Not just about building bulk, strength training’s popularity is at an all-time high, for both sexes. Not convinced? We picked the brains (and brawn) of City Club PT Jackson Rae to find out 6 compelling reasons you should try strength training today. What have you got to lose?
First up, what exactly is strength training?
“Strength training is a type of physical exercise that specialises in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds strength, anaerobic endurance and increases the size of skeletal muscle,” says Jackson.
And what kind of exercises does it involve?
Jackson nominates push ups, chin ups, squats, leg press and deadlifts as some of the more common strength training moves. Exercise equipment can include free weights, weight machines and resistance bands, but a lot of work can be done just using your own body weight, too.
Why should I try strength training?
Jackson says there is an extensive list of benefits that comes with these kinds of workouts. Here are 6 reasons you should try strength training for yourself.
- It helps with weight management, and results in an increased muscle-to-fat ratio. The greater lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism, meaning your body becomes more effective at burning calories.
- You’ll experience improved mobility and balance (something we are passionate about at Collins Place Physio!).
- You’ll improve your posture (CPP note: this results in fewer injuries).
- It helps Increase bone density and strength, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- You’ll enjoy an Improved sense of wellbeing. “Resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood,” says Jackson.
- You’ll perform better at even everyday tasks.
Can anybody strength train?
“Anybody that suffers from diagnosed muscle, bone or joint problems who has been told that participating in resistance training could make them feel worse should not participate in this method of training until further medical advice has been sought,” Jackson advises. “People without these conditions should include resistance training in their lifestyle as it adds many benefits to a person’s wellbeing.”
Should it be combined with cardio?
“For your everyday person I would highly recommend having a cardiovascular routine in conjunction with your resistance program if you are looking to really maximise your training success and overall fitness levels,” says Jackson. However, the amount of cardio he recommends depends on an individual’s goal, whether that might be gaining muscle or losing body fat.
“Too much cardio can inhibit muscle growth,” he says, “so if your goal is to increase your lean muscle mass, then you would do more resistance training than cardio. However, if your goal is to lose body fat, then upping your cardio training in conjunction with your resistance training can accelerate your results and put you in that calorie deficit which can reduce your body fat.”
But isn’t lifting weights going to make me bulky?
In a word, no. “Body Builders use specific training techniques to increase their size and their training program is backed up with a very specific nutrition program which can consist of an extremely high amount of calories. Day to day women participating in moderate resistance training 2-3 times a week will experience more strength gains than an actual noticeable size increase in muscle mass,” says Jackson.
What do I need to know before starting strength training?
It’s important to establish your goals first, says Jackson. “Once you have established this, consult with a fitness professional at your local fitness centre and arrange a pre-exercise screening. Identify any issues that may put you at risk when exercising before attempting to hit the gym floor and start lifting weights.
“If your fitness professional can carry out a basic posture analysis on you then that will be great – this way they can identify any muscular imbalances and start to implement some corrective exercises. It’s very important to pay attention to safety and good form to reduce the risk of injury. Utilise a registered fitness professional to help coach you through your training program until you are confident your technique is as good as it can be.”
A final word from Jackson…
“It’s good to be strong and have strength in the muscle, but equally as important is to have length and stay on top of your flexibility training. Stretching after your sessions will reduce the intensity of your delayed onset muscle soreness (also known as DOMS). A well-rounded training program should include the following components: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility training.”
Jackson Rae is a Personal Trainer at City Club (Grand Hyatt)
Please contact him on 0413 551 085 or email to make an appointment.