What is strength training and what do you get from it? Strength or Resistance Training is a great way to build muscle while burning fat. It also has a large number of other benefits such as more energy, less anxiety & stress, and an overall improved mood. In fact, weight training every day offers health benefits related to heart disease like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity. Here’s everything you need to know before beginning.
What is Strength Training?
Strength Training, also known as Weight Training, is a form of physical exercise where you use resistance to build the strength, size, and endurance of your muscles. Basically, any exercise where your body moves against resistance classifies as strength training.
How To Do Strength Training?
You can use dumbbells, barbells, or your own body weight as resistance for your strength training. There are different exercises you can use to create different workout routines.
Here are 3 common types:
- Circuit Training: This workout routine combines cardio and resistance training for a total body workout. For example, after every 3-5 sets of weight training, you mix in the 3-5 minutes of cardio.
- Split Routine: Commonly used by bodybuilders so they can focus on which muscle to target every session. For example, on the first day, you target your chest and biceps. On the second, you can do your back and triceps. On the third, you exercise your legs.
- Powerlifting: powerlifters often focus on function rather than form. If you want to learn how to lift barbells twice your weight over your head, then you should learn powerlifting.
Tip: With all the different exercises available, we can create an infinite number of routine combinations. To avoid wasting time, you should follow a workout plan created by professionals. Check out the Online Training Programs by ShredZone. It’s a proven program used by many clients.
How to Start Strength Training?
Strength training isn’t restricted to experienced bodybuilders. There are plenty of easy strength-training exercises beginners can do.
The first exercises you should definitely try are deadlift, bench press, and squat. Take note that these comprise to make the king of all compound strength-lifting movements.
- Deadlift: To do a deadlift, you lift a loaded bar off the ground until it’s up above your knees then lower it back down. It’s an exercise that targets your legs while strengthening your lower back.
- Bench Press: The bench press is probably a favorite among many. By doing the bench press, you’re targeting your pecs while exercising your lats, triceps, biceps, and even quads.
- Squats: We cannot stress how important it is to never skip leg day. Building a strong pair of legs is important for both form and function. Squats exercise your hams and glutes with a focus on your quads.
What is a REP and a SET in Strength Training?
You can’t design a strength-training (or weight-training) program without knowing two terms: rep and set. Rep (repetition) is one complete motion of an exercise. A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. For example, you can say, “I did two sets of ten reps on the chest press.” This means that you did ten consecutive chest presses, rested, and then did another ten chest presses.
How Many Reps Should You Do?
The number of reps you should do depends on where you are in your training and your goals.
- To become as strong and as big as your body type will allow, do fewer than 8 or 10 reps per set.
- To tone your muscles and develop the type of strength you need for everyday life — moving furniture or shoveling snow — aim for 10 to 12 repetitions.
Note: Doing dozens of reps with ultralight weights doesn’t bring good results of any kind, because you’re not stressing your muscles enough.
If you have a few different goals in mind, you can mix and match the number of reps you do per workout. If you want to get bigger and stronger and also improve the endurance of those muscles, you can do a heavy workout one day and a light workout the next. Keep track of how you feel; your body may respond better to one type of training than another.
Be sure to adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise. In general, use more weight to work larger muscles like your thighs, chest, and upper back, and use less weight to exercise your shoulders, arms, and abs. But even when doing different exercises for the same muscle group, you’re likely to need a variety of weights. For example, you typically can handle more weight on the flat chest-press machine than you can on the incline chest-press machine.
How Many Sets Should I do For Each Muscle Group?
There’s no right or wrong answer. Several studies show that doing one set per muscle builds just as much strength as doing three sets per muscle, at least for the first 3 or 4 months of training. If you’re a novice or if you’re starting again after a layoff, begin with one set of 10 to 12 repetitions, and make sure your last rep feels challenging. You should feel like you have control of the weight but if you did one more rep, you may not be able to make it all the way.
Most people can increase their initial weights after 2 to 4 weeks of training; at that point, consider adding a second or even third set for each muscle group. However, if your goal is simply to build enough strength for good health, one challenging set may be sufficient.
Benefits Of Strength Training
Besides looking and feeling great, there are many amazing benefits to be had from strength training.
Benefit #1 Maintaining Muscle Tissue:
When you turn 30 years old, growth hormones decrease dramatically. 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
This 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.
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.
Benefit #6: Boosted Brain Health
Strength training can improve brain power across a lifetime, but the effects are perhaps the strongest in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. In a 2016 study in the Journal of American Geriatrics, when men and women ages 55 to 86 with mild impairment performed twice weekly weight training for 6 months, they significantly improved their scores on cognitive tests. However, when participants spent their workouts stretching, their cognitive test scores declined.
The key is to get the blood flowing, noting that high-intensity strength training increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain.
Benefit #7 Reduced Cancer Risk
Visceral fat not only increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, but it can also promote cancer development. Researchers show that visceral fat cells produce high levels of a cancer-triggering protein called fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2).
How to Strength Train at Home
Do you often stay at home or just didn’t feel like going to the gym? Strength training can still be an option for you. Most people are under the misconception that you need to be at a gym to workout.
There are plenty of exercises that you can do at home, both with and without weights. If you have the budget, it may be more efficient to invest in a good set of equipment.
If you do not have any equipment, you can start by doing bodyweight exercises and calisthenics. Once the exercises become to easy for you, you can crank it up a notch by doing some variations on how you execute them.
What are your favorite strength training exercises? Share your routine with us in the comments section below!