Strength training is a term we hear a lot, and it can seem quite self explanatory… but in terms of how to actually go about building strength, it is another world. We are going to talk about how strength training is not only good for gaining muscle, but helpful for life in general.
So what is strength training? It’s defined as the performance of physical exercises that are designed to improve strength and endurance. It’s often associated with lifting weights, but can also incorporate a variety of other training techniques. When done correctly, it can be a great way of training in the gym, and there are hundreds of options for exercise routines, so not everyday needs to look the same!
Strength training sometimes gets a bad rep… mainly amongst people who believe it will make them too bulky or look too muscular. This reputation overlooks the amazing benefits that upping your strength can have for a healthier lifestyle.
Benefits beyond the visuals:
- Decreases your risk of falling as you get older; because of improved balance and stability that comes along with strength training.
- Lower risk of injury… The stronger your joints are, the less likely you are to do damage with normal everyday activities like lifting or running!
- Improves your heart health. Lots of strength training increases your heart rate, which strengthens the muscles around your heart. Heart health is not just about the classic cardio workouts.
- Mental health. Exercise beats stress, regular exercise reduces overall anxiety and raises the levels of those happy hormones we all crave.
- Blood sugar levels… getting those muscles moving will force your body to use that glucose store.
- And finally, brain power! Reduce the risk of cognitive decline by using regular strength training.
So where to start?
Before you get into the nitty gritty, it’s crucial to warm up. Starting with a brisk walk on the treadmill is an easy option… and our Technogym kit screens have a fab selection of things to watch to make it even easier! This is so important because warm muscles are less prone to injury than cold ones.
Now your muscles are nice and toasty, it’s time to lift. Knowing how heavy to go, and for how long is a bit of an artform. Research shows that a single set of 12-15 reps can build muscle just as effectively as three sets can. So it doesn’t always need to be hours in the gym. The key to an effective set is fatigue.
Fatigue.. Huh? How do we measure that?
It’s tricky I know… here's a good rule of thumb. Your last rep should be virtually impossible to lift. This is a sign that you’re at full capacity, and you're sure to be building muscle. If you are just starting out, you need to ensure the form is correct to get the most of the reps you’re doing. If this means lowering the weight and upping the reps, that’s fine. Remember, everyone is different, and fitness is never one size fits all. Your muscles are bound to be aching the next day, so remember to rest between workouts… training while sore is a quick route to injuring yourself! The main point here is, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If it hurts, stop. If it feels wrong, stop. Be sensible. We have great PT’s in all of our clubs, so if you are struggling, please ask!
We hope this has given you the push to correctly start your muscle gain journey. The key takeaways are:
- Focus on form
- Rep to fatigue
- Always ask for help
- Oh and good luck!