24 May Why everyone should strength train
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions placed around strength training. This may be a result of your stereotypical gym junkie throwing weights around in the gym or the many unfounded reasons why a lot of women and elderly people shy away from lifting weights.
This article will share with you some of the benefits of strength training and why it should be a part of everyone’s regular routine.
Firstly strength training does not have to be Olympic lifting, powerlifting or Crossfit type sessions; all great forms of training if done correctly and relevant to your individual goals, but strength training can consist of simple body weight exercises done at home or in the park, using bands and other forms of resistance or some basic equipment. There are many ways to go about it suitable for everyone!
The benefits cannot be denied, research has continually shown that it is an effective form of exercise to promote many health and performance benefits.
Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to:
Improved muscular strength, muscle mass and tone
The human body is a great machine and will adapt to specific stressors allowing us to develop physiologically in many ways. By strength training regularly you are placing your muscles under load, which will then adapt to grow stronger. Through different training protocols muscle fibres can also increase in size leading to greater lean muscle mass. Similarly, bones adapt to appropriate forces by also becoming stronger and more dense. By completing specific movement patterns effectively you may also be able to improve your flexibility and joint mobility leading to a more functional musculoskeletal system that’s is stronger, more mobile and more resilient.
Sports performance and athletic development
A flow on effect from the benefits stated above comes in performance gains and athletic development. After laying the foundations of strength and mobility, a periodised strength program will develop a more complete athlete which can then allow for sports specific improvements in speed, power, agility, balance, coordination and prevent injury in amateur and competitive athletes alike.
One of the first physiological adaptations to occur will be improved neuromuscular function, meaning the nervous system will recruit the appropriate muscle fibres at a faster rate and more efficiently whilst exercising. This is especially beneficial to endurance athletes whereby movement efficiency and coordination is improved. For example strength training protocols have been shown to improve running economy and movement economy which promotes a higher rate of force development and delays the onset of fatigue during endurance events.
Chronic disease management and elderly people
Exercise is essential as a treatment and prevention for common lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and arthritis. Strength training will help control blood glucose levels in diabetics or those at risk of diabetes, can help manage high blood pressure, strengthen muscles and bones to help manage arthritis and allow active living and improve quality of life in the elderly population. Safe and effective programming is essential for these populations to promote confidence and exercise adherence.
Improves body composition
Quite often a focus for a lot of people is how they look and feel. Strength training is one of these best forms of exercise to promote weight loss and achieve optimal body composition. This is because exercises targeting the major muscle groups will increase metabolism post exercise, build lean muscle mass further increasing resting metabolic rate and improving muscle tone. This in turn can improve confidence and motivation as people feel better and will actually notice physical changes.
As you can see these are just some of the benefits but additional benefits may be psychological or social benefits that can further improve overall health and well-being which is why strength training should be a part of everyone’s regular physical activity routine.
If you are unsure where to start contact your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist to assist with specific programming and coaching to help achieve your goals.
Aaron Ashdown – Accredited Exercise Physiologist