Not only does strength training help you keep the weight off for good, but it can also benefit your heart, improve your balance and strengthen your bones. Strength training is not just about lifting heavy at the gym, but it can benefit all people, even those who suffer from health conditions like arthritis or heart disease.
So, push past your comfort zone and add some strength into your training for both physical and mental benefits. The key to making your strength training more effective is to progressively vary your program every 6 to 8 weeks. These variables include sets, reps, exercises, intensity, weights, frequency and the rest in between sets. If you vary your program, you will maintain and strengthen your gains, and promote the growth of new ones. And you will reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
There are many ways you can use resistance training to strengthen your muscles, whether at the gym, at home, or outdoors. You can try free weights, weight machines, medicine balls, resistance bands and even your own bodyweight even you're on the go. So you have a lot of options that will help you vary your program, and they are versatile enough that you can adjust them to your daily life.
- Greater Self-Esteem
If you train long-term, you'll get a sense of mastery out of your effort and dedication. This will give you a feeling of competency and strength. A study researching the effects of aerobic exercises in comparison to resistance training on mental health in obese adolescents, demonstrated that the group of teens who performed resistance training for four weeks had a significant increase in self-esteem and perceived strength.
- Enable Brain Power
Exercise improves cognitive thinking, but weightlifting can do better. It can help ward off dementia, improve long-term memory, and it can improve your capacity for practical skills. One Italian study conducted research on 2 groups of people who did strength training and cardio separately for 12 weeks. The people who completed their strength training program showed improved improved capacity for practical skills, while those who completed their cardio regimen had a boost on their analytic tasks.
- Body-Image Correction
Strength training will slowly, but surely, distance you from the way you perceive your body and the goals you set it for, and instead it will discipline you to set goals for your strength and training. It shifts your perspective from achieving a number on the scale, to taking you through the process of becoming stronger, healthier and feeling empowered.
- Increased Metabolic Rate
In the long run, strength training burns more calories than cardio does, not necessarily during the workout, but afterwards. The metabolic increase of someone who lifts heavy regularly can last up to 48 hours, just in time to hit another workout session. It does this through a process called 'physiologic homework'. The body uses more calories to maintain muscle and not fat, and that makes it great for starting a weight loss plan.
- Bone and Muscle Health
As we grow older (meaning right after puberty!), we start losing about 1% of our bone and muscle strength with every passing year. The best way to prevent the weakening and deterioration of bones and muscle tissue is to start adding some weights into our routines. Not only can weight training prevent this sort of damage from happening, but it can also reverse it by slowing down the aging process.
- Strength and Power
Resistance training or weightlifting training makes your muscles stretch and tone by contracting them against a resisting force. There are two types of resistance training that can help you boost your overall athletic activities and daily life:
- Isometric resistance - it contracts your muscles against a stationary object or surface. For example, a push-up against the floor is an isometric resistance exercise.
- Isotonic strength training - it contracts your muscles through a range your motion, like lifting weights.
Both of these types of strength training involve heavy loads on the muscles and joints, so in order to distribute that kind of pressure and prevent injuries, we recommend that you wear compression leggings and compression shirts.
- Better Body Mechanics
Strength training not only helps you lose weight and tone your muscles in order to look good. But if performed correctly, it will definitely improve your posture, which is what actually makes an athlete look powerful and on top of things. This will improve your flexibility, balance and reduce the risk of collapsing as you get older.
- Disease Prevention
There is no secret that the most recommended treatment for arthritis is exercise. But strength training in particular helps reduce joint pain and it can help increase bone density, while reducing the risk of bone fractures. Because prevention is key, and because working out with arthritis can be a painful start, wear compression garments to reduce joint and muscle pain, reduce fatigue and speed up recovery.
How to Get Started
- The Right Exercises
In order to start your resistance training on the right foot, choose the right exercises for your goals. Multi-joint exercises are the best for a multitude of reasons and they are far more challenging than single-joint exercises. They are better for building muscle and losing body-fat. But single joint exercises are also great for bringing up lagging body parts and for shaping certain muscles.
Even if weightlifting looks daunting, the fitness community has a secret: compression garments! Athletes use them not only when they work out, but in their recovery time as well. Compression shirts will protect your entire torso and keep your muscles warm during multi-joint movements, while compression leggings will stabilize your hip flexors and protect your posterior chain against muscle trauma.
- Proper Weight
First of all, warm-up! And then choose the right weight for you to start your strength training. The right weight for you is that which allows you to perform of a set of 8-12 repetitions without feeling like you are going to faint, or feeling like this is way too easy for you. So test your weights before you go into your workout. Of course, there are more movements that will require less reps with heavier weights, and higher reps with lighter weights.
Again, the appropriate weight will be the one that allows you to complete a set without feeling too heavy or too light. Progressively increase the weights as you grow stronger, to ensure you are making significant progress. Wear compression gear when you lift weights, because this will help you distribute that pressure consistently and it will keep your muscles warm during the exercise.
- Controlled Movement
Control your movement and the acceleration with which you perform your exercises, and never perform your exercises with the same speed. This will prevent overuse injuries from occurring and it will ensure that your exercise is performed correctly. Inhale as you lift, exhale at the top of your movement and use your breath to control the way you move. This sort of discipline you'll improve your form for more efficient results!
- Rest and Recover
Take your rests in between sets, no shorter than 10 seconds and no longer than 60 seconds. Different exercises require different rest periods, but the average is 10-60 seconds. Take that time in between your sets to breathe, have a sip of water, but don't just stop to check your Instagram. If you can, don't stop at all and stretch as you breathe and prepare for your next exercise.
For your recovery time, make sure you weight up to 48 hours before returning to the gym, especially if you are new to strength training. While compression leggings and shirts will speed up your recovery and reduce soreness, your muscles still need a little bit of time to repair and prepare for the workout ahead. Plus, your metabolic rate will be increased by now and you'll continue to burn calories up to 48 hours. However, don't be lazy and don't binge on junk food. Stretch and eat lean during your recovery!
If you’ve been working out for some time now, maybe it’s time to refresh your memory and remember all the amazing benefits that kept you lifting all this time. But if you are new to strength training, you will definitely love to see the results after your first sessions. Strength training really is for everyone!
Remember to start your training with the proper weight for you and wear proper gym gear to prevent injuries, and to look and feel good while you work out! Pay attention to your rest in between sets, they are very important for the set ahead, just as your recovery day is very important for your workout ahead. Just follow these tips and you’ll see amazing results in no time!