What does strength training do: The 9-Minute Strength Workout – Well Guides
Resistance training – health benefits
Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles.
Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger.
A well-rounded fitness program includes strength training to improve joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercises. Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines recommend that adults do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
Vary your progressive resistance training program every six to eight weeks to maintain improvement. Variables that can impact on your results include:
- Exercises undertaken.
- Intensity (weights used).
- Frequency of sessions.
- Rest between sets.
If you vary your resistance training program through the number of repetitions and sets performed, exercises undertaken and weights used, you will maintain any strength gains you make.
Examples of resistance training
There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether at home or the gym.
Different types of resistance training include:
- Free weights – classic strength training tools such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells.
- Medicine balls or sand bags – weighted balls or bags.
- Weight machines – devices that have adjustable seats with handles attached either to weights or hydraulics.
- Resistance bands – like giant rubber bands – these provide resistance when stretched. They are portable and can be adapted to most workouts. The bands provide continuous resistance throughout a movement.
- Suspension equipment – a training tool that uses gravity and the user’s body weight to complete various exercises.
- Your own body weight – can be used for squats, push-ups and chin-ups. Using your own body weight is convenient, especially when travelling or at work.
Health benefits of resistance training
Physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance training include:
- Improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury.
- Maintaining flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age.
- Weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest.
- May help reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people.
- Greater stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily.
- Prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity.
- Pain management.
- Improved mobility and balance.
- Improved posture.
- Decreased risk of injury.
- Increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
- Improved sense of wellbeing – resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood.
- Improved sleep and avoidance of insomnia.
- Increased self-esteem.
- Enhanced performance of everyday tasks.
Basic principles of resistance training
Resistance training consists of various components. Basic principles include:
- Program – your overall fitness program is composed of various exercise types such as aerobic training, flexibility training, strength training and balance exercises.
- Weight – different weights or other types of resistance, for example a 3 kg hand weight or fixed weight, body weight or rubber band will be used for different exercises during your strength training session.
- Exercise – a particular movement, for example a calf-raise, is designed to strengthen a particular muscle or group of muscles.
- Repetitions or reps – refers to the number of times you continuously repeat each exercise in a set.
- Set – is a group of repetitions performed without resting, for example, two sets of squats by 15 reps would mean you do 15 squats then rest muscles before doing another 15 squats.
- Rest – you need to rest between sets. Rest periods vary depending on the intensity of exercise being undertaken.
- Variety – switching around your workout routine, such as regularly introducing new exercises, challenges your muscles and forces them to adapt and strengthen.
- Progressive overload principle – to continue to gain benefits, strength training activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition. The aim is to use an appropriate weight or resistant force that will challenge you, while maintaining good technique. Also, regular adjustments to the training variables, such as frequency, duration, exercises for each muscle group, number of exercises for each muscle group, sets and repetitions, help to make sure you progress and improve.
- Recovery – muscle needs time to repair and adapt after a workout. A good rule of thumb is to rest the muscle group for up to 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.
Resistance training for beginners
Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or safety net to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you.
Print a copy of Fitness Australia’s adult pre-exercise screening tool and discuss it with your doctor, allied health or exercise professional.
The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that you undertake strength building activities at least two days a week. These activities should work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, hips, back, chest, core, shoulders, and arms).
Starting resistance training
It is important to pay attention to safety and form in order to reduce the risk of injury. A registered exercise professional can help you develop a safe and effective program.
To start, a typical beginner’s strength training program involves:
- Eight to ten exercises that work the major muscle groups of the body and are performed two to three times per week.
- Beginning with one set of each exercise, comprising as few as eight repetitions (reps), no more than twice per week.
Your aim is to gradually increase to two to three sets for each exercise – comprising eight to 12 reps, every second or third day. Once you can comfortably complete 12 reps of an exercise, you should look at progressing further.
Warming up before resistance training
Warm up your body before starting your strength training exercises. Start with light aerobic exercise (such as walking, cycling or rowing) for around five minutes in addition to a few dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching involves slow controlled movements through the full range of motion.
Advanced resistance training
To get the most gain from resistance training, progressively increase the intensity of your training according to your experience and training goals. This may mean increasing the weight, changing the duration of the contraction (the time during which you sustain holding the weight at your muscle’s maximum potential), reducing rest time or increasing the volume of training.
Once you’ve been doing resistance training regularly for four to six weeks, you can progressively increase the intensity of your training as your muscles adapt.
Research suggests that expert supervision and instruction may improve your results as it will ensure you practice proper technique and follow safety principles. If you experience any discomfort or pain, contact a health professional before progressing with your program.
Repetitive maximum (RM) and resistance training
The best way to develop muscle strength is for the muscle to contract to its maximum potential at any given time – maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). In resistance training, MVC is measured by the term XRM, where RM is the maximum number of repetitions that can be completed with a given resistance or weight. X is the number of times a certain weight can be lifted before the muscle fatigues.
It is the RM range that determines what type of improvements the muscles will make. The optimal range for improving muscle strength is 8–12 RM for a beginner and 2–6 RM for the more advanced.
For example, the formula 7RM means the person can lift the weight (let’s say 50 kg) seven times before the muscles are too fatigued to continue. Higher weights mean lower RM – for example, the same person could possibly lift a 65 kg weight, but fewer than seven times.
Lower weights typically result in a higher RM – for example, the same person could lift a 35 kg weight about 12 times before muscle fatigue sets in. MVC principles can help you gain the most benefit from your workouts. A good rule of thumb is to only increase the weight between two and 10 per cent once you can comfortably do two repetitions above the maximum.
Applying MVC to meet advanced resistance training goals
The principles of strength training involve manipulation of the number of repetitions (reps), sets, tempo, exercises and force to overload a group of muscles and produce the desired change in strength, endurance, size or shape.
Specific combinations of reps, sets, exercises, resistance and force will determine the type of muscle development you achieve. General guidelines, using the RM range, include:
- Muscle power: 1 – 6 RM per set, performed explosively.
- Muscle strength/power: 3 – 12 RM per set, fast or controlled.
- Muscle strength/size: 6 – 20 RM per set, controlled.
- Muscle endurance: 15 – 20 or more RM per set, controlled.
Muscle recovery during advanced resistance training
Muscle needs time to repair and grow after a workout. Not giving your muscles enough time to recover means they will not get bigger or stronger. A good rule of thumb is to rest the muscle group for at least 48 hours.
Once you have sufficient experience in resistance training, and with the support of a qualified allied health or exercise professional, you might like to consider a split program. For example, you could work your upper body on Mondays and Fridays, and your lower body on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Gaining strength from advanced resistance training
Most beginners experience a rapid increase in strength, followed by a plateau or levelling-out of strength improvements. After that, gains in muscle strength and size are hard-earned.
When you start resistance training, most of your initial increase in strength is due to a phenomenon called neural adaptation. This means that the nerves servicing the muscles change their behaviour. The nerves are thought to fire more frequently (prompting increased muscle contraction) and more motor units are recruited to perform the contraction (a motor unit is the nerve cell and its associated muscle fibres). This means you become stronger, but the muscles remain the same size – you’ve hit the plateau.
In time, muscle cells respond to continuous resistance training by increasing in size (hypertrophy), so don’t be discouraged by reaching the plateau – it is actually an encouraging sign that gains in muscle size are soon to follow. Various techniques may help you shorten the plateau period.
Varying your workouts can help you push past a plateau. The theory of variation is that you can coax growth and strength from your muscles by surprising them with a range of different stresses. The muscles will respond in size and strength as they are forced to adapt.
Be guided by your gym instructor or personal trainer, but suggestions include:
- Increase the number of repetitions.
- Increase your workout by 10 or 15 minutes.
- Increase the frequency of workouts, keeping in mind that each muscle needs at least 48 hours of recovery time. Once you are more experienced, you may like to consider splitting body parts over the different days of the week – for example, chest, shoulders and triceps in session one, back, biceps and abdominal muscles in session two, and legs in session three.
- Switch to different exercises – for example, focus on exercises that use multiple muscle groups and that are functional or specific in nature, meaning that they relate to activities of daily living or sporting requirements.
- Increase the weight by about five to 10 per cent.
