Welcome to the second post in our beginners series on Weight Training! Now, when it comes to weight training there are three main types of training regimes: Strength, Size and Endurance. In this blog post, we’ll be focusing on the strength side of weight training. This is training to your limits with a high weight, low rep and large rest time between sets. Similar to the starting programme we recommended in the first of this series of posts. We’ll start with some of the benefits of training for strength.
Strengthens the nervous system: Possibly the largest benefit from training with this style. The way your muscles work is that the brain fires a signal through the nerves connected to the muscle that tell that muscle to engage. Strength training pushes these nerves to work harder, which causes them to adapt to pushing the muscles harder, longer and recruiting more muscle fibres at the same time. This is why you see some people who are very lean but very strong (Think of Bruce Lee!). Here are some of the benefits or training for strength:
- Burn more calories and more fat than any other weight training: Strength training stresses the body and metabolic systems enough that this causes an “afterburn”. What this means is your body burns more calories throughout the next 24-48 hours than it normally would, just through it recovering from the stress it’s placed under.
- You’ll improve the health of your body in other areas, such as hormone levels, heart, brain and metabolism: Because of the previous two reasons, your body is pushed past any regular limits. Your brain will recruit hard-to-reach motor neurones, due to this other areas of the body have to get involved to compensate. Strength training also focuses on “compound movements” that engage multiple muscles at the same time, which again means the body has to compensate.
- You’ll strength bones, tendons and ligaments: The stress placed on ligaments and bones during a heavy weights workout will cause them to compensate to the extra load, this means that they get stronger and become more protected to shock, injury and pressure. Your bone has Osteoblasts (your body will produce bone substances to strengthen and build the bone). Your connective tissue regenerates and remodels to become thicker and stronger. Strength training is normally prescribed (in controlled and safe conditions) for middle-aged and the elderly to stave off Osteoporosis.
- It’s the best way to get “toned” and build confidence: In order to get “toned”, you need to lose fat and increase muscle size, simple as that. Strength training helps you lose fat quicker than any other regime from reasons mentioned above, it also helps create new muscle cells, fibres and tissue, which increases the size of muscle. It will also build body confidence in you as you see your body change quickly, and you constantly push past your previous limits, giving you immense self-worth and belief through constantly improving.
For these reasons, we truly believe that heavy weight, low-rep strength training is the best workout regime, and the one we most recommend to beginners. That’s because it builds a great, solid foundation for not only improving baseline health, but provides a good foundation for further specialised weight training.
There are a few different strength workouts we recommend most; the one we recommend to beginners as we’ve explained previously – Starting Strength. There’s also 5X5, which again focuses on Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Overhead Press and – a new one – the Barbell Row, with this one you’ll do 5 sets of 5 reps for each exercise except Deadlifts which are 1 set of 5 reps each workout. There’s also Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 workout, but this should only be attempted by people who have a couple of years of strength training experience behind them as it’s very easy to injure yourself performing this. Other than these, there are many intermediary strength training programmes, which you should definitely research for yourself after looking through these ones!
When it comes to heavy weight training, the most important thing is to take things slowly through the workouts. You’ll be using many muscles at the same time through the majority of exercises you’ll be performing during these workouts. Therefore it’s important to stay in tune with your body, be aware of your limits, while pushing them, and keep good form in mind at all times so that you don’t risk injuring yourself.
If you’d like any more information, want any advice from us, have suggestions for articles or want to get in touch for any other reason, then just head over to our contact page and send us a message!