Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Benefits of Strength Training

In this post I'll give my take on the importance of strength training. No, I'm not a doctor or a personal trainer. Nor am I super fit. This is just going to be my opinion.

These are all benefits that I have personally seen, although I haven't included my own personal experiences here. If you care, and lets be honest you probably don't and thats totally okay, you can ask me about my personal experiences with any of these things and I'll reply. But like I said, you probably don't care, and I am 100% cool with that.

Benefits of Strength Training

Strength training can increase bone density. Studies have been done both on the effect of strength training increasing bone density and the effect of a lack of strength training decreasing bone density. Especially in older people, brittle bones can cause numerous health problems. Although you can take calcium supplements, alone they are not nearly as effective as supplements and strength training together.

Building muscle is a result of strength training. Even when at rest, muscle burns more calories than fat. I admit here and now that the difference to your metabolism caused by one pound of fat vs one pound of muscle isn't huge, but we aren't talking a 1:1 ration here. Gain lots of muscle, lose lots of fat, and you can have a significant impact on the rate that your body burns calories.

Strength training can help to prevent injuries. By training muscles that you may not have otherwise, you will be less susceptible to injuring them. Also, problems or soreness prior to beginning a strength training regimen (i.e. bad back) don't necessarily mean that you should be babying the area (don't listen to my opinion on this one, talk to a doctor, obviously!). Often these issues stem from a pre existing weakness and making that part stronger can help or even get rid of the problem.

The 'toned' look. In order to look toned (muscle definition) you have to make your muscles grow and get rid of that layer of fat sitting over top of them. In order to make your muscles grow, you have to do resistance training in a way that will put stress on the tissue and cause it to tear and grow. High rep / light weight won't put this needed stress of the muscle. Cardio won't tone anything but the muscles you're using (probably your legs) and it won't work in the way you're hoping. Women are built differently then men, and working out using challenging weights will NOT cause you to bulk up like a bodybuilder. Those men and women spend hours daily on their physique and eat an incredibly healthy diet (and lets face it, many need to take steroids) to get that look. You will not get that look doing your average strength training workout 2-3 times a week.

Studies have shown that strength training can help fight depression. Wether it is the release of endorphins that comes with doing an exercise or the extra energy that you will have from doing a fitness routine, there are undeniable benefits. It is worth pointing out that cardio can also help to negate problems like depression.

    People Who Say Stuff Better Than Me:

    Who/What/Where/When/Why of how women can and have gotten the ideal, fit look through training, esp. strength training. Very, very good.

    Benefits of HIIT over LISS
    Why you should be doing high intensity interval training cardio as opposed to low intensity steady state cardio, including why the later isn't nearly as effective at shedding fat. Archives of Plateau Busting
    Mostly targeted at weightlifting plateaus i.e. being unable to break into a higher weight. Even though it's not targeted towards weight loss plateaus it is still very relevant.

    Female Body Builders
    Why they look the way they do during competitions, how this look is not a 24/7 thing, and why you will never get that big (unless you want to quit your job and devote all of the time you spent there to the gym)


    1. High intensity and low intensity is a debate I have been having with myself for awhile. The article on SimplyShredded really put in perspective for me! It confirms what I have been feeling. Go intensely when you can, just watch for injuries.

    2. I love doing my circuits for strength workouts :D feel so alive after them!

    3. That was really interesting. I love the Angry Trainer website too! :)

    4. I agree with you totally on this post. (Love the MM picture in jeans while working out! LOL!!!) I developed osteopenia around age 32(!) with NO history of it in my family because I become so sedentary working from home. :-( Now, I'm working hard to reverse that. It hurts my neck area a lot.

    5. Great post. Really great. I'm in 100% agreement of this, I always have, which has been a wonder for me why it took so long for me to work regular strength training into my routine. Happy to say I'm currently only really doing HIIT and strength training, so I feel like I'm on a good path to getting that super sexy toned body I want.