Strength Training: Get Strong and Build Muscle

Strength Training

Why do you need strength?

Strength can help in day to day activities or help you reach that next level if you are an athlete.  Think about activities that involve strength:

  • hiking
  • climbing
  • basketball
  • football
  • hockey
  • self defense

Heck, you need strength to organize your house, garage, or to build that retaining wall in your yard.

Benefits of Strength Training

A long time ago labor intensive jobs kept people strong and in shape but as our society moves away from blue collar jobs to more white collar service careers there is less and less strong people.  Throw in the obesity epidemic from people sitting at their desks and not burning calories for another reason why you should strength train. Here are some benefits:

  • Build Muscle – Strength training is great for building muscle.
  • Burn Fat – By training frequently every week you will burn more calories.
  • Better Health – Strength training increases endurance, boosts hormone levels, reduces fat, strengthens joints, reduces blood pressure, controls blood sugar and helps you sleep.  There are numerous benefits but we can’t list them all here!
  • Look Good Naked – No longer be ashamed of that person in the mirror or the next time you go to the beach.
  • Build Confidence – Whether you’re a guy or gal, when you are strong and look good you will have a better attitude and overall feel more confident with yourself.

Reduce Stress

A huge benefit of strength training is that it’s fun and it can help clear your mind. Going through your workouts can be a time of the day where you clear your mind and just focus on your lifts.  Think of it as the next best thing to meditation.

Help the Mind. There are studies that show that strength training can delay Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Strength Training can be life changing. Here is an interesting Ted talk where a 93 year old man began strength training and completely changed his life, you can see it here.

Misconceptions. There is a misconception for woman that if you start strength training that you will look too bulky.  Proper diet and nutrition with strength training will provide anyone a leaner body.  There are many examples of toned, strong, lean woman that only do strength training, and no cardio!

How to Strength Train

Here are some of the basics to strength training.

  • Stress – By lifting heavier weight you will be putting stress on your muscles which creates tiny tears in your muscles.  These tears heal creating more muscle which allows you to lift heavier weight.  Think about it like this, you are tearing down your current muscle and letting it rebuild making it stronger.
  • Linear Gains – By progressively adding more weight each time you workout your body will continue to get stronger which will prevent you from hitting a plateau.
  • Low Repetition – Use a low rep range, 5 repetitions is a good number for building strength.  The 5×5 program developed by Reg Park is an excellent linear program for building strength.  It involves 5 sets of 5 repetitions per workout.

Types of Strength Training

There are a few different ways to build strength.

  • Free Weight Exercises – Lifting free weights is the best method to build strength and muscle.
  • Body Weight Exercises – Use your own body to build muscle and strength.  A great alternative for those who do not have access to a gym or their own equipment.
  • Machines – Using this type of equipment is better than nothing but has risks involved.  They force you into certain positions which can be unnatural to the body and increase the chance for injury.  Because they balance the weight for you and do some of the work machines are not nearly as beneficial as lifting free weights.

Where do I start?

You can get started by heading over to our guide section and see various free work out programs.