Why You Should be Lifting Weights
Now I’m not sure if you’re already taking part in a resistance training programme on a regular basis, and if you are, you likely already know of the huge list of benefits that come with it. But if you’re not, this week I’d like to point out a few reasons why you should be.
Resistance training, a.k.a. Weight Training or Strength Training generally involves the use of one or more of the following to create resistance against a given muscle or group of muscles whilst performing a given movement:
- Free Weights – Dumbbells, Barbells, Cable Machines, Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, etc…
- Fixed Resistance Machines – A machine that provides an adjustable amount of resistance for a given fixed path of movement.
- Resistance Bands – Large rubber bands or rubber tubes that provide resistance when stretched.
- Body Weight Training – Free, Rings/TRX, Fixed Bars/Poles.
These aren’t your only options when it comes to resistance training but they are tend to be the most common and using the above you literally have an unlimited number of exercises to choose from.
Oh, and don’t fear ladies, resistance training WILL NOT make you big and bulky! I promise. To be honest, for most of you it would be almost impossible to get any significant “bulk” without the use of a lot of “Supplements”! I say it like that because I’m referring to the ones you can’t just walk into a highstreet store and buy over the counter.
The main reason for this is that women don’t have high enough levels of testosterone. In fact, female testosterone levels tend to be around 10 times lower than in males.
BUT, if you are one of the very few females out there that has the genetic gift of being able to pack on muscle like your male counterparts you have a couple of choices: a) embrace it and go with the flow; or b) adjust your sets and reps to stay within endurance training parameters and manipulate your diet to keep your calorie surplus to a minimum.
So aside from variety, what other benefits can resistance training offer when done correctly?
There are both physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance training, they include:
- Improved strength and endurance – Muscles adapt and get stronger and their capacity for greater workloads improves
- Improved joint health and stability – Joints become more mobile whilst ligaments and cartilage strength improves.
- Improved fat loss – As you strengthen and build muscle you burn more fat at rest
- Improvement of chronic pain syndromes – Resistance training achieves phenomenal results when applied correctly in rehabilitation
- Improved bone density – It’s one of the most effective ways to combat Osteoporosis
- Improved posture – When resistance training is done correctly, posture improves as a by-product
- Improved balance and co-ordination – Easier for you to maintain your center of gravity over your base of support through improved body awareness
- Improved flexibility – Resistance training can be used to increase joint range of motion and muscle flexibility
- It has been shown to aid in the prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity
- Decreased risk of injury – Stronger muscles, joints and bones as well as improvements in balance, co-ordination and flexibility reduce your risk of injury
- Improved sense of wellbeing – Shown to boost self confidence, improve your body image and reduce the risk of depression
- Helps improve sleep – Things such as better muscle balance, pain control, hormone function and improved blood flow all aid in a good nights rest
- Enhanced performance of everyday tasks – Because your training intensity should outweigh the intensity of the tasks you carry out on a daily basis these things become far less challenging
- You can even use resistance training to improve your cardiovascular function and endurance!
There are of course more benefits to be had from a good resistance programme but I think you get the idea.
What to do next
If you’ve not done any resistance training for a while now, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor just to ensure there are no limitations on the type of resistance training you should do. Then when given the go ahead, begin incorporating resistance training into your training schedule. Start with two days a week if you’re new to it and build up to 3-4 over the course of 4-6 weeks if your schedule allows.
All the best,