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The Benefits of Strength Training

Strength training involves using your own body-weight, weight machines at the gym, free weights or resistance bands to build up strength through increased resistance over time. When exercising for strength we would typically follow a reps and sets approach. Reps refers to the number of times you do an exercise without stopping for a break (end of the set). Sets refers to the number of times you perform the reps. For example you might do 5 sets of 5 reps for a strength training workout session. Typically we look at lower reps to build strength and the difficulty should be quite high in comparison to a lighter weight and higher reps for muscle building or endurance. What Are The Benefits of Strength Training?

● It’s the only way to choose how to change your body shape. With strength training you can target areas of your body where you would like to increase muscle mass. You can’t target fat, but you can target where you gain muscle. You can’t achieve this with cardio, such as running. You may be able to lose weight but you can’t choose where it comes from. ● You can achieve a lower body-fat percentage including strength training in your fitness regime, than training cardio alone. ● Increased metabolism. If you compare a kg of muscle in comparison to a kg of fat: the kg of muscle needs more calories to maintain it than a kg of fat. This means you will burn more calories at rest, than you would if you didn't have that muscle. ● Strengthens bones. Bones get stronger by applying resistance to them over time, studies have shown that older people are less likely to have osteoporosis if they have done strength training. According to Layne & Nelson(1999) 'Both aerobic and resistance training exercise can provide weight-bearing stimulus to bone, yet research indicates that resistance training may have a more profound site specific effect than aerobic exercise.' ● Less injury. Stronger muscles means you are less likely to get injured, suffer from poor posture or get aches and pains from simply not moving enough. It’s amazing how many people come to me with shoulder and back pain, simply because they haven’t done any (or very little)strengthening exercises in their adult life. ● Strength training helps with stability and can enable you to do other exercises such as running or team sports with less risk of pain from previous injuries ● Mental health. When you feel and look strong, it naturally lifts your mood. You might train with a personal trainer or a group of people so the social aspect is great for mental health too. ● Strength training not only strengthens our bones to prevent osteoporosis, but it also helps to lower your resting heart rate, this means a lower risk of heart problems in later life.

What Are the Benefits of Body-Weight Strength Training?

Body-weight strength training involves using your own weight as the resistance to build strength and muscle. Some common body-weight strength exercises are push-ups, glute-bridges and step downs. There are many exercises and variations to suit different levels.

Some benefits include:

● None or little equipment required

● You can workout anywhere- your living room, backyard ,local park, the beach… etc

● You can train outside, which is pretty great living in sunny Sydney!

● It can be less intimidating than going to a weights room at the gym

● It encourages weight-loss: as you are lifting your own body-weight, if you lose weight it becomes easier and you can do more

● You can build a more streamlined body shape or train for muscle - you get to choose

The key to strength training is to start off slowly and gradually move on to harder progressions or harder variations of exercises so you continue to reap the benefits. Add strength training to your exercise regime and stay consistent to look and feel stronger session by session.

Dave Mace is the Founder and Head Coach at Maximum Potential Calisthenics based in Jannali (and other areas in Sydney).


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