- Cross-train with other activities such as swimming or running.
- Change your workout about every four to eight weeks to keep your muscles guessing.
Where to get help
5 Benefits of Strength Training
Just a few reasons why you need to add strength training to your routine. ..
Besides looking and feeling great, there are many amazing benefits to be had from strength training consistently. Let’s find out more about your gains (ladies this means you too!)
Benefit #1: Maintaining Muscle Tissue
Around when you turn 30 years old, growth hormones decrease dramatically in the body. Because of this, you could lose about 8-10% of your muscle tissue every decade. Muscles are the basis of your metabolism, so if your muscles decrease by 8-10%, your metabolism will also decrease by 8-10%.
By strength training twice per week you will change that 8-10% to ONLY 1-2% every decade. That means if you simply strength train twice per week, at age 80 you will be 5-10% less of the person you were when you were 30!!
Benefit #2: Increased Strength
Increased strength allows you to lift heavier objects. Shortly after beginning a strength training program, you will find that daily tasks seem much easier. This translates into your personal life on many levels. Think lifting a 20 pound weight at the gym and then heading home to lift your 20 pound child. Phew, what a great workout!
Benefit #3: Improved Bone Health
Strength training is effective in increasing bone density and strengthening tendons and ligaments. Developing strong bones reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and decreases the risk of bone fractures.
Benefit #4: Controlled Body Fat
Building muscle actually helps to more effectively burn calories. Did you know that muscle burns three times the amount of calories that fat burns?! The more muscle tone you have, the higher your metabolism will become.
Benefit #5: Decreased Risk of Injury
Improving muscle strength decreases the risk of falling and other related injuries. Developing strong bones and muscles can help to reduce the severity of falls. Increased strength will also allow your body to be more resistant to injuries, and general aches and pains.
Now that you know some of the MANY benefits of strength training, let’s get to it! Please remember to always practice proper form when weight lifting. For more information, talk to one of our trainers.
Weight Training for Women: Strength Training Is Important
The following story is excerpted from TIME’s special edition, The Science of Exercise, which is available at Amazon.
Dr. Dena Oaklander, a psychiatry resident—who also happens to be my sister—is the last person you’d ever expect to become a bodybuilder. She’s naturally scrawny and a little bit shy, not the type of person to beast out at the gym—or so I once thought.
In medical school, she’d counsel patients on the importance of exercise and feel like a hypocrite, she says, since she did little but shuttle from home to the hospital, spending her rare free time catching up on sleep. “My body didn’t feel good, and my mind didn’t feel very good either,” she says. But once she started taking her own advice, as a resident at Loyola University Medical Center, Dena quickly became a hard-core strength-training fanatic. Within a month of learning how to lift weights, she noticed she had more energy without needing as much sleep, she felt far less stressed out, and she saw her body tone up fast.
“Strength training is the only way you’re going to truly be able to sculpt the physique of your personal dreams,” says Sue Clark, a Chicago-based strength coach who trains Dena. “Above and beyond the physical changes, though, a whole new persona emerges as people start to feel really confident in their own bodies.”
Clark saw the transformation in Dena, just as she has in many others. “Once I can get someone on board with strength training, they’re good for life, because they’re seeing results like they’ve never seen on cardio.”
The average American flat-out loathes strength training. While about half of people do the recommended amount of aerobic activity each week, only 20% also do the muscle-strengthening moves that work major muscle groups. Yet the scientific benefits are stacking up in favor of it, from bone protection to disease prevention, and it appears to have special benefits for women.
“There are so many misconceptions about strength and resistance training,” says Larry Tucker, a professor in exercise sciences at Brigham Young University. “One is that you’ll become muscle-bound”—so bulked up that your body becomes rigid. That myth was somewhat dispelled when athletes who started strength-training saw that they could hit a ball farther, jump higher and run faster, Tucker says. “Gradually we started realizing there are benefits beyond sports.”
But women in particular are neglecting strength training at their own peril. It’s the only kind of exercise that makes muscles bigger, which lets them generate more strength and force, faster. “Muscle mass allows us to move,” Tucker says. Young people tend to take for granted the day-to-day parts of life that require strength, like walking up stairs or picking up a baby. “But a sedentary lifestyle means that people are gradually becoming weaker over time,” he says. Building muscle can fight back against that process.
MORE: Why Weight Training Is Ridiculously Good For You
It’s also one of the very few ways to make bones denser, a perk that is especially important for women. Lifting something heavy, like a dumbbell, makes bones bear more weight, and in exercise, stressing your bones is a good thing (to a point of course). Bones are constantly remodeling, explains Anthony Hackney, an exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina. “Your body is always adding calcium to your bones and taking calcium away from your bones,” he says.
This delicate balance starts to tip as people age, and “they lose more mineral from the bone than they’re able to lay down,” Hackney says. Over time, bone gets less dense and more brittle and prone to osteoporosis, a condition that affects about 10 million Americans—80% of whom are female. Women have smaller, thinner bones than men from the start, and after menopause they lose estrogen, a hormone that protects bones.
Strength training also comes with the less visible benefit of lowering risk for several diseases. “The only real way we can increase our metabolism, unless we take drugs, is to lift weights and maintain or increase our lean mass,” says Tucker. Doing so makes the body more sensitive to insulin, and therefore more durable against certain diseases.
Recent research suggests that strength training may lower a woman’s risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In a 2016 study, researchers from Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health used data from nearly 36,000 older women, who ranged in age from 47 to 98. The women filled out questionnaires for about a decade detailing their health and exercise levels, and one question asked women to estimate how much weightlifting or strength training they had done per week in the past year. The researchers then tracked which of the women had a heart attack or stroke and which developed Type 2 diabetes.
Whether or not a woman did muscle-strengthening exercises indicated a lot about her health. Compared with women who avoided it, those who did any amount of strength training were more likely to have a lower body mass index and a healthier diet and less likely to be a current smoker.
They also had a Type 2 diabetes risk that was 30% lower and a cardiovascular disease risk 17% lower than those who did no strength training, even after the researchers controlled for other variables like age, diet and physical activity.
Adding aerobic exercise helped drive both risks down even more. Those who did at least 120 minutes a week of aerobic exercise and some strength training had a Type 2 diabetes risk 65% lower than women who didn’t do either.
Most people should do both kinds of exercise for the biggest gains. But if you had to choose one, Clark advises, pick strength training. “Cardio is more digestible, it’s less intimidating, but people also get less and less out of it over time,” she says. As you grow fitter, you have to do more and more aerobic exercise to see the gains, she explains. Strength training, in her view, is the most efficient exercise for those with limited time.
Powerlifting isn’t the only way to get results. Strength training comes in far more accessible forms as well—many of which do not even require a gym membership and certainly don’t require a personal trainer. Resistance bands, cheap strips of elastic that loop around arms or legs, are one good way to build strength without weights, for instance. A 2017 study showed that when frail women over 60 who were obese worked out with resistance bands for three months, they dropped body fat and increased bone density. Another option that involves even less equipment is to use your own body weight. Sitting up and down in a chair many times builds strength, as does jumping, which uses many of the legs’ major muscles. Even walking can count as strength training, depending on the intensity.
The right type and amount will be different for every woman (and man, for that matter), but a little bit every day will do wonders. Just ask Dena, who is planning to enter her first bodybuilding competition a year after picking up her first weight. “Not only do I look better than when I first started, but I also feel really confident,” she says. “Strength training opens up your thoughts for more positive thinking. ”
Dena still urges her patients to exercise. But these days, it’s a prescription she really believes. Not everyone will become a bodybuilder, but most can get stronger and feel better by moving just a little bit more. “I find myself really encouraging patients to turn to exercise as an outlet or a way to help them cope with some of the difficult things they’re dealing with in life,” she says. “The message is different now, because I do it myself.”
Get our Health Newsletter. Sign up to receive the latest health and science news, plus answers to wellness questions and expert tips.
For your security, we’ve sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don’t get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.
Write to Mandy Oaklander at [email protected]
Strength training builds more than muscles
Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.
A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and inadequate nutrition conspire to gradually steal bone mass, at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.
Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. An estimated eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures each year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may become impossible.
Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge bone-forming cells into action. That stress comes from the tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength training (as well as weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking or running). The result is stronger, denser bones.
And strength training, in particular, has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts — particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance — enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures another way — by cutting down on falls.
For more information on the benefits of strength training, purchase Strength and Power Training by Harvard Medical School.
Image: spukkato/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content.
Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date,
should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Strength Training & Weight Training 101: How to Get Strong
Strength training will change your life.
If you want to lose weight, gain muscle, and/or just look and feel better, strength training will do just that.
In this comprehensive series, we’re going to cover EVERYTHING you need to know about getting strong.
By the way, hi. I’m Staci Ardison, Senior Coach for Team NF, with a 455 pound deadlift, and strength training has changed my life.
Here’s that deadlift by the way (at a bodyweight of 150 lbs):
I help men and women get strong with our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program, and in addition to this strength series, I’d love for our team to help you get strong too:
Start strength training safely with our Coaching Program! Learn more:
In this introduction to Strength and Resistance Training, we’ll cover:
This is also quite a lot to absorb, so we’ve combined this article along with the rest of our strength articles into a “Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know” guide.
Grab it free when you join the Rebellion by putting your email in the box below.
Download our comprehensive guide
- Everything you need to know about getting strong.
- Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
- How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
What are the Benefits of Strength Training?
Life is EASIER when you’re strong:
- Carrying groceries? One trip.
- Children to carry? No problem.
- Car stuck in the snow? Push it out with ease.
- Feel like a badass? YUP!
Plus, whether you’re 100 lbs overweight or just need to lose the last 15, strength training is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and build muscle.
Let’s get the long term benefits out of the way.
How Strength Training Will Help as You Age:
#1) Halt and even reverse sarcopenia: As we age our skeletal muscle deteriorates, which is a condition known as sarcopenia. Strength training has been found to reduce the negative effects of sarcopenia allowing us to maintain an independent lifestyle (and out of a nursing home) and live longer.
#2) Prevent disease and degenerative conditions:[4a] Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
Strength training helps correct issues relating to cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and inactivity – all factors for heart disease.
Cardiologists are even starting to recommend strength training for people who have suffered a heart attack as little as three weeks after the attack.[4b]
#3) Improve the quality of life for people with: arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Down Syndrome, lymphedema, fibromyalgia, who have recently had a stroke, have had a spinal cord injury, cancer survivors and clinical depression.  Clinical exercise physiologists working with these special populations listed above strongly recommend incorporating strength training to slow down the progression of their disease or disorder, decrease their risk for other comorbidities, and decrease their risk for premature mortality.
Now, in addition to making life easier LATER, strength training has a lot of great benefits right now.
How Strength Training Will Help You Today:
#1) Lose weight, look good naked: You can find study after study after study that shows you the benefits of strength training for weight management when combined with “calorie restriction.”(eating fewer calories than you burn every day), such as greater fat loss and improvements in muscle mass. Additionally, the combination of these two behaviors also decreases one’s risk for the development of chronic diseases (e.g., CVD) and premature mortality. 
#2) Strength training can help increase your metabolism by speeding up your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). It takes your body more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat!
#3) Strength training has a much greater level of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption than aerobic exercise.
What does this mean?
When you finish a workout, your body needs to do a lot of work to replenish itself in order to bring itself back to a normal state (the way it was before you worked out). This takes a lot of energy, and some studies have shown that it can boost your metabolism for up to 38 hours after you finish your workout. If you do your resistance training quickly, minimizing rest intervals in-between sets, you can actually increase this effect.
This is why it’s important to stay off of the phone in-between sets!
If you want to learn more about how to do this, check out our Guide to Circuit Training.
In addition to physical improvements, strength training will improve your next doctor’s visit.
How Strength Training Can Make You Healthier:
#1) Strength training increases bone density, builds a stronger heart, reduces your resting blood pressure, improves blood flow, halts muscle loss, helps control blood sugar, improves cholesterol levels, and improves your balance and coordination. This is all great news because this will decrease your risk of developing conditions such as osteoporosis, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
#2) Strength training will make you FEEL better: Not only will you find yourself with more energy and confidence, less stress and anxiety, and a better overall mood, but you’ll actually begin to think better (resistance training has been proven to help increase cognitive function).
You may be asking how this is possible?
Strength training allows for neurogenesis and neuroplasticity to take place, which is the process of creating new neural pathways in the brain.
Plus, strength training also allows for certain neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine) to be released that plays a role in brain health.
And while training too close to bedtime can be a bad idea, exercising earlier in the day has been proven to help prevent sleep apnea and insomnia.
But wait, there’s more!
I even improved my posture from strength training – when I started lifting, I was 5’4”. Now I’m 5’5.5”.
This is also a major concern for today because of prolonged cell phone use, which finds people constantly tilting their head forward and down resulting in neck pain and faulty posture.
#3) Last but not least, strength training is fun! Whether you are looking for the most effective 20-30 minute workout (to stay fit and look great naked), or are looking for a competitive sport that you can really get into, strength training can help you meet your goals. 
It’s easy and fun to see progress as you strength train, almost like leveling up (“You gained 100xp and +1 STR with your deadlift today”).
If you’re looking to improve in other areas (a sport, traditional cardio, or an activity like rock climbing), strength training is an easy choice! Strength training will help keep you injury free too.
We have coaching clients from 18 to 80+, and we work on strength training with practically every single one of them due to just how many benefits it provides! We’d love to work with you too:
Let us teach you how to lift weights safely and properly!
Who SHOULDN’T strength train?
Trying to be balanced, I wanted to find studies of a single group of people who should not strength train.
But it didn’t go so well…
- I found studies on how strength training can be beneficial for paraplegics.
- There are also studies that show the benefits for children and adolescents. 
- You can also find plenty of studies that explain the benefits of strength training for pregnant women.
Oh, and if you think you’re too old, I promise that you are not.
And thus I’ve decided, not knowing you, you should probably strength train.
IMPORTANT CAVEAT: if you do fall into any of these special populations (e.g., paraplegics, children, pregnant women, etc.) it is imperative that you work with a qualified professional (e.g., clinical exercise physiologist, strength and conditioning coach, etc.).
These qualified professionals will perform a risk stratification and pre-assessments so they can start you off with the perfect training program that will improve your physical and mental health, and will decrease your risk for injury and prevent your condition from progressing to a more severe state.
Oh, and if you are already injured, you should check with a doctor or physical therapist before strength training.
Long story short: EVERYBODY should strength train.
It’s what we’re genetically designed to do: move around, push, pull, jump, and carry things.
What Is Strength Training? The Basics You Need to Know.
“Strength training” of any kind can be explained by two things:
- Movement of any weight (including your body weight) – Doing ANY exercise that pushes your muscles outside of their comfort zone, forcing them to rebuild stronger to prepare for the next challenge.
- Progressive overload: exerting slightly more effort than last time (lift heavier weight or do 1 more rep) consistently. Your muscles will constantly have to adapt and will constantly be rebuilding themselves to get stronger.
That’s strength training!
If you want Seven Different Ways to Achieve Progressive Overload, watch this video:
As we cover in our “am I too old to strength train” article, no – you are not.
I cited dozens of studies above that show strength training is beneficial for people of all ages. And even for the frail elderly, studies have shown that drastic results are possible in just 10 weeks of weightlifting (for both men and women in their 70s through their 90s).
In fact, weight training has also been shown to delay Alzheimer’s and stave off dementia. As mentioned earlier, strength training allows for neurogenesis and neuroplasticity to take place, which is the process of creating new neural pathways in the brian. And, strength training also allows for the dopamine (i. e., neurotransmitter) to be released that plays a role in brain health.
Research has also shown that older adults can safely engage in higher-intensity strength training resulting in improvements in strength, body composition, disease status, and independent lifestyle.
So, if you think you might be “too old,” you’re probably the exact type of person that SHOULD be strength training!
Team NF’s Steve’s gramma is 89 and she strength trains. You are not too old!
We have plenty of coaching clients who are retired and just STARTING to strength train now in their 50s or 60s+. In fact one of our coaches, Kerry, is certified as a Functioning Aging Specialist, and you better believe she has her clients strength training!
