The Benefits of Strength Training
Why strength training is an important piece to your overall health and performance.
Strength Training Defined:
The National Strength and Conditioning Association defines strength as the maximal force that a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specified velocity.
Strength Training Guidelines:
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of two, non-consecutive, strength training workouts per week. In addition, ACSM recommends completing 8 to 12 repetitions for healthy adults and 10 to 15 repetitions for older and frail individuals. Eight to 10 exercises should be performed that target the major muscle groups.
The Benefits of Strength Training:
1) Bone Health
Harvard Medical School has a great article titled 'Strength Builds More Than Muscle'. In this article, they highlighted the connection between strength training and bone health. Some of the benefits outlined in the article include:
- Strength training can increase bone density which in turn reduces the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
- Slows down the rate of bone loss (which tends to drop 1% each year after the age of 40).
- Studies have also shown that strength training can actually build bone.
- Strength training targets bones of the wrists, spine and hips which are the sites most likely to fracture.
- Enhances strength and stability which in turn can reduce the risk of falling.
2) Increases Our Ability to Burn Calories
Muscle is a prime location for burning fat, taking glucose out of the blood stream and is the biggest contributor to your resting metabolic rate. The less muscle mass you have, the less calories you are able to burn and your ability to metabolize food gets worse, leaving you more vulnerable to obesity, diabetes and other conditions.
3) Athletic and Work Performance
At an athletic level, we know athletes greatly benefit from the strength training exercises that help them sprint faster, throw further and jump higher. There is no coincidence that athletes in professional sports are stronger and faster than ever, hard work in the gym combined with proper sleep and nutrition has brought athletes to a new level. I have seen this many times first hand.
B) Work Performance
Strength training allows for greater work capacity. When it's easier to lift, push, or pull something it is also easier to complete more tasks.
4) Helps People with Diabetes
Alex Huchinson, Ph.D outlines in his book 'Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?' that recent studies have shown strength training to help people with diabetes regulate their glucose and insulin levels. He also talks about how it helps control a variety of health conditions from high blood pressure to depression.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Training
Interested in cardiovascular training? Check out my article 'The Benefits of Cardiovascular Training'.
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