Many people who exercise or who are new to the world of fitness feel that strength training is only associated with more experienced athletes. This could not be further from the truth. There are too many physical, health and mental benefits to leave strength training outside of your training schedule. Here is the why and how you should include this important piece in any training program:
The benefits of weight training
Actually, there is a long list of why you should include strength training in your program.
Strength training not only increases your physical work capacity, but also improves your ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL). You will be able to work harder and longer with the proper weight training activities.
Improves bone density. One of the best ways you can control bone loss as you get older is to add strength training to your training plan.
Promotes non-fat body mass with decreasing sarcopenia. The lean muscle mass that we all work so hard decreases with age. If we do not add strength training to our routine, then it will become fat.
Increases the strength of the connective tissue, muscles and tendons. This leads to better engine performance and a lower risk of injury.
Improve your quality of life as you gain confidence in your body. Strength training will not only strengthen you, it will also help you control your weight.
How should you start?
Making an appointment with a personal trainer or a fitness specialist is a great first step to begin weight training. These professionals can show you the right way, explain the basic concepts and establish a weekly program. For experienced athletes, these professionals can explain how to overload the body so it can continue to gain strength and endurance.
The basics of setting up a program
Start slowly This will decrease your chance of injury and pain.
Start with individual sets and advance to several sets.
Use the correct amount of weight. Using too much weight will increase your chances of injury because your form will suffer. Vice versa, by not using enough weight your muscles will not be challenged and you will not experience the desired benefits of weight training. How do you know you are lifting the right amount of weight? It must be difficult to perform the last repetitions without understanding your form.
Give your muscles time to rest and recover. You must wait at least 48 hours before training the same muscle group one more time.
Burn more calories during the day. Your body works harder to keep the muscles on the fat. Strength training can increase your metabolism to burn more calories during the day.
Weight training does not have to be boring. Changing your routine to keep your body guessing is the perfect way to receive strength gains and decrease boredom. Change your routine using machines, weights, bars, bands and even your own body weight.
Also, change your routine as much as possible. You can do this by changing the number of sets or repetitions, the time between sets, choosing different exercises and varying your speed are just a few suggestions.
It is important to understand the basic aspects of strength training and why you should incorporate this activity into your training program. Once you know all the benefits you will receive from these exercises, you will want to start immediately to improve your quality of life and burn those extra calories.
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Kristin Gustafson is an Allied Health degree instructor at Rasmussen College in Minnesota. She has a Master of Science in Exercise, Exercise Physiology and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation. She has worked in the field of fitness for more than 10 years. His experience includes teaching, working in wellness centers and cardiac rehabilitation centers, teaching group gymnastics classes, being a personal trainer and career coach.