You’ve heard the term used a lot but you’re still not 100% sure what ‘Strength Training’ is? Don’t worry you’re not alone – here’s our guide on all things strength training.
Strength training is a type of physical exercise that improves muscular strength by gradually increasing the ability of the muscle to resist force using free weights, machines or body weight. This type of exercise creates muscle contraction which builds its strength, anaerobic endurance and size.
In a nutshell, this means exercise using resistance, for example weights or body weight, to stimulate the muscle to make it stronger.
What are the benefits?
Improvement in overall health and fitness
Improved muscle, tendon, and ligament strength and toughness
Improved joint function
Reduced potential for injury
Increased bone density
Improved cardiac function
How do you do it?
Pick an exercise and use the number of repetitions, sets, tempo you do to get the response you want from the muscle or group of muscles. The combination you choose of reps, sets, exercises, resistance and force depends on the goal.
It is easy to get confused, but we feel generally you can’t go far wrong with…
8 to 12 reps of an exercise for each major muscle group, one to two minutes of rest between exercise sets to allow for proper recovery. Two to four sets are recommended for each muscle group.
The last two reps should be tough – if you’re completing the reps easily and feel you could do more; increase the weight you are working with.
So now we’ve covered what it is and how you can incorporate it into your current exercise routine. Let’s look at some of the terminology you have likely come across and what it all means.
Form – each exercise has a specific way the movement should be performed that is safe and optimises muscle strength gains.
Rep – short for repetition, is a single cycle of lifting and lowering a weight under control.
Set – a set is several repetitions performed one after another with no break between them.
Tempo – the speed at which an exercise is performed.
What else is there to know about this type of training?
Improves Everyday Life
Strength training makes life easier. By this we mean things like carrying or lifting and generally improving your everyday movement. If you don’t fancy struggling with your shopping or getting up the stairs, then this type of exercise is for you.
Strength training is hands down the best way to be spending your time in the gym. It increases bone density, makes your heart stronger, reduces resting blood pressure, improves blood flow, prevents muscle loss and improves balance and coordination. Winner.
When you finish a strength workout, your body needs to work to replenish itself in order to recover and return to where you were pre-exercise. That takes energy and it is said that strength training can increase your metabolism for up to 38 hours after your workout finished.
Although overall weight loss might seem slower when your strength training, you lose inches faster. This style of training increases your metabolism and assuming you’re eating in a calorie deficit then you will lose weight. It is one of the most effective ways to see changes in body composition.
There’s always a question from females when it comes to this style of training.
Will I get too bulky?
Highly unlikely. Getting to the level of a female bodybuilder doesn’t happen overnight or by accident. Genetically we’re just not built that way, it would take a lot of time and a lot of effort to get that bulky look. You have nothing to worry about.
There you have it, the key things you should know about strength training.
Want someone to help guide you into your first strength training workout? Look no further. Get in touch.