
Now that you know what strength training is and all of the amazing ways it will benefit you, start by adding it into an exercise routine at least twice a week. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out our free, four week dumbbell strength training program complete with three full workouts each week and videos to guide you along. All you need is dumbbells and it is the perfect program whether you are a beginner or more of an advanced lifter. Follow the link below to sign up on our homepage and receive your free download.