Strength Training is training with the aim of improving your muscles ability to contract and produce a greater output during mechanical loading.
To train strength you need to overload the muscular, nervous, and skeletal system. To do this you need to be working within a repetition range that allows for the greatest stimulus for the body to adapt, overcome, and become stronger. Guidelines for strength training are as following:
- Strength 75% - 85% of your 1 rep max for 4 – 6 reps.
- Absolute strength 85% and above of your 1 rep max for 1 – 3 reps (this will be more specific to the sport of Powerlifting).
If you drop below this percentage range you’ll be working in what’s called a hypertrophy range (training with the specific purpose to increase muscular size). If you are a beginner you may still increase your strength working in this percentage range, but as you become more advanced you’ll need to increase the intensity to keep gaining strength.
The benefits of regular strength training are phenomenal:
- Improved bone density, structure, and strength. (Journal of bone and mineral research 2017)
- Burns calories and has been seen as an effective long-term strategy to keep the weight off as opposed to just diet and aerobic training. (Journal of Obesity 2017)
- Improves proprioception, which is essentially the body’s ability to balance and coordinate. Strength training in elderly people has been shown to help reduce the number of falls by up to 40%. (researchgate.net)
- Improve some chronic autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, this is due to the joint being used on a regular basis, which means they are being lubricated by synovial fluid more regularly and there is increased blood flow to the area. (arthritis.org)
- Strength training has been shown to have a positive impact on those suffering from mental health issues. (The Journal of clinical psychiatry)
My experience as a coach:
I got into strength training because I played sport and wanted to improve my performance. I just wanted to be quicker, faster, and be able to run longer than anyone else.
As a young trainer, I wanted to train people who wanted those things, who only cared about their sports and performance. As every young trainer starts to realise, there aren’t many of those people around and even fewer who are willing to pay coaches money to help them. So the clientele I had was the same as every other trainer, members of the public, regular people! But I didn’t want to change my approach, I still wanted to help my clients become stronger, and feel better, and that’s exactly what happened. Hearing clients tell me how their chronic back pain was no longer bothering them, that they could play with their kids or grandkids easier and for longer that kind of feedback was priceless and cemented my thoughts on strength training, which is… Everyone should do it!
I have never had a single client who hasn’t felt better in some way from strength training!