By Coach Hunter Bennett
Strength training is one of the best forms of exercise you can undertake.
I mean, not only does it help you look like a badass, but research has shown time and time again that it can have profound impacts on your health and function.
Which is exactly why I want to shed some light on the topic.
1. Strength Training and Fat Loss
When most people think of exercise for weight loss, they jump straight to cardio — and while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, strength training may be a better option.
Strength training increases the quality and quantity of your muscle tissue. This increases your metabolic rate, which increases the amount of energy you burn every single day.
Over time, this can lead to a considerably easier fat loss journey.
Oh, and obviously strength training is also a form of exercise in itself, so it will also burn energy while you do it.
2. Strength Training and Heart Health
Although weight training is less ‘cardiovascular’ than aerobic exercise, it still places stress on your cardiovascular system. And this stress causes some significant improvements in cardiovascular health.
In fact, strength training has been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease measures of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, and increase measures of ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol — all of which contribute to a healthier heart and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Strength Training and Metabolic Health
In a similar vein to the above point, resistance training has also been shown to cause marked improvements in blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity — which can lead to a reduced risk of diabetes and metabolic disease.
Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that strength training may actually be more effective than cardio in this manner… you know, just something to think about.
4. Strength Training and Bone Health
Did you know that your bones actually have the capacity to grow stronger?
I know, pretty wild stuff.
The kicker here is that for bone growth to occur, they need to be placed under sufficient mechanical load. This loading acts as a stimulus telling your body to reduce the rate at which it breaks down old bone , and to speed up the rate at which it creates new bone.
Over time this causes a net increase in bone mineral density, which can help prevent breaks and fractures.
More importantly, strength training can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis in later life, which is particularly important for older individuals and post-menopausal women.
5. Strength Training and Mental Health
It is well established that exercise should be a core component of any good mental health treatment plan — and this includes strength training.
Importantly, this occurs not only in people with diagnosed mental health disorders, but also in people with less severe symptoms.
In short, it can profound effect on your mental health, no matter your starting point.
6. Strength Training and Injury Risk
Strength training improve the strength of and quality of your muscle tissue, while also contributing to better joint stability.
These can lead to a marked reduction in injury risk in athletic populations. In fact, some research has shown that weaker athletes are almost twice as likely to get injured than their stronger counterparts.
More importantly, getting stronger is also going to make you less likely to get injured during day to day life — which is pretty damn important.
7. Strength Training and Balance
Strength training improves joint stability and neuromuscular coordination — both of which cause lasting improvements in balance.
This is great for people with athletic aspirations, because it will contribute to improved performance in a verity of different circumstances.
But I would argue that these specific benefits are far greater for people who don’t play sport.
We are an aging society living in a world where physical activity is no longer necessary for survival. As a result, it is not uncommon to see balance decline quite rapidly after the age of 50.
This can increase risk of falls, reduce quality of life, and even increase risk of mortality — all of which is reversed through strength training.
Lifting weights: improving balance and reducing risk of falls for centuries.
8. Strength Training and Speed
While some people firmly believe that lifting weights will make them “bulky” and “slow”, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
There is a growing body of evidence clearly demonstrating that stronger athletes (relative to their bodyweight) are faster athletes.
If you want to get faster, you should be lifting heavy, and lifting often.
9. Strength Training and Endurance
On the other end of the spectrum, it is now very well established that strength training is an extremely potent method of improving endurance performance.
In short, strength training makes you more efficient. This means being able to transfer more force into every foot strike or pedal stroke, making you travel further.
While weight training should not replace traditional aerobic exercise, it is a necessary piece of the puzzle if you are looking to maximise aerobic performance.
10. Strength Training and Functional Capacity
As we get older, we tend to see a gradual loss of type II muscle fibres — which our are fast twitch, or “explosive”, muscle fibres.
This is part of the reason we see an increase in falls risk at older ages. Moreover, it is the main reason that tasks of daily living become more challenging.
With this in mind, lifting weights can increase muscle size and strength (no matter your age, you should know), causing lasting improvements in functional capacity and enahcning your ability to manage tasks of daily living.
11. Strength Training and Flexibility
When most people think of flexibility, they think of Stretching, Pilates, and Yoga — all of which deserve to be in this discussion for a reason.
I mean, they are pretty good at making you more flexible.
However, recent research has shown that strength training using a full range of motion can also cause lasting improvements in muscle length. This makes it another great method of increasing flexibility that doesn’t require a yoga mat and meditation (unless this is your jam, of course).
12. Strength Training and Dementia
Remember above when I mentioned that strength training can have a seriously positive impact on your metal health? Well it can also help stave off dementia and age related declines in cognitive function.
This means it may offer one of the most bang-for-your-buck ways to maintain your mental and physical function well into your golden years.
13. Strength Training and Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders to plague modern society — and it can also be one of the most debilitating.
However, lifting weights has been shown to cause significant reductions in acute lower back pain, while also reducing its severity in the long term.
14. Strength Training and Joint Health
I have already alluded to the fact that lifting weights can improve joint stability and balance, reducing your risk of falls and improving your functional capacity. Interestingly, there is also some research showing that strength training can increase cartilage thickness and reduce joint pain.
This can make you less likely to experience joint degradation, while simultaneously preventing and reducing the severity of arthritis.
15. Strength Training and Posture
In modern day we spend way too much time in a seated position with our head looking down and our shoulders rolled forward. Over time, this can lead to the development of poor posture, which can contribute to neck and shoulder pain.
But by strengthening the muscles around the shoulder and upper back, weight training can prevent (and even reverse) these unwanted postural deviations, reducing pain in the process.
16. Strength Training and Sleep
While we are not 100% of the reason why, it is well established that sleep is one of the most important processes your body performs. It is when you consolidate new information, repair damaged tissue, and recover cognitive capacity.
But many people suffer from chronic sleep issues.
This often includes insufficient amounts of sleep, as well as poor sleep quality (i.e. restless sleep).
Which is right where strength training comes into the equation.
Strength training has been shown to improve sleep quality, while also making it easier to fall asleep, which can have a profound impact on your total sleep duration.
This can improve recovery, and simply make you happier (I mean, who doesn’t love sleep?).
Lift weight, sleep good — its #science.
17. Strength Training Gets you Jacked
This is imperative to building a lean, mean, muscular physique, while ensuring that you can handle anything life throws your way.
There is no such thing as being “too strong” — so what are you waiting for?
Take Home Message
Strength training is arguably the most beneficial things you an do for your body. From changes in body composition and improvements in sleep, all the way up to better physical and mental health, it really can do it all.
Which is why we pride ourselves on our ability to teach anyone how to strength train appropriately.
So why not get in contact and start today?