The Benefits of Strength Training

The Benefits of Strength Training

Home is a great place to do this stuff.  Equipment is more space-efficient than ever.  You can get more done, more often, and do it properly.  Fit better with your own plans.  More flexibility.  So, get better results.  And no contracts, queues, distractions, waiting for equipment, annoying music, travel time - and wasted time.  Your own 24/7 gym, set up and loaded just the way you want it.

Not just strength, but weight loss, leanness, and cardio fitness. Strength training should be at the heart of fitness plans.

No longer regarded as a sweaty activity just for testosterone-laden males, strength training can give you the best of everything in strength and fitness and associated health gains.  It offers cardio benefits and fat loss on top of strength gains.  You simply do higher numbers of repetitions and take shorter breaks.  And it's much less boring than a treadmill, exercycle or cross trainer.   Better still, your body doesn't adapt to the exercise, and sabotage your fat-burning effort the way it does with steady-state cardio.   How?  Because strength-training, with its highly varied intensities, isn't steady-state! Your body doesn't get a chance to figure out the adaptation. So you get lean strength.  (Watch what goes in your mouth though; it's still the biggest factor if you want to be lean. And the science behind weight-loss machines that wobble your belly is non-existent)

How Healthy Is Resistance Training? 

This question was posed to a coach, Darren Beattie, on Quora.com, where he has thousands of followers, presumably built up through the  insight of his answers to questions posed on the site.  He gives a comprehensive and well-expressed answer to a question that's not often asked.  Read it here.

American College Of Sports Medicine Recommendation on Strength Training  (ACSM is the world's largest exercise science organisation)

The ACSM recommends two to three days per week of resistance training. "The health benefits of resistance (strength)  training are well established and include improved cardiovascular disease risk, glucose tolerance, bone density, blood pressure and body composition, as well as reduced pain and disability"

Why Strength Training Can Be A Great Cardio Solution

There's one view that says you build strength with weight training, and get your cardio with running, jogging, cycling, etc., etc.   This is false and limiting.  Strength training is a good way to get cardio done, period.  And it offers benefits beyond strict cardio.

We need some definition.  A long-time definition says that aerobics is exercise fueled mainly by oxygen carried to muscles by the bloodstream, and obtained through steady-state, or continuous, unvaried and nonstop activity for an extended period of time (typically 20 minutes or more) (Anaerobic exercise is that which isn't steady-state, but done in bursts or very periods and which uses other fuels such as ATP (adenosine triphosphate), creatine phosphate and lactic acid. Example – heavy lifting)

But... much exercise that’s regarded as not-steady-state, in other words, pressing and lifting, can be highly aerobic.  Read more here.

Not Doing The Things That Make You Strong Has Its Consequences

When you consult a medical professional about exercise, the standard recommendation amounts to a prescription for a certain number of minutes per day or per week. The conventional wisdom equates “exercise” with “cardio” — endurance exercise performed at a low to moderate intensity for a continuous period of time. We call it LSD (long, slow distance). The assumption seems to be that as long as your heart is capable of working at 65% of its assumed maximum capacity, that’s all you need to do.

The fact is, a properly designed strength training program constitutes a much better use of the same amount of time a “cardio” workout takes, and provides far more benefits to your quality of life.  Read more here.

NOT Strength Training Has GREATER Consequences As We Age

Stronger people live longer.   Yet we're so often told how important it is to walk/jog/bike, but hardly ever reminded to do our deadlifts, presses and squats.  Yet, no generation has as much to gain from resistance training.   And that's not just for those aged 50-65 years.  It can stretch well beyond. Major gains have been shown in strength trainers in their 80's.  Stronger bones, joints, muscles, heart; greater agility.   Read the full article here

The Case For A Home Gym

Wasted Time and Frustration at the Regular Gym

We all know about travel time, parking and getting organised for the gym.  You don’t have those things to concern you if you do it at home.  In fact, the process of making the decision is much simpler.  You’re there – near your gear and equipment, and it’s hardly a decision at all.  The big thing is you’ll get the training done more frequently.  And get onto something else faster.

But what about things that can bug us when we’ve reached the gym?  Here are a few...Read more here

Just Diet And You'll Lose As Much Muscle As Fat. Same With Cardio

Just diet and you lose muscle as much as fat. Just do cardio and you lose muscle as well. Not good long term.However, muscle is a burner of fat, so it’s better to do whatever you can to keep it. And muscle keeps burning fat, even at rest. (Cardio fat-burning stops when you stop the cardio). Ten kilos of muscle will send 6 kilos of fat out the door in a year this way if you were to do enough to just keep the muscle there. And it would keep doing it. (If the rest of your diet didn’t change)  Strength training fires up more growth hormone than cardio, as well. This also promotes greater fat burning.  Look better, be stronger, and have a more effective fat-burning engine, even at rest. Is this a good idea?

Another Way Strength Training Can Bring You More Than Just Strength

A cyclist with huge quadriceps power can be out-sprinted by someone with much lesser thighs. Strength training can help make your muscles outperform those of someone who’s naturally stronger (or perhaps who trained much earlier) because your muscles have developed a better brain-muscle connection, improving the way muscles work together...  Read more

Productive Home Gyms Versus Useless Ones

Authoritative weight training sites include the following in their list of the most important exercises for building strength:  squats, deadlifts bench presses, rows, pull-downs (or pull-ups/chin ups) , military presses, and dips. They're known as compound exercises, because they use combinations of all major muscle groups in natural movements.  All the important pushing and pulling in different planes (angles)..Read more

Principal Types of Strength Training Equipment - Understand Them

With serious strength-training, there are important distinctions between tools that are worth knowing.  They’re all valid, but each involves different physical and mechanical processes, and potentially different outcomes.  Read more

Grip Strength, and Its Importance

Your ability to lift something heavy, depends much on your grip strength – what you can’t hold properly, you can’t lift. It translates into a reality in life - there’s a strong relationship between grip strength and long life.  Read more

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