The first thing that comes to mind while hearing the words “Strength Training” is probably going to the gym and lifting heavyweights. But in reality, that’s not the case at all. Strength training is often known as resistance training. It uses resistance to improve muscular contraction, anaerobic endurance, and skeletal muscle size. It has several advantages that have a long-term positive influence on our bodies.
The rise in awareness of physical well being and fitness among everyone has led to the increase in the popularity of strength training. One of its popularity is the ease of execution vis-a-vis the visible results. Not only that, but also the requirement for minor to no equipment has helped strength training become a popular fitness regime. Hence, you can do strength training in many ways, like Calisthenics. For example, use bodyweight as the only source of resistance, combined with dumbbells and resistance bands and exercises like plank, sit-ups, and pull-ups.
Strength Training: Benefits
Given below are the numerous benefits of strength training.
Strengthening of Bones
Strength training methods increase bone density and total connective tissue stiffness over time. It happens due to our body’s reaction to impact, or when confronted with an external force, the body must stiffen and stabilise. It also aids athletic performance in sports requiring speed, power, and strength through a more robust bone structure.
Studies show that muscle training enhances bone density and reduces risk of osteoporosis. In many cases, The body needs it to prepare our bone structure for further growth and protection against ailments.
Strength exercise helps to strengthen the bones, muscles, and all of the body’s supporting tissues, including the lower back. As a result, it improves your posture and enables you to stay in better alignment throughout the day. Strength training assists our ligaments and tendons in flexing and staying relaxed. In addition, it leads to more flexibility which helps our body stabilise and not lean into a bad posture.
According to a study, specific exercises that focus on our core area, like planks, and a child’s pose, are the reason behind significant improvements in the posture of its subjects.
Lowers Injury Risk
Including strength training in your lifestyle would allow you to look attractive. Also, it helps one avoid chances of injury as we know that strength exercises affect our muscles and ligaments. It also helps increase our range of motion and mobility of joints in areas around the knee and elbow. In addition, it allows your body to feel and reduces muscle cramps to unknown circumstances which may occur in an injury-prone environment or activity.
According to research, this training is essential for athletes. For example, the occurrences of many types of overuse injuries, such as the swimmer’s shoulder and tennis elbow, can be minimised by doing sport and motion specific resistance training exercises.
Good for Heart, Brain and Mental Health
According to research, women who engage in strength training have decreased blood pressure issues and harmful cholesterol levels. It also improves blood circulation and the health of blood vessels. Blood circulation and oxygen usage increase to produce strength to support your body during vigorous activities.
Along with improving heart health, strength training also enhances skeletal muscles. In addition, it leads to an increase in our body’s insulin sensitivity, resulting in sugar level management. It occurs because the use of excess sugar present in our system is with the help of increased insulin secretion and sensitivity of our body.
Studies also suggest that strength training helps release Endorphins – the happy hormones which helps to elevate the mood. Incorporating strength training into your routine can make you feel more mentally engaged and boost your mental energy and focus. Therefore, people who engage in such activities are unlikely to get affected by cognitive disorders, which may hamper our ability to think and memorise.
Heavy Calorie Burner
As strength training incorporates working of your muscles throughout the body, it, in turn, becomes a very efficient calorie burner. It helps boost metabolism to make the muscles in your body very calorie efficient. Thus, even after hours or days after the workout, you could burn calories and lower your body fat percentage.
Muscle is denser than fat, and it takes up less room on your body pound for pound. As a result, even if you don’t observe a change in the number on the scale, you may drop inches off your waist. It is one of the effects of strength training. Furthermore, decreasing body fat and gaining stronger and bigger muscles reveals more excellent muscular definition. It gives the image of being more assertive and leaner.
Strength Training: Types
There are three types of strength training.
Agile Strength Training
The capacity to shift directions rapidly and strongly is called agile strength. You can distinguish it by rapid accelerations in speed, direction, or velocity. You may also know it as transporting big weights in different directions. Possessing such a skill allows your body to move with comfort and fluidity in any direction. It also improves your coordination and balance and helps to prevent accidents.
Multi-directional workouts with light to moderate intensity define agile manoeuvres. Below are some exercises that could help you achieve agile strength. These include high-knee drills and shuttle runs.
This agility training exercise improves foot coordination and speed in players participating in field sports.
- Sprint forward with high knees throughout the activity
- Try maintaining equal distance between steps.
- Proper form is essential for this easy activity.
A shuttle run is a common agility training exercise for athletes who participate in stop-and-go sports. Shuttle run drills are a simple approach to include high-intensity training in a basic conditioning programme. At the same time, they help increase speed, agility, and endurance.
- Set up two spots around 25m apart for shuttle runs.
- Run from one end to the other.
- Then walk back.
- It will help if you do this 5-6 times.
