What is Strength Training?
“Strength training is a type of physical exercise specialising in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles”.
The above is what you will find on many websites if you type the question in google. I will now sum it up in a non-scientific way by explaining what it means to me.
What Strength Training means to me!
To me strength training is the ability to control your body throughout certain movements whether this is in the gym or in an everyday normal lifestyle. Having a decent level of strength will ease your life in so many ways.
I see so many people who can’t air squat without their knee’s buckling under the stress, people who struggle to push their own bodyweight off the floor, and people who struggle to stand up from a chair without an aid. I am not just talking about elderly people either; I am talking about people of all ages and both genders.
There is absolutely nothing medically wrong with these people. They just rarely do these movements so why would their muscles be strong enough? A lot of people due to the pressures & comforts of life let their strength wither away. The pressures include work & family commitments and the comforts include lack of walking due to transportation and the comfort of their very own sofa while spending hours in front of the TV. All of these over the years have contributed to a lack of strength. Below are just a few reasons why you should be doing some type of strength training.
Benefits of Strength Training:
- 1.A good level of strength can help you cope better with the demands of daily occurrences, e.g. cleaning, picking objects up, looking after children, food shopping and much more.
- 2.Improved bone density which will lead to a decreased risk of osteoporosis.
- 3.Can help lower high blood pressure.
- 4.Reduces stress & anxiety, as well improving confidence.
- 5.Increases good cholesterol (HDL, high density lipoprotein).
- 6.Decreases bad cholesterol (LDL, low density lipoprotein).
- 7.Reduces estrogen levels
- 8.Improves the immune system (when proper recovery is taken into consideration).
- 9.Helps reduce body fat and improves muscle tone.
- 10.Greater strength levels lead to better endurance levels.
- 11.Helps with injury prevention.
- 12.Improves posture.
- 13.Helps delay muscle degeneration/atrophy.
- 14.Increases energy levels, the stronger you are the easier your body can tackle tasks and leave you with energy left over.
- 15.Improves the range of motion and flexibility in muscles, tendons and ligaments.
There you have 15 reasons why you should do some sort of strength training!
Types of Strength Training
Bodyweight/Callisthenics – Using the weight of your own body to perform exercises e.g. air squats, press ups, pull ups, dips, plank, Burpee’s etc.
Resistance machines – Machines that have set movements which you can add loaded weight to and perform the movement e.g. chest press, pec dec, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, shoulder press etc.
Free weights – consisting of any object that isn’t fixed to anything, e.g. barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, various strongman apparatus etc.
Positives and negatives can be found from each of these types of strength training and there are people who are very pro to a certain type of training and very negative to another type. The truth is all these types of training have a place in training it’s all about knowing when and how to use them!