No matter your age, it’s not too late to start. Learn more how our Coaching Program will help you get strong NOW:
By the way, if you are 90+ and reading Nerd Fitness, please email us at contact@nerdfitness. com – I’d love to hear from you 🙂
Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky?
No (unless you are TRYING to get bulky).
Let me first address this from a women’s point of view, then I’ll get to the men.
“Fear of bulk” is one of the biggest myths surrounding women and strength training and it makes me a sad panda.
The images of “bulky” women that you are conjuring up are from bodybuilding magazines.
When I started strength training, I didn’t get bulky, I got lean:
And I’m just one example.
We have hundreds of examples here at Nerd Fitness.
These are women who strength trained to get strong and lean, not bulky. Like Leslie, who lost 100 pounds by getting strong:
Or Christina, who got strong as hell, lost 31 total inches, and now crushes sets of pull-ups!
That “bulky” look in women does not happen by mistake or overnight – we simply do not have the hormones necessary to get there on our own.
To achieve this look, women have to eat incredible amounts of food and consume incredible amounts of drugs.
When we strength train normally, without these supplements, we end up looking like athletes.
And for the men: if your fear is getting too bulky, you can rest easy. Steve, creator of Nerd Fitness, has spent his entire life trying to get “too bulky.” It was only after fixing his diet (and hiring an online coach) that he went from Steve Rogers to Captain America.
That’s right, strength training is only 10% of the “slim down or bulk up” equation. The other 90% is nutrition and total calories consumed.
- Want to lose weight? Strength train + caloric restriction. It is recommended that you seek a calorie deficit by consuming 250-500 less calories per day below your typical calorie intake. This will result in a realistic weight loss goal of 1-2 pounds per week.
- Want to get bigger? Strength train + caloric surplus. It is recommended that you seek a calorie surplus by consuming 250-500 additional calories above your typical calorie intake. This will result in a realistic gain in lean muscle mass of about 0.5 pounds per week.
“My focus is on running/basketball/quidditch and I need to stay slim! How do I strength train for this scenario?”
Studies have shown that strength training increases the endurance of your muscles.
In fact, resistance training and weight training not only help to tune up an out of shape nervous system and increase the activation of motor units within your muscles, but also helps increase their overall endurance. More specifically, strength training can result in improvements in how much force muscles can generate and also how much fatigue they can resist leading to better exercise economy.
Want to run your first 5K? Strength training will keep you injury free. One of our coaching clients, Aylette, used strength training to keep her injury free and she recently one a triathlon!
If you’re worried about getting too big, remember: there are many types of strength training (and alternate forms of strength training like acro yoga and rock climbing!), and size and strength don’t always go hand in hand.
I Don’t like Gyms. Can I Still Strength Train?
You don’t ever have to set foot in a gym if you don’t want to.
Sure, gyms are great, as long as you join the right gym.
And we can also teach you how to train in a gym so you avoid that “lost sheep” feeling.
But they aren’t for everybody!
You can get really strong as hell doing just bodyweight exercises at home.
Remember how I talked about “progressive overload” earlier? That applies to bodyweight training too.
You just have to constantly increase the challenge your muscles face. Like moving from our Beginner Bodyweight Workout to our Advanced Bodyweight Workout.
And then advancing to handstands and even gymnastic ring muscle-ups.
You just have to keep challenging your muscles and get strong as heck.
Look at any gymnast, male or female – those physiques are built through bodyweight training!
To progress in bodyweight exercises, you need to start, so you have something to advance from. You can begin by trying our beginner bodyweight routine RIGHT NOW:
Do you know how to properly build a workout routine that has bodyweight exercises that properly scale up as you get stronger?
It’s super fun building your own program, but many people just want to follow a plan that they know is aligned with their goals. If you hate gyms and still want to get strong, let us help!
No gym? No problem. Let our coaches build you a fun program that fits your life:
How to Start Strength Training Today: Next Steps
If you’re ready to start, fantastic.
We’d recommend a simple program to get your feet wet. You know, to learn the movements, build some confidence and prove to yourself that you can DO this!
If you want to take the Next Step, here’s how Team Nerd Fitness (that’s us!) can help you:
1) Work with a professional Yoda! If you want confidence that you’re following a program that is tailor-made for your busy life, situation, and goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 Coaching Program.
You’ll work with a certified NF instructor who will get to know you better than you know yourself, keep you accountable, and help you reach your goals.
2) Join our amazing free community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion! It’s free to join, and we provide you with free goodies like our Strength Training 101 ebook when you sign up:
Download our comprehensive guide
- Everything you need to know about getting strong.
- Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
- How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
3) Read ALL of the other amazing resources on Nerd Fitness. We’ve published millions of words over 800+ articles at Nerd Fitness that you can read, but these are the guides that will be the most helpful to you on your journey:
I don’t care which next step you pick, as long as you PICK a plan that works for you
- It’s simple to follow
- You have all of the equipment available
- It focuses on compound, full body movements
Congratulations: You just made it through the first class of Strength Training 101!
What big questions do you have about strength training?
Has strength training worked for you?
How else can Team Nerd Fitness help you?
Now go pick up something heavy!
PS – Please read part two, “5 Strength Training Workouts for Beginners!
PPS: Be sure to check out the rest of Strength Training 101 series too:
Photo Source: Stepan Popov © 123RF. com, LEGO one arm, LYT, lego bench press, Belly, Wizard, Not Happy, Free Weights, acrobat
here’s why it’s so effective for weight loss
Weight lifting, also known as resistance training, has been practised for centuries as a way of building muscular strength. Research shows that resistance training, whether done via body weight, resistance bands or machines, dumbbells or free weights, not only helps us build strength, but also improves muscle size and can help counteract age-related muscle loss.
More recently it’s become popular among those looking to lose weight. While exercises such as running and cycling are indeed effective for reducing body fat, these activities can simultaneously decrease muscle size, leading to weaker muscles and greater perceived weight loss, as muscle is more dense than fat. But unlike endurance exercises, evidence shows resistance training not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength.
The ‘after-burn effect’
When we exercise, our muscles need more energy than they do when resting. This energy comes from our muscles’ ability to break down fat and carbohydrate (stored within the muscle, liver and fat tissue) with the help of oxygen. So during exercise, we breathe faster and our heart works harder to pump more oxygen, fat, and carbohydrate to our exercising muscles.
What is less obvious, however, is that after we’ve finished exercising, oxygen uptake actually remains elevated in order to restore muscles to their resting state by breaking down stored fat and carbohydrates. This phenomenon is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) – though more commonly known as the “after-burn effect”. It describes how long oxygen uptake remains elevated after exercise in order to help the muscles recover.
The extent and duration of the after-burn effect is determined by the type, length, and intensity of exercise, as well as fitness level and diet. Longer-lasting exercise that uses multiple large muscles, performed to or near fatigue, results in higher and longer-lasting after-burn.
Exercises that engage more large muscle groups enhance after-burn effect.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and high intensity resistance training are most effective at elevating both short and long-term after-burn. The reason HIIT-type exercises are thought to be more effective than steady-state endurance exercise is because of the increased fatigue associated with HIIT. This fatigue leads to more oxygen and energy required over a prolonged period to repair damaged muscle and replenish depleted energy stores. As such, resistance exercise is an effective way to lose excess fat due to the high calorie cost of the actual training session, and the “after-burn effect”.
Long-term fat loss
Resistance training can also be effective for long-term weight control, too. This is because muscle size plays a major role in determining resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is how many calories your body requires to function at rest. Resting metabolic rate accounts for 60-75% of total energy expenditure in non-exercising people, and fat is the body’s preferred energy source at rest.
Increasing muscle size through resistance training increases RMR, thereby increasing or sustaining fat loss over time. A review of 18 studies found that resistance training was effective at increasing resting metabolic rate, whereas aerobic exercise and combined aerobic and resistance exercise were not as effective. However, it’s also important to control calorie intake in order to lose fat and sustain fat loss.
Resistance training exercises should engage the largest muscle groups, use whole body exercises performed standing and should involve two or more joints. All of these make the body work harder, thereby increasing the amount of muscle and therefore RMR. An effective resistance training programme should combine intensity, volume (number of exercises and sets), and progression (increasing both as you get stronger). The intensity should be high enough that you feel challenged during your workout.
