Updated: Jun 23
Strength training isn't just for bodybuilders, it's beneficial for people of all ages and levels for optimal health and staying in shape.
Strengthening your muscles can help you not only perform everyday activities better, but it can also protect your body from getting injured. Strength training doesn't have to be complicated either; there are plenty of simple exercises that you can do a few times a week with either free weights or your body weight that we will get into later. Adding strength training exercises to your routine will maximize your fitness; here's why!
Although strength training can sound intimidating, it's based on functional movements like pushing, pulling, lifting, and squatting. We perform these types of movements on an everyday basis, but strength training will build more muscle and coordination to enhance your abilities. Yes, strength training will build those biceps, but it will also help you carry your groceries with ease and prevent a broken bone if you trip.
What Are the Benefits of Strength Training?
1. Increases Strength
Strength training's most obvious benefit is increased strength. When you train your muscles, whether using your body weight or machinery, your muscles will ultimately get stronger and that will allow you to do daily tasks easier.
2. Improves Body Mechanics
Incorporating strength training just a few times a week can improve balance, posture, and coordination. Strength training teaches you proper technique and form for carrying your body in different positions and strengthening each muscle group to reduce stress on ligaments. Overall, this will improve the alignment and function of your body.
3. Activates Your Metabolism
Did you know that muscles burn calories at rest? We all know that cardio exercise burns calories, but so does strength training! Muscles burn more calories than fat, so the more muscle you gain, the more calories you burn at rest, and the more your metabolism is working.
4. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
According to Dr. Satjit Bhusri featured in a Well + Good article, strength training increases heart rate and blood pressure more than jogging, strengthening the heart muscle over time. Strength training also lowers blood pressure and helps you lose weight, both essential to a healthy heart.
5. Increases Bone Density
As we age, our bones become more brittle and susceptible to breakage, so keeping them strong is important. A study done in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research proved that strength training improved bone density and structure in women with low bone mass.
6. Eases Muscle Pain
Strength training evens out muscular imbalances, such as back pain flaring up when lifting a heavy box. By training your muscles, the strength and function of connective tissues will reduce the chronic pain you may experience daily.
Different Ways to Strength Train
If you're wondering where to start, or what strength training entails, consider trying out some of the options below:
Free weights: equipment not fastened to the ground, like dumbbells, medicine balls, or kettlebells. The perks of free weights are that they are portable, small, and usually not too heavy so you can either use them in the gym or buy your own personal ones!
Body weight: exercise using your body weight, such as planks and squats. This can be as effective as using free weights or machines if done right, and it's more convenient! You can strength train at home or the gym with no equipment necessary.
Weight machines: machines that have adjustable weights to supply resistance to the muscles, like a lat pull-down machine. Machines are great for beginners because they not only tell you how to use them, but it isolates a group of muscles for you.
Resistance bands: rubber bands that loop around your arms or legs to provide resistance when stretched. These are a top option for beginners or anyone uncomfortable with equipment. They're also portable, easy to use, versatile, and can be scaled to any level.
From beginners to advanced athletes, homebodies to gym rats, there are strength training options for everyone.
Don't Forget About Cardio!
Research shows that for optimal health and wellness, you should be participating in both cardio and strength exercises. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that healthy adults should engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, as well as muscle-strengthening exercise twice per week.
Some good examples of cardio exercises include:
Start Strength Training Today!
Fit Societe's LivFit group fitness class takes a three-dimensional functional approach to cardio and strength to develop athletic performance. In collaboration with physical therapists, our performance coaches create an unmatched fitness and recovery model. Get started today with a free consultation!
Ariela Liberman is a Marketing Associate and a staff writer for Fit Societe, with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Born and raised in San Diego, she is a Southern California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.
Reviewed By: Scott Ryan, BS, CSCS, CF-L1, CF-W, BFRC
A professional coach who specializes in Applied Functional Science, Strength and Conditioning, CrossFit L1, and Olympic Lifting. He attended New England College in New Hampshire obtaining a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Biomechanics. He has a passion for injury prevention and coaching, as he was a collegiate athlete who suffered sports injuries. His goal is to get athletes back to optimal shape as well as prevent future injuries.