Defying Gravity: Strength Training Essential

Strength training is very important for almost everyoneโ€™s workout regime, but before we dive into why strength training is a major contributor , firstly we need to discover what is meant by strength training.

What is strength training?

Strength training, also known as resistance training or weightlifting, is a type of physical exercise focused on increasing muscular strength, power, and endurance. It involves performing exercises that target specific muscle groups or movements, utilizing resistance to challenge and overload the muscles.

The primary goal of strength training is to stimulate muscle adaptation and promote muscular growth and development. This is achieved by subjecting the muscles to progressively increasing levels of resistance, which can be provided through various means such as free weights (dumbbells, barbells), weight machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises.

 

Forms of strength training

Strength training encompasses various forms and techniques that aim to increase muscular strength, endurance, and overall physical performance. Here are some of the different forms of strength training:

Free Weights

This form of strength training involves using dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, or other types of weights. Exercises like bench press, squats, deadlifts, and bicep curls are common examples.

Resistance Machines

These machines provide a guided range of motion and resistance. They target specific muscle groups and are commonly found in gyms. Examples include leg press machines, chest press machines, and lat pulldown machines.

Bodyweight Training

No equipment is needed for bodyweight training as it relies on using your body as resistance. Exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and planks fall into this category.

Circuit Training

Circuit training involves performing a series of exercises in a specific order, often targeting different muscle groups. It combines strength training and cardiovascular exercise, providing a full-body workout. Participants move from one exercise to the next with minimal rest periods.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. It can incorporate various exercises like bodyweight movements, plyometrics, and cardio exercises. HIIT workouts are efficient and time-effective.

Olympic Weightlifting

This form of strength training focuses on two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. It requires explosive power, technique, and coordination. Olympic weightlifting is both a competitive sport and a training method.

Powerlifting

Powerlifting emphasizes three primary lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. It focuses on maximizing strength and is also a competitive sport. Powerlifters aim to lift the heaviest weight possible in each lift.

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises involve rapid muscle contractions, aiming to improve explosive power. Examples include box jumps, medicine ball throws, and depth jumps. Plyometrics are often incorporated into sports training.

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises involve rapid muscle contractions, aiming to improve explosive power. Examples include box jumps, medicine ball throws, and depth jumps. Plyometrics are often incorporated into sports training.

Isometric Training

Isometric exercises involve holding a static position or resisting an immovable object. They target specific muscle groups and improve muscular endurance and stability. Planks and wall sits are common isometric exercises.

These are just some of the many forms of strength training available. It’s important to choose exercises and techniques that align with your fitness goals, abilities, and preferences. It’s also recommended to seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional to ensure proper form and technique while performing strength training exercises.

How can strength training methods help you achieve your goals? Some may surprise you!

Strength training makes you stronger

If your goal is to get stronger, then strength training is for you. By working out your muscles, not only will you look and feel better but you will gain strength over time. In order to do this, the progressive overload principle is required to continue to make strength gains. The progressive overload principle tells us we need to continually increase the weight and/or repetitions, or reduce the time between sets to reduce the plateau of strength. This will challenge, or shock the muscle into having no choice but to grow. Accompanied by a strong diet, progressive overload in your strength training will lead to gains.

Strength training burns more calories than you think

While cardiovascular exercise may burn more calories in the same amount of time as you would doing a strength workout, the benefits of strength training last much longer after the workout is finished. It has been seen in some cases, the basal metabolic rate is increased for up to 48 hours later which means you continue to burn calories long after a strength workout is complete. A great benefit you might not have realised when working out.

Strength training helps reduce your weight – and keep it there!

Consistent and continual strength training, as mentioned above, can be as beneficial, if not more than cardiovascular exercise due to the increased metabolic rate after the strength workout is complete. Doing this for long periods of time can ensure not only you lose weight, but you can maintain the weight you want. Accompany this with a diet suited to your needs and this will optimise your strength gains and weight management.

Strength training improves body mechanics (if done correctly)

Strength training, and in particular your core, glutes and rotator cuffs, are majorly important to ensure you can see great results and continue your workouts for years to come. Effective movement should be emphasised over heavy lifting. Performing the exercise correctly allows for better tension on the muscle and reduces the risk of injury. Not only is it important to perform the exercises effectively, you MUST warm up your muscles and the right muscles for your workout.

For any upper body workouts, it is essential to not only warm up the muscle groups being targeted, but the rotator cuffs which are known as stabilising muscles. These support your bigger muscles and the muscles we work out. Some examples of rotator cuff exercises are below. For lower body workouts, it is important to warm up the glutes and core through stretching and foam rolling. Example of lower body stretches are below.

But in order to continue with strength training long term, it is hugely important to perform the exercises correctly.

Strength training can boost your mood

During and after strength training, the brain releases endorphins which makes us feel better. The release of these endorphins will most likely make you want to have that feeling again. This is great because not only do you feel good, but it will make you want to continue strength training. Consistency is key and by strength training on a regular basis a cycle is created which if performed, will drastically improve your health.

Benefits of strength training include:

Increased muscle strength and power: Regular strength training can lead to improved strength, allowing individuals to perform daily tasks more easily and with less effort. It can also enhance athletic performance in sports and other physical activities.

Muscle growth and hypertrophy: Strength training stimulates the growth and development of muscles, leading to increased muscle mass, size, and definition.

Enhanced bone density: Strength training helps improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, especially in older individuals.

Metabolic benefits: Strength training can boost metabolism, increase calorie expenditure, and promote fat loss. It also helps maintain or increase lean muscle mass, which is important for overall body composition.

Improved joint health and flexibility: Strengthening the muscles around joints can enhance joint stability and reduce the risk of injuries. Additionally, regular strength training can improve flexibility and range of motion in the muscles and joints.

Overall health benefits: Strength training has been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, better insulin sensitivity, reduced blood pressure, and enhanced mental well-being.

3 of the best strength training exercises:

Squats

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.

Engage your core and keep your chest up.

Lower your body by bending at the knees and hips, as if you’re sitting back into a chair.

Go as low as you comfortably can while maintaining proper form, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Push through your heels to return to the starting position.

Perform 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Bench Press

Lie on a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground.

Grip the barbell with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Unrack the bar and lower it to your chest while maintaining control.

Press the bar back up to the starting position, extending your arms fully.

Perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 repetitions

Deadlift

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes under the barbell.

Bend at the hips and knees, lowering your body until your shins touch the bar.

Grasp the bar with an overhand or mixed grip, hands shoulder-width apart.

Keep your back straight, chest up, and engage your core.

Drive through your heels, extend your hips and knees, and lift the bar by standing up.

Reverse the movement and lower the bar back to the ground with control.

Perform 3-5 sets of 4-8 repetitions.

Remember to warm up before each workout and start with lighter weights to ensure proper form and reduce the risk of injury. As you become more comfortable and stronger, gradually increase the resistance or weight you’re using. It’s also important to rest between sets and allow your muscles time to recover and adapt.

Related articles

hear it first

Stay in the loop and sign up for our updates to get the latest nutrition tips, supplements, resources and more right to your inbox! At Suppify, we have made it easier than ever to stay on top of the ever-changing world of health and fitness.

Name(Required)