The most effective way of doing this is using the repetition maximum method. For the purpose of fat loss, this should be performing between six and ten repetitions of an exercise with a resistance that results in fatigue, so that you cannot comfortably do another full repetition after the last one. Three to four sets, two or three times a week for each muscle group is recommended.
The repetition maximum method also ensures progression, because the stronger you get, the more you will need to increase resistance or load to cause fatigue by the tenth repetition. Progression can be achieved by increasing the resistance or intensity so that fatigue occurs after performing fewer repetitions, say eight or six.
Resistance training helps with excess fat loss by increasing both after-burn after exercise, and by increasing muscle size, thereby increasing the number of calories we burn at rest. Combining it with a healthy diet will only further increase the loss of excess body fat – and may also provide other positive health benefits.
12 Health Benefits of Weight Training
The health benefits of strength training include a longer lifespan.
Image Credit: PeopleImages/E+/GettyImages
Gone are the days when lifting weights was just for bodybuilders and pro athletes. In fact, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that all adults do at least two full-body strength-training workouts each week.
Why? Because the benefits of strength training extend to every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health, says Jason Li, CPT, a certified personal trainer and weightlifting coach with SoHo Strength Lab in New York City.
Already lift on the regular? Or just aren’t convinced you need to strength train? (Trust us, you do.)
Whatever your current relationship with weights, here are 12 strength training benefits worth celebrating.
Strength training involves any activity that works your muscles against resistance (why it’s also called resistance training). And by stressing your muscles, it stimulates them to grow and become stronger.
It happens fast. In fact, in one August 2020 study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, older adults significantly improved their total-body muscle strength after just 16 hour-long resistance workouts.
2. Healthy Body Fat Levels
Strengthening your muscles has a significant effect on your body’s fat cells. In a large December 2014 Obesity study, Harvard researchers found that, minute per minute, strength training does more to regulate age-related abdominal fat than does cardio. There are multiple reasons.
Challenging weightlifting exercises trigger a temporary metabolic boost, called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, according to the American Council on Exercise. That’s because your b0dy needs extra oxygen to cool down and repair itself after weight training. What’s more, over the long term, building lean muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate.
Strength training may also support healthy body fat levels by affecting hormone levels and reducing inflammation.
3. Mental and Emotional Health
Many people first pick up weights for the physical health benefits of weightlifting, but stick with it for the mental and emotional ones.
Research, including a May 2018 study in JAMA Psychiatry, has shown that resistance training reduces the frequency and severity of depressive symptoms. And that’s regardless of physical changes. It also help in the management of anxiety.
Strength training increases levels of feel-good chemicals (like endorphins and endocannabinoids) in the brain. It also affects levels of drain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which supports brain health.
“Most people don’t start out able to do great push-ups or pull-ups, but training to achieve these things and unlocking those new skills is highly motivating,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS.
Don’t be surprised if the confidence that comes with reaching new strength goals carries over into your life outside of the gym.
5. Solid Balance and Stability
“Many strength-training movements require balance and mobility from your body,” Matheny says. As you move in different planes of motion and at different angles while strength training, your major muscle groups and the smaller muscles throughout your body become stronger and more stable.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in adults over 65, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So feeling balanced and stable in your body becomes increasingly important as you age.
6. Ease During Acts of Daily Living
What are acts of daily living? Also called ADLs, they’re common everyday tasks like showering, carrying groceries, walking and taking the stairs.
“If you have trained to deadlift a heavy kettlebell, for example, you feel much more confident — and are safer — picking up boxes for, say, moving,” Matheny says.
The stronger you are in your strength training workouts, the stronger you are out in the world.
Being stuck in one position all day — like sitting at your computer — weakens the stabilizer muscles in your torso, which play a major role in your posture, Li says.
Regular strength training can helps increase the endurance of the muscles in your trunk that are responsible for proud posture, he explains.
Weight training might also help you get better at your favorite non-gym activities. “Sports that require a lot of short bursts of power and longer periods of low activity or rest benefit tremendously from strength training,” Li says.
A large body of research backs this up. For example, a June 2016 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that six weeks of strength training benefitted professional soccer players’ sprinting ability. And a May 2014 study in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that 25 weeks of heavy lifting helped cyclists pedal more powerfully.
Strength training is important both for supporting bone growth during our younger years and maintaining as much of that bone density and strength as possible as we age.
How does weight training benefit your bones? When you forcefully contract your muscles, they end up pulling on and gently stressing your bones. Plus, if you do your strength workouts from a standing position, you effectively load (and again, gently stress) your spine, hips and leg bones.
10. Balanced Blood Sugar Levels
People with moderate levels of muscle strength have a 32 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with low levels of muscle strength, according to April 2019 research in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Plus, in people who have diabetes, strength training is an effective way to manage blood sugar and reduce the risk of complications.
Researchers think resistance training has this effect by helping to regulate body composition and sensitivity to the sugar-regulating hormone insulin, according to a November 2016 position statement in Diabetes Care.
Though cardio has long gotten all of the heart-health glory, more and more research shows that resistance training deserves some, too.
For example, in a January 2017 research in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, cis women who reported doing any strength training had a 17 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who reported never strength training.
Together, all of these health benefits of strength training can add up to a longer life and better quality of life.
Research backs this up. For instance, one June 2016 study in Preventative Medicine found strength training twice per week reduces the risk of all-cause mortality. Researchers followed older adults for 15 years, and determined that those who strength trained at least twice per week were 46 percent less likely to die during that time.
90,000 why and how to do it, features and benefits
Why is strength training important?
It has been proven that muscle strength and size decrease over time without sufficient and regular strength training. If a person does not maintain a sufficient level of activity, then after 20-25 years, on average, he loses 200-250 g of muscle mass in one year, and after 50-60 years, the loss doubles. Along with the reduction of muscle mass, bone density also decreases, metabolism decreases, which can negatively affect the state of human health.
By developing the habit of strength training, you can maintain optimal muscle mass throughout your life. This healthy habit will help you not only stay in attractive physical shape, but also reduce the risk of accumulation of fat mass, with an excess of which correlates such ailments as atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, etc.
It is worth paying attention to the fact that excessive enthusiasm for strength exercises can bring not only benefits, but also harm, especially if the training program is drawn up without taking into account the individual characteristics of the trainee.Strength exercises involve work using both your own body weight and additional weight (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc. ), so this type of exercise carries an additional load on bones, joints, ligaments, as well as large vessels.
Before going to the gym, you should consult a specialist, especially if you have diseases of the musculoskeletal system, have previously had any injuries, have diseases of the cardiovascular system, or have ever sought help from a neurologist or psychiatrist.Beginners should also undergo a minimal medical examination.
To draw up an individual training schedule, you should involve a competent coach who can assess your level of physical fitness and teach you how to perform the exercises correctly. When working with weights, it is very important that someone be sure to insure you.
What types of power loads can be used?
Gymnastics, in which your own body weight is used to train muscles.This type of strength training is perfect for beginners, as it perfectly trains the main muscle groups and it is quite enough to maintain optimal muscle strength. Examples of such exercises can be: various push-ups and pull-ups on the bar, squats and lunges, pumping the press, etc. This type of activity is ineffective for deep muscle training, but ordinary gymnastics will be quite enough to maintain general tone and a flat stomach.
Fixed weight operation.
This training method strengthens all major muscle groups and involves the use of a fixed, low weight throughout the exercise cycle. For example, if you are doing an exercise with dumbbells weighing 2-3 kg to work out the triceps (flexion of the arm at the elbow), then the weight of 2-3 kg remains constant throughout the entire workout cycle. A light weight load is used to perform the exercises. These can be dumbbells, resistance bands, and some types of exercise equipment.
Variable loading allows you to work the muscles deeply and contributes to a faster increase in muscle mass. With this training method, the load changes directly during the exercise. Some machines use different tilt angles and gravity to create different forces when lifting and lowering weights.
What are the key principles of successful strength training?
For effective muscle training, the load must be increased methodically, forcing the muscles to work harder and harder.The main challenge is to prevent the muscles from adapting to constant weight.
