Strength Training and the Benefits Behind it
Do you want to reduce the amount of fat on your body, compete in a bodybuilding show, or just strengthen your total body for everyday tasks? Well, then you need to be incorporating some sort of strength training into your weekly routine! Bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, free weights, and weight machines are all useful tools to incorporate into your strength training routine. Merriam-Webster defines strength training as “activities that make muscles stronger” (Merriam-Webster). Strength training has a multitude of benefits and is very important because of its ability to develop strong bones, manage your weight, and enhance your quality of living. These are all important aspects of everybody’s life because these are all components that will prolong our lives and lead to a higher quality of life!
1. Developing Strong Bones
One reason strength training is so beneficial is that it can help you develop strong bones. Many people believe that strength training only translates to weight management and building muscle, but it builds more than just muscle like bone density and this can help minimize the risk of a fracture due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps (Learn What Osteoporosis). Strength training helps build bone density because during each training session a client is putting stress on their bones causing them to build density over time as greater forces are being put on them. An important tool that can help lead to this is something called progressive overload and this is defined by adding weight over time to your exercises, adding more reps than you usually do to each exercise, or increasing the amount of time your muscles and bones are under stress during each workout session. Progressive overload is supposed to be a progressive approach to strengthening your muscles and bones. If too much stress is put on the muscle or bones too quickly then this can lead to injuries and put more harm on your body that is not needed.
So how can incorporate progressive overload into your workout routine? Well, it's simple! For example, let’s say you are doing a barbell squat and you are doing 3 sets of 10 reps. For the first week focus on doing 3 sets of 10 reps at the same weight of 135 lbs. Then the next week when you do the barbell squat again try adding 5lbs for 3 sets of 10 reps. Then for the third week, try adding 5 more lbs. for 3 sets of 10 reps. So, by week 3 you are performing 3 sets of 10 reps with 145 lbs. Now, this is just one way to incorporate progressive overload so try increasing the amount of time your muscles are under tension by holding an isometric position or decreasing your rest time.
2. Managing Your Weight
Strength training can help you manage your weight because of its ability to increase your lean body mass which will lead to a higher metabolism and help your burn more calories. If you compare a pound of muscle to a pound of fat, you’ll see that muscle takes up less space than fat. Take a look at this picture of 5 lbs. of fat vs 5 lbs. of muscle: