A Beginners Guide to Strength Training
File photo credit: SportSG
What is Strength Training?
Strength training is an anaerobic exercise with the end goal of increasing your physical strength, endurance and muscle resistance. It works primarily by overloading a group of muscles for a short, intense period of time, and gradually increasing the output of force on them. You can strength train with a variety of exercises and equipment – at home through simple body weight exercises (pull ups, push ups) and free weights (dumbbells), or at the gym using weight lifting machines.
What is Not Strength Training?
Strength training is not just about ‘bulking up’ – it is about increasing your overall body strength. Building muscles is just a by-product of strength training, not its goal. Athletes who do strength training are not bodybuilders, nor are they competing to lift the heaviest weight possible. This is known as weight training.
The Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training has many functional benefits to your overall health:
- Improves the strength of your muscles, tendons and ligaments
- Increases bone density and testosterone levels
- Burns fat and lowers cholesterol
- Boosts your stamina
- Reduces the likelihood of back pain, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
- Helps keep you healthy and in good shape, which is particularly relevant as you age in present times where physical jobs are becoming less common, and we spend a lot of our day sitting at a desk and staring at a computer
How Does Strength Training Complement Your Exercise Programme?
Strength training can complement your overall exercise programme, and forms the basis of training for many sports such as gymnastics, basketball, rock climbing, rowing, and track and field. But it is also effective for sharpening your physical condition and making you stronger on the whole. A good, all round training schedule includes both cardiovascular and strength training, which combined with a well balanced diet, leads to a healthier body and lifestyle.