Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Strength training may not be everyone’s primary training goal, it is often viewed as a way of increasing weight, muscle mass and bulkiness. Although this is true to a certain extent it's not always the case. Strength training is a massive contributor to achieving almost any fitness goal. Often a question asked by our female clients is “Should I lift weights because I don’t want to look bulky?” we recommend that all our athletes aim to get at least 2-3 strength sessions in per week. Within this article we will explain the benefits of strength training and why we feel everyone should be doing it.
When you turn around 30 years old, growth hormones decrease dramatically in the body. Because of this, you could lose about 8-10% of your muscle tissue every decade. Muscles are the basis of your metabolism, so if your muscles decrease by 8-10%, your metabolism will also decrease by 8-10%.
Strength training twice per week you will change that 8-10% to ONLY 1-2% every decade. That means if you simply strength train twice per week, at age 80 you will be 5-10% less of the person you were when you were 30!
Whether you are an elite athlete, everyday sportsperson, or the general public. Strength training benefits everyday life. Take for example if you can Hex deadlift 50kg from the floor. You will have no problems picking your toddler up from their cot or walking with the bags of shopping. A further example is the ability to complete strength training on one leg. This once again directly links to everyday activities such as walking upstairs or standing up from a kneeling posit
Shortly after beginning a strength training program, you will find that daily tasks seem much easier. This translates into your personal life on many levels. Arguably every movement that we prescribe within our strength programs will have some direct link to an everyday activity.
Not only does strength training benefits your daily life, it also positively impacts your general health. Strength training is effective in increasing bone density and strengthening tendons and ligaments. Developing strong bones reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and decreases the risk of bone fractures. Building muscle also helps to burn calories more effectively. Muscle burns three times the number of calories that fat burns! In short, the more muscle tone you have, the higher your metabolism will become.
Strength training in athletics and sport is common practice today. The benefits are obvious and the immediate crossover of those benefits to the playing field makes it ideal for off-season conditioning and Injury prevention. However, strength training is a very effective tool for injury prevention for a variety of reasons.
Strength training improves the strength of muscles, tendons, and all the ligaments and bones. Stronger muscles and tendons help hold the body in proper alignment and protect the bones and joints when moving or under impact. The bones become stronger due to the overload placed on them during strength training and the ligaments become more flexible and better at absorbing the shock applied to them during dynamic movements.
When an area of the body is used less during an activity it may become weak compared to other areas. This can become a problem when that area (whether a muscle, ligament, joint, or specific bone) is called into play suddenly during an activity. That area cannot handle the sudden stress placed on it and an injury occurs. Strength training, using one of our BBCO programs, will eliminate these weaker areas and rectify any muscle imbalances for when these areas are eventually called upon.
Muscle imbalances are one of the most common causes of injuries in athletics and everyday life. When one muscle, or muscle group, becomes stronger than its opposing group, the weaker muscles become fatigued quicker and are more susceptible to injury.
A forceful contraction or near maximal output from the stronger muscle can cause damage to the weaker opposing muscle due to the inability to counter the force. A common example of this is in the upper body. Within society it is very common that people are anterior (Front) dominant, ie. The pectorals are strong and tight but the posterior (Back) ie. Serratus anterior, rhomboids and lower traps are weak. This eventually leads to unwanted back pain, shoulder pain and chest pain because we are unbalanced.
Muscle imbalances also affect the joints and bones due to an abnormal pull causing the joint to move in an unnatural pattern. The stronger muscles will cause the joint to pull in that direction causing a stretching of the opposing ligaments and a tightening of the supporting ones. These can lead to chronic pain and an unnatural wearing off the bones. A balanced strength training program from BBCO will help to counter these effects by strengthening the weaker muscles to balance them with their counterparts.
Having read this article, we hope you have a little more knowledge as to why strength training is a crucial part of any program. Whether you are trying to lose weight, get stronger, tone up, reduce the chances of injury, or improve athletic performance. Strength training is a must. If you are new to the gym or an experienced athlete, further advice on how to lift and when to lift, from one of our BBCO programs may be the key to unlocking your full potential. click the programs link below to view all of our programs.
Jordan Kerman BSc (Hons), MSc (Hons), BBCO Performance Director