Brought to you by Reva Wellness
From our article Exercise 101, you know why exercise is an essential part of human health and you are familiar with the physical activity recommendations for health Over the Exercise 101 chronicles, we are going to unpack this for you.
What is Strength Training?
Strength training refers to exercise that strengthens the muscle by resisting load, hence why you may also see it referred to as “Resistance Training”. On the streets (the gym streets), we call it “lifting” (#doyouevenlift).
Though, to perform strength training, you don’t necessarily have to lift anything, nor do you have to go to the gym. Exercises utilising body weight as resistance can be just as effective.
Examples of strengthening activities outside of the gym or body-weight exercises include climbing, heavy gardening or moving-house (although this has a component of cardio too, especially if you have stairs!).
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training, you guessed it, makes you stronger! But it has other benefits outside of strength and aesthetic appeal.
It’s essential to managing and preventing Type 2 Diabetes, because, put simply the muscles love to eat up the blood sugar!
It also assists in weight management by increasing your resting metabolic. And has been associated with mood improvements as well as bone strength (important if you would prefer to avoid breaking bones when you’re older).
How much Strength Training?
For health achievement and maintenance, the recommendation for strength training is:
2-3 times per week.
Each session should include 8-10 exercises,
You should perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
The exercises should preferably be using more than one joint at a time.
IMPORTANT: 2 sets of 8 repetitions means that there must be a significant rest between sets, usually 1 minute is sufficient. If there is no rest, you are performing 1 set of 16 repetitions.
Sorry but dem de rules.
There are other variations to these recommendations based on specific goals, but we can go into them another time!
🤓 Interesting facts
Strength training predominately uses what we call “fast twitch” muscle fibres.
The quick and powerful movements are generated by Type IIb. They don’t require oxygen to generate the energy needed, but they fatigue quicker.
Chicken meat is white because it includes a higher proportion of fast-twitch, Type IIb muscle fibres, which require less oxygen. They have less of the red myoglobin proteins, which store and provide oxygen to the muscle cells.
Strength exercises involving lots of reps (generally more than 3) use the muscle fibres known as Type IIa. They utilise more oxygen, although not as much as the “slow-twitch” fibres used in endurance based aerobic exercise.
Improvements in strength training are not age-ist. Sure the improvements won’t be as large, but strength training in older adults can actually reverse “age-related” muscle loss!
I guess that kind of means it slows down ageing 😉
Bigger does not (always) equal stronger! Muscular strength depends on a few factors, limb length, technique and muscle fibre recruitment also play a part
Muscle does not turn in to fat if you stop training!
Our metabolic pathways don’t work that way! Muscles may atrophy (decrease in size), and you may accumulate fat if you’re less active and eating poorly, but that doesn’t mean the fat was muscle in it’s past life!
Strength training does not necessarily make you bigger.
It can, and that is the goal for some people. But their exercise program and diet need to be specific to this goal.
What about cardio?!
We covered that already!
Check it out here.
We hope that’s cleared up any queries! Time for some push-ups! Until next time Amigos!