Your muscles follow the logic of ‘use it or lose it’. Know the basics of strength training and learn to engage your muscles in varied ways through strength training for quicker results.
As a gym newbie you get intimidated by the sight of muscular men grunting while lifting weights. You ignore the machines with pulleys and levers and contentedly continue with your cardio because strength training is for folks who want to build muscles. Little do you realize that strength training is for anyone who wants to get fitter irrespective of gender and age? The benefits offered by strength training make it a wholesome workout that ticks off most of your fitness goals.
Strength training also known as resistance training or weight training is an exercise that causes muscles to contract against resistance provided by external weights which leads to increase in strength, tone, endurance and mass of the muscles involved.
Strength training produces a number of beneficial changes at the molecular, enzymatic, hormonal, and chemical levels in your body, helping to slow down and even reverses many of the diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle, including type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
- Other than bulking, strength training sustains weight loss. A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.
- Additionally strength training is good for your bones, decreases the risk of injury and boosts your energy levels and elevates your mood.
- American Heart Association has found that moderate weight training offers benefits to people with heart disease.
If you are new to strength training, terms like ‘set’ and ‘reps’ stand out for you. A rep (repetition) indicates one complete motion of an exercise; a set is a group of reps. Thus, if you performed two sets of 10 reps of bicep curls, this means you did 10 bicep curls, rested, then did 10 more.
How to get started
- Body weight exercises are the simplest way of getting started on strength training. They require no special equipment and no place to schedule. Squats, push-ups, hand stand push-ups and planks classify as body weight exercises.
- Hand weights and dumb bells are more or less the same, but hand weights are lighter and can be used for exercising muscles anytime. Keep them handy and do a few sets of bicep curls when the commercial break appears on the idiot box.
- Dumb bells are weights more than 10 pounds. As a beginner, it isn’t necessary to overload on heavy weights right away; start with a pair that feels comfortable for your needs and tires you out in about eight to 10 reps.
- Kettlebells looks like a cannonball with a handle. Use kettlebells to pack on more muscle and to get ripped faster. Kettlebells will help you develop more power in your hips, legs and glutes.
- A barbell is a 5 to 7 feet long steel bar, which can be thick or thin and has engravings on it to help the lifter maintain their grip. Weight plates are slid on the outer portions of the barbell and are secured with collars to prevent them from sliding off during the exercise. Barbells are easy to learn the basic lifts and are used for weight training, Olympic lifting and power lifting. Owing to its stability barbell allows you to go easier with lower body movements like the squat and deadlift.
- Resistance bands allow you to get a full body strengthening workout without weights.
Your progress will depend on the number of reps you do.
- Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength.
- Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength and muscular endurance.
- Reps in the 12+ range build muscular endurance and size
After initial days of strength training you may notice muscle imbalance, when one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscle. If this is the case then you’ve to engage a mix of muscles in your strength training schedule to enhance your muscle gains.