Strength Training for All
Written By: Eric Broadbent
At Empower Raleigh you’ll see a lot of people doing strength training during a personal training session, and for good reason. If you could only choose one type of training modality in a given session, you should probably think about choosing strength. Now, before you get all bent out of shape and uncomfortable about the thought of “pumping iron”, remember that I am not talking about loading 500lbs on your back and asking you to squat to the floor. Strength training means very different things for different people depending on their ability and current strength levels.
Most times people will choose cardio if they had to choose one type of exercise and, not to knock cardio (I think it is also very important), I would strongly consider adding some strength exercises to your weekly training plan and then work some cardio around it. Now if you are an endurance athlete and cardio is your sport, then by all means, that should be your focus, but strength training should still be a part of your weekly plan.
Now you may start to ask yourself, why strength? What’s so important about it? Isn’t that just for the meatheads? When we look at the general population in the United States, it’s safe to say that we are as a whole, an over weight bunch. So weight loss is of utmost importance to the majority of the people out there. Nutrition aside (which is the most important and lacking component in our country), exercising regularly is incredibly important. The problem with weight loss is that people usually choose cardio as their primary weight loss strategy. Cardio burns calories and that’s all well and good, but it does little for you with regards to metabolism and calorie burning beyond the actual time spent exercising. Strength training on the other hand helps build muscle and subsequently causes your metabolism to speed up and burn more calories at rest. This leads to more sustainable weight loss. There are tons of studies out there that back exactly what I’m saying that for lasting weight loss, strength training beats cardio every time. A strategy that would also work would be to combine both training modalities and that is also something you will see us do a lot at Empower.
There was also some new research from UCLA released this year that suggests that older Americans who have more muscle mass are less likely to die prematurely. That fact alone would be all I needed to hear in order to jump on board for strength training! Strength exercises have long been known to help increase bone mineral density and decrease your chances of getting injured. Couple that with the fact that strength training is golden for hormone functions and you have a recipe for success.
As I mentioned earlier, strength training is vastly different for different people. The key to strength training is to base it around what your goals are and make sure you are doing it in a safe and appropriate manner. I highly recommend you find a way to incorporate some sort of strength training in to your workout plan and you will not be disappointed with what comes from it.
Eric is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist(CSCS), USA Weight Lifting Level 1 Coach (USAW), and USA Track and Field Level 2 Coach (USATF). In 2008, he received a Health and Physical Education degree from West Chester University, with a minor in coaching.