Variable loading allows you to work the muscles deeply and contributes to a faster increase in muscle mass. With this training method, the load changes directly during the exercise. Some machines use different tilt angles and gravity to create different forces when lifting and lowering weights.
Strength training should pay attention to all major muscle groups.This is necessary for a uniform increase and development of the muscle frame.
Most people do not need to do strength training on a daily basis. The optimal frequency is 2-3 times a week. Another option is to work on different muscle groups on different days. It is advisable that strength training alternates with cardio loads. However, it should be remembered that by arranging too long breaks between workouts, you risk not only slowing down the rate of muscle mass gain, but also losing the achieved result: the muscles will begin to weaken within 7-10 days.
How to choose the right weight?
Determining the starting weight level is a tricky one. If you are just starting to change your life with strength training, then be prepared for the fact that it will take some time to find your starting weight and work intensity. The general principle is to focus on the feeling of fatigue. At the same time, performing the last repetition, you should feel that the muscles are tired and loaded to such an extent that you can no longer do another repetition.
The number of repetitions directly depends on what weight or load you are working with. For example, if you are doing an exercise to strengthen the triceps, then, unbending your arms raised above your head, in the elbow joint with dumbbells weighing 2-3 kg 10-15 times, you should not stop exactly at 10-15 repetitions, you must continue the exercise until you will feel complete muscle fatigue and will not be able to do another rep. The next time you do this exercise, simply increase the weight of the dumbbells until you feel maximum fatigue already at 8-10 repetitions.
How many reps should you do?
There are two approaches, depending on what you want to achieve: build strength or increase endurance and tone. If you are aiming at developing strength, then you should do fewer reps (8-10) with more weight. If it is necessary to increase endurance and tone, then it will be better to perform more reps, but with less weight.
How many approaches are optimal?
Experts recommend performing 1-3 approaches, between which you should rest from 20 to 60, and sometimes 90 seconds.While resting, stretch your muscles, catch your breath, and take a few sips of water.
90,000 Strength training for women
Despite the abundance of information about sports and fitness, many of the misconceptions and biases associated with training still dominate the minds of many. Women especially have a lot of illusions about strength training. Most ladies, even those who regularly visit fitness clubs, extremely rarely appear in the gym area, because they consider the “rocking chair” exclusively for men to build huge muscles.And at the same time, the older a woman is, the less likely she is to see her in a gym with free weights or on strength machines. Although ideally it should be the other way around! Let’s try to at least partially eliminate the gaps in knowledge on this topic.
Strength training has amazing effects on the body and should be included in your training program whether your main goal is health, weight loss, or a toned body. Strength training boosts your metabolism (metabolism) while developing muscle mass, and this helps you lose weight.Strength training reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes (acquired), and the combination of strength training and a healthy diet improves overall quality of life.
A purely feminine question – strengthening bones
It is necessary to dwell separately on the fact that as a result of strength training, bone mineralization and density increase. This is important for both genders, but for women it has a special meaning.
Bone mass decreases with age in both men and women, but the female body after menopause loses bone density much faster.This is directly related to the decrease in the amount of estrogen. Bone is a living tissue, and it is constantly renewed and reconstructed throughout our life. When the body has an optimal amount of estrogen, the body is able to continually build and reconstruct strong bones. After the onset of menopause, against the background of a decrease in the amount of estrogen, the body is no longer capable of building and reconstruction as before. This leads to a decrease in bone density, they become more porous. This wasted bone condition is called osteoporosis.As a result, bones become more fragile and more prone to fracture. Hence, such a large number of fractures “out of the blue” among women after a certain age. Moreover, most often these are complex fractures in the hips (femoral neck), back and wrists. Against the background of osteoporosis, fractures not only easily occur, but take a very long and difficult time to grow together with an increased risk of re-fracture.
Drug treatment for osteoporosis exists, but the results are very controversial – most do not see any improvement in bone health, but there are side effects from taking drugs.
Strength training can adequately resist the process of bone mineral loss. When doing strength training, muscles and bones work against gravity. This is also true for aerobic physical activities (walking, running, aerobics, etc.), but strength training is much more effective. This is due, among other things, to the fact that, unlike many other types, the power load can be selected absolutely individually, not only for each individual person, but also for individual parts of the body of each person.Strength training can be started from the most tender childhood, and the upper age limit simply does not exist – the age-appropriate load can be selected for any person even at 90 years old. Not all types of sports activity can be said the same.
At the same time, if you are jogging or walking, then your leg bones will be strengthened more, but this effect will not be expressed for the upper body – and here strength training is indispensable.
Bones are living tissue that is constantly renewed throughout life, and at the same time reacts to stress by increasing its density.The relationship here is direct: the more stress the bones are subjected to, the stronger they become. Thus, it is possible to influence the age-related decrease in bone density, significantly slowing it down.
Contrary to the prevailing stereotype, a gym is absolutely not necessary for strength training, especially at the initial stage. A large number of very effective strength exercises can only be done with your own body weight. In our methodological manuals, basic strength exercises are collected and described in detail, which, if desired, can be modified by adding any available equipment – dumbbells, body bars, rubber, etc.(Participants of the seminar receive these manuals free of charge, and the technique is very detailed in practice).
75 strength exercises without equipment for the shoulder girdle, pelvis and legs
Available in print and electronic version for download (part 1)
By adding weights to basic exercises, you can easily increase the load
40+ strength exercises for the back and abdomen, in electronic and printed form (part 2)
And the simplest small equipment, if used correctly, can completely replace a fancy gym (unless, of course, you are going to participate in bodybuilding competitions).Great results can be achieved with only a pair of dumbbells, rubber bands or medicine balls. You just need to be able to use it!
When to start?
It’s never too late for anyone to start. Research shows that strength training improves bone density even in very elderly people. The possibilities of adapting the human body to new conditions are amazing, most of us are capable of much more than we used to think.Despite the fact that we will never have the same bone density that we had at the age of 20, by continuing to exercise, we can keep our bones denser for a very long time.
What if I grow huge muscles?
If it were that simple, then a few women bodybuilders would be happy! .. But in reality, pumping up big muscles for most women remains in the realm of fantasy. To build more or less pronounced muscles, a woman will have to practically live in the gym for quite a long time, train seriously several times a week, follow a special diet, and, most likely, additionally use special sports nutrition.
Muscle building is much more difficult for women than for men. First, men have more testosterone than women. In addition, men initially have more muscle mass, their bodies are more muscular than women. However, even men find it difficult to build muscle. To do this, they also need a specific diet and special training used by bodybuilders.
We will discuss the strength training methodology for women in detail at the “Strength training” seminar.
So with the usual training regimen (3-4 times a week, with the inclusion of strength training a couple of times), women should not worry about too much muscle mass.With this regimen, strength training develops beautiful, textured muscles when properly combined with cardio training. But it is necessary to remember about the “appetite trap” – this is how we called a common situation among those who began to train hard.
More muscle mass means higher metabolism. This is the reason for the increased calorie expenditure after training, during the period of muscle recovery after strength load, i.e. calories continue to be burned even at rest.The more muscle mass, the less fat mass.
Muscle mass acquired in adolescence and maintained in middle age provides a slower loss of strength and muscle mass in the later years of our lives.
Only here you need to remember about the “appetite trap”, especially for those who first start training at a not very young age. The following happens: some time after the start of regular strength training (from 2 to 3 weeks on average), there is a sharp increase in appetite.This is logical, since muscle tissue begins to require additional energy to maintain itself (it needs to recover after exertion!).
If at the same time you start to increase your calorie intake compared to your usual level, then the muscle tissue will receive its increased nutrition, the muscles will slightly increase, but the existing adipose tissue will not go away, because its feeding has not decreased. And, thus, the total volumes will slightly increase without the manifestation of the relief.
And it often happens that in this situation, the food is increased too much (hunger requires something!), Justifying this by the fact that “well, I’m training now!” It is especially dangerous to increase the consumption of carbohydrates, and they are what you just want the most! It is because of this that it is widely believed that they do not lose weight from the gym, but “swing” and gain weight.