Endurance Strength Training
Endurance strength is all about how far you can go in peak performance for a given amount of time. It’s the polar opposite of most high-intensity interval training workouts. It requires your body to use both aerobic and anaerobic pathways to sustain motion. In addition, this can help you develop postural stability and improve the aerobic capacity of the muscles. The most efficient way to undertake this type of strength training is progressive overload, or progressively increasing the tension on your body during the exercise. These include planks and squats.
Planks are one of the most effective core-strengthening workouts. Your body will gain endurance by increasing the length of time you hold your plank each day. After you’ve become used to bodyweight planking, you may start adding weights.
- Get into a push up with your arms fully extended to do a plank.
- Try to hold that posture with a tight core.
Squats are considered one of the best fitness exercises targeting several muscle groups. In addition, it is one of the simplest exercises to perform. It helps build endurance at the core and strengthens your legs and glutes to build lower body endurance. Once you get comfortable with bodyweight squats, one may add weights to their regimes.
- To do a squat, stand straight with your feet shoulder length apart.
- Bend your knees to a sitting position.
- Then rise.
Explosive Strength Training
It is the sort of strength that you develop during high-intensity interval training exercises by performing all-out effort actions. So said, explosive strength is the capacity to move oneself or an object swiftly and with a great deal of power. It’s more akin to a 100-meter dash than a 5-mile walk. Explosive strength training increases the speed of our internal motor unit and improves intramuscular coordination. It also decreases response time and increases muscle and connective tissue resiliency. It includes box squat jumps.
Box Squat Jumps
This exercise produces a tremendous amount of force from a relaxed stance in a short amount of time. At the start of the activity, the muscles are open and ready to function. After that, however, the body must overcome the weight and inertia of the body to finish the movement, which aids in developing explosive strength.
- First, squat close to a 2-foot-tall elevated place
- Then attempt jumping on the elevated space with both feet getting off the ground simultaneously.
Strength Training: Precautions
While it may sound quite appealing to perform strength training exercises, you must learn the proper technique to minimise the chances of injuries. In addition, you must not gun for results from day one. Instead, start slow and steadily increase the workload on your body to make sure that your body is getting enough time to repair and rejuvenate between the workout sessions.
- Suppose you choose to use weights during strength training. In that case, have your workout sessions under professional supervision.
- Also, wearing comfortable clothing is recommended while performing exercises as fancy clothing may cause discomfort or cause distraction, leading to an injury.
- While working out, you must ensure that you prevent damage to yourself and the people around you.
- Ensure to train at suitable spaces with a wide area sufficient for mobility and other aspects.
- It will help with a warm-up before starting strength training, as cold muscles are more prone to injury or tear than warmed-up muscles.
- People suffering from bone diseases broken limbs, among other issues which may cause discomfort, shall consult with a doctor before performing any strength training.
The Bottom Line
You can practice strength training anywhere, be it at home or a gym. With this, you can achieve your dream body and lifelong physical wellness with the help of minimal equipment and bodyweight exercises through this method. Therefore, it has become the key to flexibility, mobility, and enhanced performance. It also reduces injury risk, regardless of age or athletic skill. Strength training can and should be done by everybody, irrespective of their fitness level.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it OK to strength train every day?
A. Training every day might sound like a sure-sought way to success. However, our body and muscles need time to repair to grow stronger. Hence it is recommended to train about 4-5 times a week as you need one or two days of rest for the body to recover.
Q. What happens if I only do strength training?
A. It is terrific if you are doing strength training regimens. Strength training and cardio can help you achieve your desired body shape and fitness level. But, at the same time, you should keep up the nutrition. It would help if you also allowed your body to get adequate rest.
Q. How long after lifting weights will I see results?
A. Muscle gain is a gradual process. It may take three to four weeks to notice a tangible difference. After 12 weeks, you should see some genuine benefits. However, it all depends on your goals and the sort of strength training you undertake.
Q. Is strength training good for your heart?
A. Yes, it is pretty beneficial for heart health. Strength training leads to decreased blood pressure issues and reduced bad cholesterol levels. At the same time, it improves blood circulation and the health of blood vessels.
Q. Does strength training burn calories?
A. Yes, strength training is an excellent calorie burner. It helps to speed up the metabolism function of your body. It also makes your calorie burn efficient even during rest hours.
Q. Can strength training be done at home?
A. Yes, you can do strength training at home. You can carry it on with or without the help of minimal equipment. However, it would be best to do it for 30 to 45 minutes two to three times a week.
Q. How long should a beginner hold a plank?
A. For true beginners with little to no physical activity in their daily dealings, even a 10-second plank can be a good start. After that, you can try it three times after a break. After that, you can extend this time to 30 seconds.
Q. Is it better to plank on your elbows or hands?
A. A forearm plank is more effective for targeting core muscles. Therefore, it is a safer option for you. On the other hand, a regular straight-arm plank is better for total-body training.
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