7 Reasons You Need Strength Training
- Strength training vs stretching. Do you need strengthening or stretching?
Strength training benefits all bodies in a multitude of ways. Imbalances happen when some muscles are too tight and other muscles are too loose or weak. For example, tight hip flexors often lead to weak gluteal muscles. It is more beneficial to stretch the hip flexors and strengthen the gluteals thus improving muscular function and balance. A good movement assessment can help address and correct such issues of imbalance.
- Any strength training plan help: Stop looking for the ‘perfect’ plan!
Paralyzed by fear of not finding the “right” plan? Take action, get started, learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. Do you prefer a class or doing your strength training on your own? At a gym? At home? Pilates and Yoga are forms of strength training that also incorporate stretching. DO take care of yourself in a class situation so you feel motivated to get back to the gym another day!
One on one training sessions are best for addressing individual needs and teaching proper form. Consistency and progression are key: even one session per week done consistently makes a positive difference in your daily performance.
- Develop strong bones
Weight bearing exercise increases bone density and this is important for everyone, especially women and older men. You will need to push some heavy weight, load your spine and do some light to moderate plyometric exercises. Functional exercises where you move through a range of motion using multiple joints and muscles with weight give the greatest benefits. Example: squats with bar on back, walking lunges with rotation, walking with heavy weights, ropes, deadlifts, etc.
In one study, published in The American Journal of Health Promotion, women 25-50 significantly increased their hip bone density by performing 2 sets of 10 vertical jumps (30 second rest between sets), two times per day. This simple daily exercise improved bone mass better than running and only takes about 2 minutes per day!
- Weight control and fat burning. More muscle mass means more calorie burn.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. It needs more energy to maintain, thus higher muscle mass vs fat mass means you burn more calories all day long.
- Strength training improves endurance performance
For many years, the evidence was unclear about strength training and its impact improved endurance performance. Strength training does improve endurance performance. A couple of factors to consider:
- Strength training enables triathletes to maintain form longer on the swim bike and run.
- Performing endurance workouts directly before or after strength training decreases strength gains. Good to separate these workouts by at least 30 minutes for maximum benefits.
- Timing, volume, intensity and nutrition are all key factors to consider when adding strength training to your endurance training routine.
- Between endurance and strength training bouts, consume adequate carbohydrate and protein.
- Injury prevention
I think this is the most important reason that strength training improves performance. Quite simply, if your muscles and joints are strong, flexible, move with integrity, then you stay injury free. When you are injury free, you can train, grow and improve!
- Healthy, balanced, strong body = feel good, look good, DO good!
Need I say more?