What to do: Monitor your diet very closely in the first 1-2 months of training to make sure your calorie intake has not increased! If you leave your nutrition at your usual level (just don’t be fooled! :)), then after a while you will notice that the body has tightened, the body fat has decreased, and your muscles have slightly emerged.The general impression will be that you have lost weight and tightened. If at the same time you purposefully work on certain muscle groups, then you can form a slightly different silhouette, body proportions, which is impossible with conventional diets and weight loss, when the overall silhouette remains unchanged even when you lose a lot of kilograms. (don’t worry, you need a special sports nutrition to get real big muscles).
The main thing is to hold out for these first couple of months.If you handle them without increasing your calorie intake, then you will get used to the new regime, and you will calmly adhere to your usual diet.
In addition to maintaining bone density, strength training for women reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
Strength training improves posture and a sense of balance (balance). The correct technique for many strength exercises involves a neutral spine with the shoulders down and out, while rowing exercises require the shoulder blades to be brought up to the spine.During the exercise, the entire body (joints, muscles and even the brain), being in the correct position, tries to hold the burden. Constantly maintaining the correct posture during training gradually improves it in everyday life.
Strength training helps to cope with stress, which is almost inevitable in our life, more easily, thanks to the release of endorphins, which make us feel better.
In general, girls and women, do not hesitate – lift weights!
Date of creation: 4 November 2014
90,000 Why do we need strength exercises and do we need them or at all?
Many do not see much difference between activities such as yoga and Pilates.Meanwhile, the difference is huge. We will tell you how to choose “your” direction.
Nina Kolomiytseva, certified international specialist
Yoga alliance, founder of Cultural Organization 108
It’s not even that yoga is more about the spiritual component, meditation, nutrition, chanting and breathing practices, and Pilates was originally intended as a recovery program for those who have experienced serious injuries.However, proper breathing is also important for pilates. True, unlike yoga, where we try to breathe mainly through the stomach, inhale and exhale through the nose, and also practice “breathing fire”, in Pilates it is allowed to inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth.
One of the main principles of Pilates is to combine breathing with your movement (when performing an exercise). At the same time, the correctness and accuracy of the exercises in Pilates is much more important than in yoga.
In yoga we learn and constantly improve: if something does not work out for us, then we do not despair, because next time we will definitely succeed – this requires constant practice.To get results in Pilates, you need to strive to follow the instructions of the trainer unquestioningly.
Both yoga and Pilates are difficult to classify as strength training, although with due diligence and frequency of training, you can tighten your body well both there and there.
Let’s not argue, we can easily find some exercises from yoga practice in Pilates classes, however, they have undergone some modification and were supplemented with some elements. It’s no secret that the most popular asanas have formed the basis for many types of physical activity, including Pilates.
One thing in common is that both directions prioritize spine health: in yoga we try to keep our back straight and train the muscle corset, in Pilates there are several important principles – the navel-to-spine technique and spine extension. You should constantly reach with the crown of your head towards the ceiling and watch your shoulders so that they, in turn, do not reach your ears.
Several important differences:
Yoga is an ancient Indian system for improving oneself both physically and psycho-emotional and spiritual.Modern yoga is represented by several areas that are quite different from each other: Hatha Yoga, Kundalini, Bikram Yoga, Nidra, Iyengar, etc. As a rule, in fitness centers Hatha is most often taught, as the most physically active and understandable to the majority. You can skip chanting mantras in it.
Pilates is a relatively young direction of fitness, which at one time (20s of the last century) was proposed by George Pilates, a sports specialist, as a rehabilitation program for former athletes and dancers.Pilates continues to evolve and improve to this day.
During yoga , as a rule, additional equipment is not used: you can practice barefoot – even better, on the simplest gymnastic mat. The most you may need is tape if you are not very good at stretching. True, do not forget that the use of the tape should be temporary.
Pilates provides for different types of load and options for exercising with a variety of equipment – these can be balls of various sizes (from tennis or massage balls to fitballs), as well as rollers, rings, etc.
Depending on the type of yoga the practice can be more intense, dynamic or, conversely, relaxing. We practice different postures, breathing practice is necessarily included in the lesson, relaxation after difficult asanas (in the child’s pose), the lesson ends with shavasana – such a basic minimum.
Of course, each type of yoga has its own rules. In Bikram Yoga, exactly 26 poses are performed. In Kundalini there is such a thing as kriya – a whole lesson is devoted to it.Kriyas are different, and the selection of asanas depends on them, which can be aimed at maintaining immunity or even financial well-being. Nidra is represented by one pose – savasana, as this practice provides for complete relaxation.
Pilates in this regard is more like a regular workout, but without jumping, running in place and other strength elements. During classes, repetition of exercises, a lot of dynamics, focus on the abdominal muscles and spinal traction are provided, while in yoga our gaze should be turned inward.
In general, in order to really understand the difference and feel it, you need to go to practice and choose for yourself the direction that meets your ideas about physical activity, philosophy and attitude to life.
Intensive strength training stays in muscle memory for a long time | News
Physical activity is one of the main methods of prevention and non-pharmacological correction of many diseases. It is believed that to achieve positive effects, physical activity should be regular (WHO recommendation).However, research in recent years shows that muscles can remember strength training for extended periods of time.
In a study published in the Journal of Physiology, a team led by Hojun Lee, a professor at Seoul National University, studied the phenomenon of muscle memory. They showed that intense strength training in rats leads to an increase in the number of nuclei in their muscle fibers, which persists for 20 weeks after the end of training, which is equivalent to about 15 years of human life.Moreover, if strength training is repeated after a 20-week break, then the increase in muscle mass, and, therefore, the contraction force will be greater than during the first training session. But that’s not all: additional nuclei in the muscle fiber stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, so already trained muscles with repeated physical activity turn out to be not only stronger, but also more enduring (with a higher oxidative potential).
The authors conclude that even irregular strength exercise has a positive effect on muscles, and its effect persists for a long time.This muscle memory is especially important for healthy aging. With age, the incorporation of new nuclei into muscle fibers is disrupted, so the muscles of older people are not able to grow in response to physical activity, and over time they undergo senile atrophy. Prevention in the form of strength training in youth may prevent this if the results obtained in an animal model can be replicated in clinical trials.
Source: https: // physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP275308
DISCOVER THE FITNESS ROOM IN A MINUTE – fitness
High-intensity training on stationary bicycles of the famous SCHWINN company, imitating a group cycling race, will bring quick and tangible results as well. Recommended for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
This is an effective bodyweight workout using special equipment (loops) that will help to activate deep stabilizing muscles, which are not always available in regular training.Recommended for all levels of fitness.
The lesson is aimed at training the main muscle groups using special barbells and discs of various weights. Ligaments and joints are strengthened, muscle strength and relief are improved without an excessive increase in muscle volume. The PUMP lesson is the shortest path to good physical shape. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).It involves 8 approaches of one or more exercises for different muscle groups for 20 seconds with 10-second breaks UNDER MUSIC. Tabata songs are remixes of many famous songs adapted for training. Recommended for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
Unique training program. One of the most energy-intensive activities that develops all the basic motor qualities of a person. The use of a variety of equipment in the form of unstable platforms and
surfaces, a variety of free weights and shock absorbers allows you to make this workout as effective as possible.Recommended for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
Strength training is aimed at working out all muscle groups. Exercises are performed in a circle with time intervals of 30 seconds. up to 2 min. work and from 10 to 20 sec. recreation. Recommended for intermediate to advanced fitness levels.
A strength lesson aimed at working out all the main muscle groups using various equipment. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
Special exercises to relax muscles and fascia and then stretch them. Excessive tension is relieved, flexibility and mobility in the joints increases. Correct inclusion of MPF classes in your workouts allows you to avoid fatigue and overwork, helps relieve headaches, back pain, excessive excitability or, on the contrary, drowsiness. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
The author’s program that combines the techniques of Pilates, 3D plane training, fitness yoga and stretching.It is aimed at activating the motor function of the spine, mobilizing and stabilizing the joints, strengthening the muscular corset, increasing mobility and stretching the muscles of the back and core. The workout improves the overall functionality of the body, strengthens the abdominal muscles, and improves coordination and balance. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
Joseph Pilates’ unique training system is aimed at improving posture, general physical condition and the formation of the ability to control your body.
