Strength Training Builds More Than Just Muscles

Yes, we all know that strength training can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength, and many of us think about weight lifting as 'bulking up' when in fact there are many more benefits which we tend to forget about. Strong muscles lead to strong bones, and in time can help minimise the risk of fractures in later life when developing osteoporosis. 

Your bones need to stay challenged, just like your brain needs exercise to stay alert. A combination of age related changes, inactivity, and inadequate nutrition all contribute to the factors of gradually stealing bone mass. As bones grow more fragile they are more susceptible to fracture at the slightest of movement, which is what we all would like to avoid.

Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing down the process of bone density loss, and several studies even show it can build bone. It Is very important that we think about ways to keep our body healthier and stronger and strength training is a great way to optimise this.

Resistance training creates force on the bones and helps them stay strong. Your body cares about its survival and is designed to adapt to fight against anything that tries to push against it. Which is why strength training is a great way to challenge not only your body, but your mind aswell. 

What else does strength training benefit?

As strength training can be used within many different forms, targeting most muscle groups, it is a great workout for enhancing power and stability throughout your whole body. Many of us result to cardio as a way to increase metabolism and increase fat loss, when infact resistance training is, if not just as effective. As you are challenging and growing the muscles within your body during strength training, it has to allow the muscles to adapt, even after you have finished your workout. The active tissue needs energy to rebuild, leading in burning calories even when you are resting. 

Challenging your body in ways you normally don't is a great way for testing balance and improving stability. During strength training you are optimising all parts of the body including the core, to perform at your highest energy output. Your core is the fundamental part of every other limb in the body, and without a strong core it is hard to perform exercises correctly. For example, during in a Sumo Deadlift, if the core is not engaged correctly, you may have the decency to fall forward or back, resulting in either not being able to lift the weight, or even resulting in injury. Keeping your centre of gravity even throughout the body, and engaging the core correctly will result in a more efficient lift and stronger overall.

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Another example is during a front squat. Focusing the weight towards to front of the body, again tests the core to find a different centre of gravity, resulting in improved stability.

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I remember when I began lifting weights myself and it always seemed somewhat daunting. And yes I may not be the strongest now, but I am a lot better than I was a couple of years ago, and that is what matters to most. Strength training allows you to work with just yourself. Helps you to understand the body, and where your weaknesses lie and what you need to improve on. I hear a lot of people say 'oh well I can't lift as much as them so I can't do it' but everyone 'mechanically' is designed different. Some may have a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle fibres which are great for endurance, but they may struggle with their strength. Whereas others may have a higher percentage of slow twitch muscle fibres, great for strength but tire quickly during endurance exercises. When you begin to think this mind set, this is what in time will begin to help your confidence and self belief grow. Instead of always competing against others, try just competing against yourself and your training will be come much more fun and rewarding.

All exercise is a great way to help improve your mood and make you feel happier due to the release of endorphins during exercise.  Here at PNF we aim to enhance your experience of your fitness journey. Find and encourage the right training for you and what we believe will benefit you the most. If you would like to have a chat with one of our trainers, or would like some further guidance with taking the next step into getting healthier then don't hesitate to give us a call.

Rachel.