Strength Training Basics and Benefits

Strength training is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles. There are many different methods of strength training, the most common being the use of gravity or elastic and/or hydraulic force to oppose muscle contraction.

When properly performed, strength training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being including increased bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength and toughness, improved joint function, reduced potential for injury, improved cardiac function and elevated good cholesterol. Training commonly uses the technique of progressively increasing the force output of the muscle through incremental increases of weight, elastic tension or other resistance, and uses a variety of exercises and types of equipment to target specific muscle groups. Strength training is primarily an anaerobic activity, although some proponents have adapted it to provide the benefits of aerobic exercise through circuit training.

A Few Benefits of Strength Training:

  • Strength training increases the body’s metabolic rate. By increasing the body’s basal metabolic rate, the body will burn more calories throughout the day during exercise or while at rest. More lean muscle = more calories burned.
  • Inactivity and aging can lead to a decrease in bone density and brittleness. Studies have clearly proven that consistent strength training can increase bone density and prevent Osteoporosis.
  • Increasing lean muscle mass not only increases your metabolic rate but also provides the body with more muscle strength and endurance. This gives the body the ability to work harder and longer, play more, as well as feel vibrant and alive.
  • Strength training programs have long been of affiliated with a wide variety of health benefits including decreasing cholesterol and lowering your blood pressure which lowers your risk for coronary heart disease. Strength training is also very beneficial for diabetics.
  • Rehabilitation of muscle helps to heal many types of injuries. By strengthening the muscles surrounding the injured area this speeds up the healing process.
  • No matter what your favorite sport or physical activity, with the proper strength training program, your performance in sports and/or exercise routine can greatly be improved.
  • The Fountain of Youth! Maybe? Making strength training a consistent part of your life will ensure that you age gracefully. Physical activity keeps us young and vibrant. Strength training ensures we are strong enough to participate in aerobic activities, outdoor recreation, and sports. A senior who strength trains is less likely to have falls. If or when they do fall down, their stronger bones are more resistant to breaks and/or fractures and less likely to be injured by the fall. Also, they are able to heal more quickly after an injury.
  • Improves elf-esteem and increases self-confidence. There are few things better than looking in the mirror and seeing a healthy, lean and vibrant you looking back at yourself. As challenging as strength training can be, few things are as satisfying as completing a good solid strength training routine. Strong bones can have a dramatic impact on posture and perfectly toned muscles look great on everyone!