We believe at DLC and it is only our opinion, that strength training is super important for overall fitness. Here are what we think the benefits of an effective strength training program and how to potentially design one for yourself.
It is a pretty widely shared view that you should be including strength training twice a week as part of your fitness routine. There is no shortage of research that shows strength exercises are safe for all ages and that strength training combined with aerobic exercise can improve both your physical and mental health.
The Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training is important for everybody, but even more so as we get older because it has physiological benefits like slowing down the loss of bone and muscle that goes along with aging. Other benefits include:
Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
Relief from arthritis
Improved balance and fall prevention
Better cardiovascular health
Even fighting depression (this is especially important as a good friend of mine has overcome depression with the help of regular strength training)
Strength training comes in many forms such as calisthenics, free weights, machines, and a variety of equipment. The important thing is to exercise every major muscle groups including your arms, legs, back, and abdominals. In fact, your "core muscles," are especially important to target since they stabilize the rest of your body.
Strength training is most commonly divided into sets and reps. Raise your hand if have you been at the gym and tried to pull up a bench when all of a sudden someone appears and says “hey man, I still have 9,000 sets left”
‘Reps’ or repetitions are the number of times you do an exercise. A group of repetitions is called a set. If you are able to do more than one set of an exercise, always rest between sets. Our recommendation is 8 to 12 strength training exercises of 8 to 15 repetitions each, two days a week.
Strength Training Equipment Options
The type of strength-training equipment you use will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Personally, I’m a free weights kinda guy, whereas Charlotte is definitely a machine kinda gal. However, here are the main choices:
Free weights. Barbells are long bars with weights attached at the ends. Dumbbells are smaller, hand-held weights. The advantages of free weights are that they are inexpensive and versatile. The disadvantage is that they require proper training and technique to get the full benefit and avoid injury.
Machines. Strength training with machines are as effective as free weights, plus machines have the advantage of being safer and easier to use. Since strength training machines are designed to exercise specific muscle groups, you can get a faster, more efficient workout by moving from machine to machine. The disadvantage is that machines are not portable and can be expensive, so you may be limited to using exercise machines at a gym. For home use, you may want to invest in an all-in-one machine that has different pulleys and stations attached, allowing you to work various muscle groups with a single piece of equipment.
Swiss balls. These strength-training devices look like overgrown, colorful beach balls, but can be very effective pieces of exercise equipment. By learning exercises that involve body curves and rolls using different positions on the stability ball, you can strengthen the important core muscles of your body. The advantage of the stability ball is that it is inexpensive and adaptable to many uses. The disadvantage is that you need some training and you may need an expert opinion to be sure you buy a ball of the right size and pressure to fit your needs and abilities..
Weighted body bars. Body bars are covered in foam that may be used in a total body workout class to combine aerobic exercise with strength training. After you learn the exercises, you can use a body bar when you exercise at home. They are not usually expensive. These bars are available in different weights to fit your strength and ability. Because they are about 1.2m long, they can be cumbersome to carry around and not very ideal to travel with.
Resistance bands. Bands are portable and inexpensive. Essentially, they are just big elastic bands with different tensions. The bands themselves weigh almost nothing, but working your muscle groups against the resistance of the bands you start to develop muscle strength and endurance. Once you learn how to use them, you can do the exercises anywhere with just a chair for support. We do recommend that you learn the proper technique for each exercise, and as your strength increases, you will need to progress to stronger sets of bands.
Kettlebells. Developed in Russia for use in strength training and aerobic exercise to work all muscle groups at the same time. The kettlebell looks like a cannonball with a handle and is another form of exercise equipment that is relatively inexpensive and versatile. A kettlebell workout is high-intensity and involves full range of motion. It requires the ability to stretch and be flexible, so you will need some training and time to work up to a full routine.
As always, if you have any health issues, or if you have not done strength training before, you should check with your doctor before getting started.
If you or anyone you know are looking for further information about exercise, resistance or not please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as we offer community based fitness sessions in the Campbelltown area. Our aim is to educate and inspire our local and global community to take action and gain control of their health and wellness options again. We pride ourselves on providing support and education to those wanting to make a change in their own health and to develop longer lasting health habits.
If you are in the Campbelltown area and are looking for a supportive environment to get involved in and set and achieve your health and wellness goals then why not register your interest in our community fitness session. Click the link below and one of our community coaches will contact you with some details.
JOIN OUR DLC24 COMMUNITY
In the meantime, why not download our FREE GUIDE “Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss” and start to take action towards improving your health and wellness goals.
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