The Benefits of a Balanced Strength Training Regimen
By Samantha Clayton, Senior Director, Worldwide Fitness Education, Herbalife
January 28, 2016
Everyone, no matter how young or old, should be doing some form of regular strength training. When we are young, we find it easy to physically perform at our best; yet, as we age, our ability to perform with ease decreases unless we make an effort to retain our strength and fitness level.
Many people believe that strength training is for athletes or those who wish to have big muscles. The truth, however, is that resistance-based training is important for much more than simply looking good or playing well.
As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass and our bone density starts to decrease. And, even though we can’t stop the clock from ticking, it’s possible to age gracefully by taking care of our body with good nutrition and performing an exercise routine that includes an element of resistance-based training.
Strength training can improve your quality of life in so many positive ways. Here are three of my favorites:
- Improves your ability to do everyday activities. The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to get groceries out of the car, pick up your children or get a package off of the top cabinet shelf. General activities of everyday living are easier when we are fit and strong.
- Improves your balance and stability. When your muscles are strong and resilient, it becomes easier for you to stay balanced when in motion. The more stable you are, the safer you will be when performing your daily activities or playing sports.
- Increases calorie burn. Strength training increases the body’s metabolic rate, causing the body to burn more calories throughout the day. This aids significantly with long- term weight loss and maintaining optimum body composition.
Now that you know how important and beneficial strength training can be, let me share with you some tips on how you can start to build up your muscles:
Continually challenge yourself. Progressive training is important if you want your muscle-building routine to be productive. You must be dedicated to training in a way that helps you improve over time. Doing the same thing over and over will not get you the muscle building results you want. If you lift the same amount of resistance, for the same number of repetitions (reps) during each workout session, you’ll stay the same. At some point, you must attempt to either perform more reps or use more resistance.
Work hard. Stimulate muscle tissue by training hard. Use your body weight as resistance or lift weights on a regular basis, 3-4 times per week.
Maintain a balanced body. Do exercises for the upper and lower body to ensure you maintain a good muscular balance in your body.
Rest days. Don’t over train because your recovery ability will be compromised. You’ll begin to regress if you do too much. Plan to take at least one or two rest days per week.
Motivation. Understand that you need to motivate yourself to exercise several times per week, so consider enlisting a friend or family member to get fit with you.
Patience. Allow time for the results to appear. It takes time to see muscle growth and gain strength.
Here is a short strength routine for you to try out. The exercises are simple because exercise does not have to be complicated to get you results. Consistency is the key the long-term success.
- 12 squats
- 12 push-ups
- 12 lunges
- 12 dumbbell lateral shoulder raises
- 12 step-ups onto a 12 inch step
Aim to perform three sets total.