Weaken strength training myths!

2013Jan16_StrengthTraining_ABulging muscles, rippling torsos and Charles Atlas style feats of force and almighty power.
If the vision of a huge Hulk girding his loins before straining to lift an enormous weight comes to mind when you think of strength training, then you’re not alone. Weight lifting, as the name says, is about lifting as heavy a load as you can and for this it helps to have some bulk behind you. However, strength training isn’t just about the Mr Universes of this world and should be an essential part of everyone’s fitness regime.

Do you know what strength training is? Or who it’s suitable for? And what the benefits and results can be? The chances are that you’re already incorporating some strength training into your exercise plan. But if you’re not quite sure how or whether to include this vital form of fitness into your workout then here’s the lowdown on lifting.

What is strength training?
In essence strength training is exercises that are aimed at increasing your physical strength. There are various styles of strength training that are specifically focused on this aim:

  • Free weights – Kettlebells and mini hand-held weights, as well as classic dumbbells. The load challenges the muscles and over time this increases muscle strength and improves your ability to add greater weights.
  • Bodyweight exercises – Push ups and abdominal crunches. By adjusting your body and moving it in different ways you can create force to make the muscles work. These exercises, like all strength training ones, target specific muscle groups, such as the core muscles.
  • Machines –¬†Weight machines, pull-up bars and cable presses. Specially designed gym equipment creates resistance for the muscles to work against. Increasing the load increases the strain and therefore makes your body work harder,

Who can benefit from strength training?
We all have muscles which means that some type of strength training is essential for everyone. There might be a macho image attached to this type of fitness training but it is not the preserve of men. Of course, we are all familiar with the often grotesque bodies of professional bodybuilders but this is the extreme end of the scale. Strength training can be used to build up muscles so that they are toned and healthy. It is also a great way to put on healthy weight. You really don’t have to aspire to be Arnie to benefit from exercises that challenge your muscles.

What are the benefits of strength training?

  1. Boosts energy and improves your stamina.
  2. Reduces risk of injury by protecting joints with stronger surrounding muscles.
  3. Strengthens bones from resistance exercises that increase bone density.
  4. Reduces body fat, burns calories and helps weight loss.
  5. Increases core strength which makes you feel stronger and more physically capable.
  6. Supports health and recovery, affecting many chronic ailments in a positive way.
  7. Good for your mind, with increased focus and through practicing a positive discipline.

Finding the right level of workout for your muscles can increase lean muscle mass which tends to deplete with age. If this is left to decrease then you are more likely to put on unhealthy weight. One of the biggest strength training myths is that you can only improve strength with biceps the size of Popeye’s. Strength training is important in maintaining your muscles and the body’s ability to burn fat.

Do you need extra strength to work alongside your regular workout? Do you want extra strength to support a specific activity, such as a physically challenging pursuit or sport? Well you can strengthen your resolve to bring the power back to your body so you can move forward with greater force.

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