Many people (especially women) tend to shy away from strength training. Time and time again a person decide they want to get fit, commit to the gym but think “I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to bulk up” so they stick to the cardio machines and don’t touch anything else.
The main reason for this is fear that they will get too big, but the fact is strength training is not just for bodybuilding. Picking up the weights is incredibly beneficial for everyone, in particular those looking to achieve weight loss goals. “Bulking Up” from strength training is a huge misconception that too many people have, meaning they miss out on the plethora of benefits it has to offer which are the key to overall health and fitness.
So, read on to find out exactly why everyone should add strength training into their workout.
#1 Manage Weight Effectively
If you are looking to workout to lose weight, one of the best places to start is with strength training. The more muscle you have, the more pounds you shred. Increasing lean muscle mass will assist you in burning calories more efficiently and not only in the gym. Weight training can also help you to burn more calories in general daily life.
#2 Preserve Muscle Mass
Without even thinking about increasing muscle mass from strength training, it is important to think about maintaining the current muscle you already have. Like a lot of things, muscle naturally diminishes as we get older. Therefore, strength training will help you preserve muscle mass.
#3 Improve Bone Health
Muscle is not the only thing we lose as we age. Both men and women lose bone density every year, however, due to hormonal changes this affects women most. This can lead to developing diseases such as osteoporosis. Regular strength training can aid the development of strong bones as well as help to slow bone deterioration.
#4 Disease Prevention
Numerous studies have shown the vast amount of wellness benefits associated with strength training. Research suggests that strength training can be as beneficial to arthritis pain as medication. As well as improving glucose control in sufferers of type 2 diabetes.
#5 Reduces Risk of Injury
When you participate in strength training you not only build strong muscles but also improve the health of ligaments and tendons. This supports your joints and aids balance and coordination.
Looking for a personalised plan? Why not check out our professionally designed programs for Men and Women?
How to start
If you want to start strength training of course you can find everything you need at the gym. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to own a Smith machine to be able to effectively achieve strength training at home. There are many exercises you can perform simply using your own bodyweight for resistance which you can easily perform in your living room.
At Home Exercises That Provide Strength Training Without Equipment:
- Push Ups
- Pull Ups
- Tricep Dips
- Jump Squats
- Mountain Climbers
- Ab Crunches
At the Gym:
- Weight Bars
- Resistance Machines
Resistance machines are great to use in the gym for those who are new to strength training. Most gyms will have a clear set of instructions for each machine as well as highlighting which muscle groups are isolated by the equipment. Start with a low weight and high reps (10-12) on each exercise, this helps to build lean muscle.
Also, if you’re new to strength training, don’t over do it! You don’t need to use every machine each time you hit the gym! Try spreading your training across the week and either choose one exercise for upper and lower body each time or concentrate on your upper body one day and lower body another.
Working all of your muscles to the max when starting a new program will be the quickest way to give yourself delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMS). This means, after a couple of days all of your muscles will seize up and you won’t be able to continue training until it calms down, losing gym time.
So start slow and build up your program and remember even without the help of a personal trainer, there are gym staff who will be able to give you advice on the equipment they have including how to use it safely.