Strength training is probably the most important aspect of fitness. Even though you can stil benefit greatly from just walking or running - or really any form of activity - strength training is by far the most effective way to manage injury risk, optimize metabolism, and improve lean body mass. It often gets a bad reputation, with people strength training improperly, leading to lack of results and injury.
How to get stronger:
Focus on lower reps and higher weights that you can handle with good technique
Take your rest intervals seriously; don't turn it into a sweat session
Implement progressive overload; improve on each exercise by adding more weight
If you're a newbie to strength training, I highly advise hiring a strength coach in order to make sure you're performing exercises correctly and safely. A good strength coach will also help you workout efficiently and not waste time wondering how to progress or worrying if you're doing an exercise correctly. Strength training is all about good technique and progressive overload. If you're doing both, you'll see progress fairly quickly!
Why get stronger? Well, there are a multitude of physical benefits, including but not limited to:
1) Increased strength (duh!) - make picking up everyday objects just that much easier!
2) Increased metabolic rate - the more muscle (lean mass) you have on your body, the more metabolically active (you burn more calories) you become! This helps support fat loss goals and a healthy metabolism. So, want to lose fat? Strength training is a must.
3) Increased bone mineral density - this is a big one! The loading on your axial skeletal (spinal column) helps promote increased bone mineral density (shoutout to Wolff's Law!). Your bones respond to loading by rebuilding more quickly and becoming stronger and denser. Resistance training has been shown to slow or even reverse effects of osteoporosis - if you're worried about a hip fracture, start squatting!
4) Decreases sarcopenia - this is muscle atrophy or wasting that is associated with aging. As we get older, our bodies begin to deteriorate (sadly) and muscle wasting is one side effect. Since muscle mass benefits our bodies in more ways than one, we want to avoid the effects of sarcopenia and hold onto as much muscle mass as we can! Beginning strength training at an early age is a good way to "stock up" on muscle so that sarcopenia isn't as severe. But strength training as we age is also a fantastic remedy to slow its effects!
5) Improved energy and mood - exercises releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people don't kill their husbands.
So there you have a bunch of physical reasons to strength train, but the benefits don't stop at just physical! Here are some non-physical reasons that you should be lifting weights!
You feel empowered when you crush your lifting goals. Nothing feels better than being able to lift something you weren't able to a month ago and realize that you've made progress!
Your confidence in and out of the gym increases as you become a strong mf
You learn that patience and persistance goes a long way
You cultivate discipline and habits that will carry you into other goals in life
So, why do you lift weights? Is it mostly for the physical benefits? Or the mental? Or both?
Maybe you haven't started yet. Maybe you want to learn how. Or maybe, you just need a solid strength training program to help get you to where you want to be!
If you're someone who has access to a gym but just doesn't have a plan, check out Lift Like Laura! Lift Like Laura is a strength program that focuses on improving your squat, bench, and deadlift, all while working on technique and physique. Lift Like Laura opens for registration at the beginning to a new training block (every four weeks), so get on the waitlist so you can be notified when registration opens!
About the Author
Laura Su, BS Exercise Science, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Powerlifter, Entreprenuer
I'm just a girl who fell in love with movement in high school and now wants to bring the freedom that exercise brings to everyone else.
I started working out with the desire to look a certain way but eventually found the sense of accomplishment and clarity that training for performance brought. Now I want to help everyone, especially women, to learn how to train and eat for their health and performance and realize that when you do that, the looks you desire are simply a positive side effect.
In my spare time, I enjoy powerlifting, horseback riding, sleeping, and hanging out with my boyfriend. I hope you enjoy my posts and keep reading along!