Whether you’re a high-level athlete, or you never plan on doing anything athletic ever, strength training is important for everybody. Yes that includes you!
If you’re someone who’s never done any strength training before, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions it is probably either powerlifting or bodybuilding, which are both a little intimidating if you’re looking to get started. While both of those pursuits involve types of strength training, they barely scratch the surface of what is a huge range of training options, styles and outcomes, that are suitable for everybody at every level.
Starting strength training means first asking, for what do you need to get stronger? If you’ve decided to join a gym to improve your fitness and quality of life, your training program will look a lot different than an advanced trainer who’s is pursuing powerlifting for example.
A well-designed strength training program should enable you to perform better at whatever it is that you plan, or don’t plan (I’ll explain later in this post) on doing in life. Importantly, your program should be designed with the level that you’re currently at firmly established, and progressed from there.
The reason strength training is so important for you, even if getting stronger doesn’t interest you at all, is the benefits it provides outside the gym (assuming you’re doing a well-designed and balanced program that’s written specifically for you).
You’ll see your posture improve, as a lot of postural issues are caused by a lack of strength in certain areas (combined with a lack of mobility in others) caused by our sedentary lifestyles, and as you increase strength and correct muscle imbalances, you’ll start to see your body move into a better position. You’ll be surprised how many aches and pains start to disappear as a result as well.
Your range of movement throughout your body will increase, and the quality of that movement should be much better. The movement you gain through strength training is real, usable movement as well, in the sense that if you’ve got stronger through that entire range of motion, you should be able to access that range safely and actively (versus passively where you need external assistance to find that extra range, for example a partner assisted hamstring stretch). This increase in strength through a range of movement can make many day to day tasks that you may dread (because they’re hard, uncomfortable etc.) much easier on your body.
Balance and stability can be trained specifically, but need a level of strength to exist at all, and will improve the stronger you get. These two are important for the things that you don’t plan (that I mentioned earlier). Let’s say for example you catch your toe while walking on the footpath and trip. Improved balance and stability can be the difference between having a slight stumble and continuing your walk, or falling face first on the ground. Of course, there’s no guarantees that you’ll never fall over just because you’ve done some strength training, but why wouldn’t you want to decrease the chances of it happening as much as possible?
This is just a skim over the surface of some strength training benefits, and I’ll go into more detail in future posts.
But for now, I hope that if you’ve never considered doing strength training, or if you didn’t think it was necessary, it’s got you thinking about why it might be worthwhile for you.
If you have any feedback or questions, please leave them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, and happy training!