Small equipment used (ball, roll, ring, tape). As a result, you acquire a strong, flexible and healthy body, correct posture and strengthening of the nervous system. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
Lesson aimed at increasing joint mobility, improving muscle elasticity. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
A great way to strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility.Yoga involves not only physical activity, but also breathing practices and meditation. The combination of all of these aspects of exercise makes yoga one of the best ways to deal with stress and keep yourself in good physical shape. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
This complex, despite its apparent lightness, is aimed at improving the work of all muscle groups and internal organs. Exercise improves the condition of all body tissues, stimulates blood flow and positively affects the functioning of all human organs.Recommended for all levels of fitness.
A mix of intense fitness workout and Latino party. The dance lines and movements are simple, and any beginner can master them step by step. A fun, energetic, energetic workout that helps you find great physical shape and a happy state of mind. The lesson is taught by a licensed instructor! Recommended for all levels of fitness.
For children from 9 to 13 years old.An activity aimed at improving health, developing physical qualities, basic types of movements and attention of the child. During the lessons, auxiliary equipment is used: balls, jump rope, hoop, gymnastic sticks. The lesson takes place in a playful way – exciting, interesting, and most importantly – useful.
For children. Karate forms positive qualities and enhances the manifestation of strengths of character, in the classroom, children develop dexterity and endurance, learn the basics of oriental culture and learn to stand up for themselves and loved ones.
Strength classes AURORA – Network of Fitness Clubs in Barnaul
Hot-Iron 1, Hot Iron 2
Licensed German program (training is carried out only by specially trained and certified instructors.) The workout strengthens ligaments and joints, improves muscle endurance and definition without excessive increase in volume. Hot-Iron is the shortest path to great physical shape.
Unique training program. Includes elements from high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, athletics, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, kettlebell lifting, and other sports and physical activities. An energetic lesson that develops the basic motor qualities of a person.
Strength class aimed at training the muscles of the arms, back and abdominals.Medium intensity load. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
Strength class aimed at training the muscles of the legs, buttocks and abdominals. Medium intensity load. Recommended for all levels of fitness.
Functional class based on the use of natural human movement, aimed at developing endurance, agility and speed qualities.The high intensity exercise allows you to burn large amounts of feces. The workout uses a variety of equipment and a variety of combined movements, which makes the workout not only effective, but also fun.
ATTENTION! High-intensity interval training. Functional class in which intervals of 80-100% intensity are used, alternating with intervals of light work or complete rest. One of the most effective and energy-consuming types of physical activity.A lesson for those who are ready for high intensity loads, for an advanced level!
Functional training class using a step platform. The combination of the basic steps of step aerobics, strength and functional exercises with your own weight, allows you to create a fairly intense load and work out all the main muscle groups. Building a step aerobics class makes your workout more interesting and varied!
90,000 7 signs of good strength training
Fitness expert Sergey Strukov gives his list of 7 signs of proper strength training.
1. Your strength increases
Despite the obviousness of this fact, few get it right. It is necessary not only to gradually increase the weight on the bar (I hope your weight increases?), But also with the same or better technique.
Sergey explains how to determine that your strength is increasing: “Confirms the increase in strength with the same weight of resistance, the ability to lift it more times in the approach, and not in one lesson and not for one repetition” – I believe that you understand what this is about …
“Stick to the middle ground in strength development – develop muscles in a balanced way, but without trying to get stronger in all movements at once. Don’t forget about power too: increasing power can also be the goal of strength training. ”
2. Your joints do not hurt, and problems with the musculoskeletal system recede
Of course, when it comes to power records, this item loses its relevance. Wellness training is a completely different matter.With strength training, musculoskeletal problems should be reduced. Did your knees or back hurt? Does it still hurt? Are they hurting more? You are definitely training wrong.
Worst case: Your joints start to hurt from strength training. This should not be the case. The same can be said for persistent and / or severe muscle pain – this is not normal, no matter what the coach says.
A good indicator that you are training correctly is the ability to endure high training loads without pain and discomfort in muscles and / or joints after exercise.
3. You vary the intensity
Even in basic exercises, the intensity should vary from session to session. Accessory exercises are generally performed with a lower load, and sets are completed 1-2 reps to failure.
As the training level increases, the value of the training load variation increases. If a beginner adds new discs to the bar relatively easily, then the rate of growth slows down.
Approaching record results forces to alternate periods of relatively hard training and periods of “active rest” when the results are not so good. The situation with periodization in its simplest form is described by the expression: to take a step forward, you sometimes need to take a step (and sometimes more) back.
4. Strength increases slowly
The pace of progress is determined by individual characteristics, goals, lifestyle and depends on many factors. (Read more about the speed of progress and much more – in an interview with Sergey Strukov Zozhnik).
You need to take a sober approach to planning the result, especially in the case of a busy life outside the gym. With health-improving training, it is enough to simply lift 2.5-5 kg more after 1-2 sessions, maintaining the technique and with the same number of repetitions.
You don’t have to lift the maximum weight to build strength. For most of the year, it is recommended to train with weights of 70-90% RM. You can find out 1RM in exercises no more than once 1.5-2 months.
Strength gain is a long process, it slows down with the growth of results, and at a certain moment it stops.Determining whether you have reached your limit or not is difficult. Perhaps you just picked the wrong load, or maybe the stagnation of the results is a consequence of the stressful life outside the gym. Therefore, be patient and build your strength slowly, as this will reduce the likelihood of injury and provide more consistent results.
Additional advice: focus on the indicators of relative strength, the size of the burden in relation to body weight. It is the relative strength in exercise that shows how functional you are.
5. You enjoy studying
Wellness is an important prerequisite for a proper training program. Classes should be planned so that after the end of the workout you would like to repeat it.
A food analogy can be drawn: if the food is tasty and the serving size is correct, you will want to eat more. Just like a tasty meal, exercise should be enjoyable.
But this does not mean that you do not need to strain during training.Remember that the body is constantly changing and you can influence the direction and rate of change. If you do not strive for improvements, for example, to increase strength, then a deterioration in performance is inevitable. Periodically, you need to lift significant weights, for beginners, 70% of the RM is enough, and for trained people ≥90% of the RM.
Training is a lifelong process, so when trying a new program, always ask yourself: how long can I do THIS?
6. Improves the quality of movements
Weight lifting technique in strength training is another area for improvement.If the weight lifted hasn’t changed, but the technique has improved, you are stronger than . This principle is for people who still believe that strength training makes you awkward. Quite the contrary: proper strength training eliminates poor joint mobility.
Remember the difference between athletic and safe lifting techniques. In sports, it is important to lift weight while staying within the rules, but this method is far from always safe. For high results in sports, correct planning of loads alone is not enough, you have to “be born an athlete” of this orientation, and train regularly and persistently from childhood.
Begin training exercises by clarifying safe techniques for their implementation. Always prefer a safe technique to any other, even if you lift less that way. Perform the new exercise as slowly as possible, with noticeable stops for 1-2 seconds in the starting and final positions. On average, you should spend at least 2 seconds lifting weights and lowering at least 3.
If an exercise requires significant effort to coordinate efforts, try to perform it at the beginning of the lesson, do more approaches, but fewer repetitions in each of them (on average, 5).
The more weight you lift, the more attention should be paid to technique and range of motion.
7. Everything just happens
Serious strength training is easy. Simplicity shows up in the general scheme of the program, but does not mean that the workout is easy to compose. Usually the program consists of 3-8 exercises, which are performed in a “classic” approach / repetition scheme.
Simplicity means no fuss, no pushing for more reps in less time, combining 2 or more exercises, and reducing rest between sets to ≤1 minute (except in special cases).
Programming based on the concept of training lines allows you to maintain balance while loading the main muscles of the body. Highlight 1-2 exercises in which the increase in strength is especially necessary, include exercises from the rest of the lines with relatively less load and slowly add weight to the bar.
Check your program. If you notice a discrepancy with at least one sign, it’s time to change the program (or coach).
Read also on Zozhnik :
Sergey Strukov about sports nutrition, steroids, vitamins
Deflection not counted: is it necessary to arch on the bench press
Test for color blindness according to Rabkin’s polychromatic tables
Is it possible to speed up the metabolism (metabolism) and how to do it