Adding strength training to your health and fitness routine will provide many benefits that will enhance your lifestyle.
Strength training can help you complete your day-to-day tasks with greater ease, for starters. And, it has obvious benefits for your favorite athletic pursuits.
How Strength Training Helps
Strength training is more than building muscle and improving your appearance. Countless studies have shown how strength and resistance training helps decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, while helping to lower blood pressure. It also helps with bone health and density, which can reduce the risk of getting osteoarthritis later in life.
Getting Started With Strength Training
An important point to remember is that strength training is different from bodybuilding. While strength training involves building functional strength, bodybuilding is more about building muscle for appearance.
It's helpful to define your goal from the start; while you certainly want to look good — a perk of strength training, as well — most of us want to improve our functional strength. Strength training is about making the muscles, bones and connective tissues stronger for activities which involve lifting, pushing or pulling. You might not look like a professional bodybuilder, but you'll be able to perform your daily tasks with greater ease.
Strength Training Methods
Strength training typically involves four main methods: bodyweight moves, free weights, machines and resistance bands.
When you think of bodyweight moves, think of exercises such as push-ups, crunches and planks. They're exercises that require you to do different moves while supporting your own weight. Moreover, you don't need any sort of equipment to perform them, which might be more convenient for you if you prefer doing your workouts at home.
You've probably worked with free weights before at some point in your life, whether it be with dumbbells or barbells. Think of curls for your biceps and triceps that involve a full range of motion to help develop functional strength.
Most people use weight machines at the gym. They're usually easy to use, and help you to maintain proper form during lifting movements. Another plus when using machines is they can isolate specific muscle groups that you may be targeting. Machines help you to build strength, but perhaps not as much functional strength.
Similar to free weights in that they allow for a full range of motion, resistance bands provide the opportunity to do a greater variety of functional exercises. These bands come in different resistances to help mimic adding weight.
How Much Strength Training Should You Do?
It’s recommended that you work the major muscle groups (chest, arms, shoulders, back, legs and abdominals) with resistance/strength training exercises two to three times a week. You should do two to four sets of each exercise with eight to 20 repetitions in each set.
The Amarillo Town Club offers a wide variety of fitness activities, including strength and functional training, in addition to personal training. No matter what your fitness and health goal, ATC has something to offer you. Contact us today to learn more about memberships and array of amenities!
NOTICE: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This information is for general use and is not intended to be a prescription. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise program. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.