Some facts about strength training

Some facts about strength training

For many people, just the mention of weight training conjures up images of sweaty, muscle bound-men in smelly gyms lifting huge weights and making a lot of grunting noises. Understandably, this puts people off even before they know much about weight training.

So, if you have some reservations about weight training or are still confused about what the benefits here are some facts about weight training.

Weight Training done correctly helps reduce reduce fat and improves health risk

Both weight training and aerobic exercise, if done correctly and at a high enough intensity, release fatty acids into the blood stream and improve insulin resistance. Weight training has the advantage in that it increases lean body mass which helps improve insulin resistance even more and increases metabolism even when you are not exercising.  The research evidence to date does not demonstrate the effectiveness of resistance training for weight loss.  It does however increase the loss of fat and increase fat-free mass which in the long term is advantageous to managing body fat.  Even without any change in weight or body fat, health risk is improved with resistance training. 

Strength training can be done in a short amount of time

Many people think you need to spend hours ‘pumping iron’ to get benefits from weight training. If you work efficiently and focus on the major muscle groups, you can complete a whole body workout in a short period of time. There are some fitness professionals who say you only need to spend about 10 minutes. I’ve done workouts of about this length and if you work hard and fast it can be done.

You don’t need to go to a gym or buy expensive equipment

Not having the ‘right’ equipment is a common excuse for not doing strength training. You can get a good strength session using just your own body weight. If you want to add more resistance, a pair of adjustable dumbbells is certainly enough to get stronger and maintain your muscle tissue.

Strength training is a good weapon against osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a major health risk for many adults. Strength training puts stresses on the bones and it is this stress that encourages the bones to get stronger and denser. Unlike aerobic exercise, which tends to be the same movement repeated over and over, strength training puts a lot of different stresses on different bones. This helps to improve the density of a range of bones in the body.

You won’t get ‘big and bulky’ like a body builder

Many people, especially women are fearful of looking like a body builder if they do weight training. Unless you are doing hours and hours of training, eating a very high protein, high energy diet, and probably taking anabolic steroids, you won’t get a physique like a body builder. If you do two or three strength training sessions a week you will probably see some increase in muscle size and you will look more ‘toned’. Females especially won’t ‘bulk up’ as they have less testosterone than men.

Strength training is the most efficient choice of exercise and I strongly recommend you add some to your exercise routine. A couple of short sessions each week is all it takes to maintain your strength and muscle mass.

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David Beard
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