Do you want to build lean muscle mass without becoming bulky? Then it would help if you considered adding Strength Training Exercises to your exercise routine. Easy to perform, this workout doesn’t require much equipment – you can start right away from the comfort of home.
If you regularly walk, run, or swim, you already know the benefits of cardio exercise. But did you know that strength training can help you maintain strong bones, improve brain function, and lower your risks for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease?
What is Strength Training Exercises?
Strength training, also known as resistance training, helps build muscle while increasing endurance and physical strength. Performing strength trainingexercises regularly can help you maintain muscle mass.
Strength training exercises include lunges, squats, pushups, planks, and pull-ups – you can perform these exercises with or without weights.
Turning into a bulky bodybuilder is a popular misconception about strength training. In reality, the result is a long, lean body that’s stronger and better able to avoid serious injury, illness, and depression.
What Equipment Do I Need?
To perform strength training exercises, you can use your body weight, free weights, weight machine, or resistance bands and tubes.
When starting, use your body weight or light weights until you perfect your form. You need to properly perform strength training exercises to get the most out of them and prevent injury.
Once you know how to perform the moves correctly, you can adjust the weight load or experiment with resistance bands.
How Often Should I Workout?
Try to complete three 30-minute workouts per week. You can mix strength training with other exercises such as running, aerobics, yoga, and swimming by alternating days.
Performing different routines allows you to exercise all muscle groups. By mixing it up, you also prevent boredom. Give yourself a day or two off between strength training sessions so your body can repair and rebuild muscle.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training provides many long-term health benefits, including:
- Stronger bones – as we age, we lose bone density. Strength training puts pressure on bones to help make them stronger.
- Decreased body fat – stored body fat increases if we don’t find a way to burn it off. Your body converts fat into calories that it burns during a workout.
- Reduced belly fat – visceral fat found in your mid-section can cause many health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Getting rid of belly fat can be challenging, but strength training can help.
- Build lean muscle – putting strain on your muscles is the only way to make them grow. Healthy muscles allow for better mobility, help maintain a healthy weight, increase strength, and protect your body from injury.
- Improves brain function – strength training helps improve cognitive ability and thickens gray matter to help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes – building muscle mass forces your body to burn more carbohydrates, which helps lower glucose levels.
- Helps Prevent Heart Disease – working out often helps lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower blood sugar – all of which can cause heart disease.
- Elevates mood – strength training and other types of exercise help regulate hormone production. A steady release of endorphins helps keep you happy. People who suffer from depression can benefit from regular exercise.
- Improves Self-Esteem – regularly exercising helps your self-esteem by making you feel better about your appearance.
Types of Strength Training
- Circuit training – involves completing a series of exercises one after another. To complete a circuit, you will perform several repetitions, take a short break, and move on to the next exercise until you complete all the exercises.
You can use your body weight, resistance bands, free weights, or a weight machine to create an exercise circuit.
- Endurance training – this type of strength training focuses on building muscle by lifting weights. Use a weight machine or free weights. Start with light weights.
Make sure your form remains perfect as you complete the repetitions. Focus each session on a particular muscle group such as shoulders, arms, back, legs, hips, or abdomen.
- Maximum strength training – this type of strength training is similar to circuit training and endurance training but relies on fewer repetitions with heavier weights. Beginners should always start with light weights and work up to this level of strength training
Tips for a Successful Strength Training Workout
Follow these tips to get the most from your workout:
- Warm-up – stretching before beginning a workout helps protect bones and muscles, lubricates the joints, and allows you to prepare mentally. Stretch for at least five minutes before working out and for an additional five minutes after working out to prevent injury.
- Start slow – begin your strength trainingroutine with light weights, or use your body weight. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions per exercise. As your strength improves, you will have to increase the weight load to maintain or build muscle.
- Don’t exercise to exhaustion – perform enough repetitions to feel your muscles working, but don’t overdo it. Performing too many repetitions can lead to poor form, which can cause injury.
Check out the video below for a complete strength training workout made easy.
How to Stay Safe when Strength Training
Protecting your body from injury requires you to work out safely. If you have an existing injury or health issue, contact your physician before starting a strength training regimen. Make sure to breathe throughout your workout to keep oxygen flowing through your body as steady oxygen flow keeps muscles from becoming stiff.
If you feel uncomfortable during your workout, stop and reassess your form or lighten your load. Stop working out if you feel any muscle strain, sudden pain, or you reach exhaustion.
For many beginners, body weight alone provides an adequate resistance for this type of workout. As you build muscle, you can increase the weight by using light free weights or resistance bands.
Strength training requires little to no equipment, which makes it the perfect workout for those who want to exercise at home or when traveling. You can start at your own pace and build on this workout as your physical fitness improves.