Everyone needs to strength train. It’s the single most important component in physical conditioning. Even cardiovascular exercise is simply not as crucial in developing and maintaining long-term health and well-being. I’m not advocating giving up walking, running or any other form of cardio to lift weights instead. A balance is ideal. But even in this day and age, with endless knowledge available at our fingertips, the amount of people who don’t strength train is staggering!
Not only does adding muscle equate to more strength for navigating daily life, muscle also burns more calories than fat, boosting your metabolism on a daily basis for weight loss. Being stronger supports your functionality and mobility as you age and is particularly important for maintaining bone density in women. In addition, I work with a lot of athletes and greater strength supports them not only in performing better on the field but preventing sports-related injuries.
(Women, please note that it is a very common misconception that lifting weights will cause you to bulk up. It won’t!)
If you are lifting weights regularly, you already know how beneficial it is. If you haven’t strength trained before, a logical place to start is by working with an experienced trainer. However, training for strength can come in many different forms. Consider these alternatives to the weight room (most of these options will enable you to find exercises to do in the privacy of your own home.)
1. Fitness DVDs
3. The Internet
4. Apps for IOS and Android
5. Group strength classes
6. Other classes, such as yoga, Pilates, barre, etc
There is no “wrong” type of strength program. What matters is that it is something you like and is effective enough to repeat over the long term for noticeable gains. Also, and most important, safe enough that you will not get injured.
Finally, it’s a good idea to consult your physician prior to starting any exercise program, particularly if you’ve never done anything along those lines previously.
Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 12+ years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. Connect online at www.facebook.com/mrsathlete and www.twitter.com/mrsathlete.