Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Strength training exercise also known as weight or resistance training — is physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or group of muscles against external resistance, including free-weights, weight machines, or your own body weight, according to the definition from the American College of Sports Medicine. For attaining good health if strength training is done along with suitable diet accelerate the results. While most people associate strength training with lifting weights, it can also be done using other equipment (e.g.: bands, suspension ropes, gym machines, etc.) or using no equipment at all (e.g. body weight exercises, such as push-ups and pull-ups).
Everybody would benefit from some form of resistance training exercise. Whether you are a young aspiring athlete, an obese middle-aged gentleman or an older lady wanting to stay active. Resistance training has unique health and fitness benefits that simply can’t be achieved through any other form of exercise.
Regular resistance training exercise can decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering body fat, decreasing blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and lowering the stress placed on the heart while lifting a particular load. Improving muscular fitness is very important for enhancing quality of life. Resistance training exercise is the main way you will build and ‘tone up’ your muscles. It is by far the best way to alter your body shape and once you are at the point that you are lean enough to see your muscles, resistance training exercise can give you the shape of arms, legs or bum that you desire.h
Benefits of Strength / Resistance training exercise
-Improves functional strength and flexibility. This is important because it can help keep you safe in your daily activities and make you less vulnerable to falls or other injuries.
-Increases bone mass and density. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises can help protect against osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break.
-Builds muscle strength. Adults lose between five and seven pounds of muscle every decade after age 20. Only strength training prevents muscle loss.
-Lowers body fat. Research in strength training has demonstrated a four-pound fat loss after three months of training, even though study participants increased their daily caloric intake by 15 percent, according to the American Fitness Professionals Association.
-Reduces resting blood pressure. Strength training reduces resting blood pressure.
-Reduces symptoms of other chronic diseases. Strength training can help to reduce the symptoms of depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and sleep disorders.
Strength exercise Guidelines?
In order to achieve results or produce a change in muscle strength, a set of guidelines for resistance training helps to ensure progress. These principles form the basic strategies that are used to achieve your goals, and apply to any resistance training program.
To gain muscle strength, the muscles need to be stressed, then they must be given sufficient time to recover and adapt. Between 48-72 hours rest between workouts (of the same muscle group) is recommended.
Once the body adapts to a particular training stress (by getting stronger), a new stress must be introduced.
There are 2 general methods for overloading a muscle: increase the resistance used for a certain number of repetitions, increase the volume of training (sets, reps, exercises)
Muscles will adapt to a particular training strategy. To train for muscular endurance, moderate loads with higher reps (10-15) are employed.
The F.I.T.T. principle includes the following 4 variables:
Frequency; 3-4 times per week; one-day rest between workouts
Intensity: determined by # of sets, reps, exercises, and rest between sets
Time: duration of the workout is dependent upon the amount of rest between sets and exercises and the # of sets, reps, and exercises performed.
Training for general strength gains: 1-2 min. rest between sets & exercises
Training for muscular endurance: 0-60 sec. rest b/t sets & exercises
Type: machine or free weights.
This principle refers to the balanced development of the body. The most important consideration in applying this principle is balance between agonist and antagonist muscle groups (push vs. pull muscle groups). For example, if the muscles on one side of the joint are overdeveloped, there is an increased risk for injury.
Principle of Maintenance
Once an individual’s goals have been reached, it is possible to maintain the results gained through a reduction in training frequency (up to one third). However, the intensity and duration must remain the same.
Principle of Reversibility
In order to maintain a desired level of muscular fitness, an exercise stress must be present, otherwise the benefits will deteriorate. In other words, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” The level of detraining will be dependent upon the gains made during training.
How to go for Strength Exercise
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends that a resistance training program should be performed a minimum of two non-consecutive days each week, with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for healthy adults or 10 to 15 repetitions for older and frail individuals. Eight to 10 different exercises should be performed that target the major muscle groups.
The benefits of resistance training are significant. If you start a weight training program, you can expect your body to get stronger, tighter and leaner. People who participate in this form of training usually have an easier time moving through activities of daily living (ADL) because their muscles move more efficiently.
Strength / Resistance training exercise is very beneficial & equally important for all the ages & purposes, whether it is getting body ready for a particular task like athletics, other sports or game, reducing weight, improving body shape, attain / sustain good health, preventing ageing issues and many more. Take expert advice and identify right exercise & FITT principle for attaining your specific goal.