What is Strength Training?
Strength training should be at the top of your list if there is one thing you could do to improve your overall health. Strength training, commonly referred to as resistance training, is an anaerobic exercise that causes muscles to contract against external resistance. In its broadest sense, it is any physical activity you engage in to increase muscle growth, strength, and endurance. Your body weight, weight machines, medicine balls, resistance bands, and other gym equipment, such as ropes and dumbbells, are all examples of external resistance.
Other resistance training examples are push-ups, squats, lunges, etc. Moreover, work or other household chores may inadvertently strengthen your muscles. Strength training activities may be incorporated into your daily lives, such as by performing everyday household tasks such as lifting and moving boxes, working in the garden, or carrying groceries. This is frequently known as “incidental exercise”.
To reap the most significant benefits, however, a beginner should exercise two or three times each week. Before beginning a new fitness programme, the client should undergo a pre-participation health examination and consult with professionals, such as a doctor, exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, or licenced exercise professional such as those at Heartland Rehab. Participants should give each muscle group at least 48 hours of rest to maximise strength and size development. To help a customer overcome a training plateau, physiotherapists often recommend mixing up their workouts.
How Does Strength Training Help with Rehabilitation?
Building and strengthening the ligaments, tendons, and muscles surrounding previously injured or damaged joints during healing helps support and relieve pressure on the joint itself. In turn, this will lessen discomfort and pain while restoring full functionality to the affected area. Strength exercise increases muscle strength and safeguards your bones and joints. When it comes to recovering following an accident, strength training is crucial. Muscles weaken and lose mass (atrophy) within days after surgery or just from immobilising an arm or leg. Exercises are recommended in a rehabilitation context to enhance function and lessen pain.
It is now an essential component of most fitness programmes due to increased evidence demonstrating its numerous advantages. Additionally, the positive impact strength training has on your immune system is one of its less well-known advantages. The initial demands that strength and resistance conditioning place on the body will result in a temporary decline in immunological function. The immune system, as well as the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, will then rebuild itself much more robust and more effectively.
The outcome? People who maintain a balanced diet and engage in regular exercise frequently experience better health and fewer ailments. When regular exercisers contract an illness, they also tend to recover far more quickly than individuals who do not regularly exercise. Since each strength and conditioning programme is customised for the individual, not all clients train according to the same plan. However, everyone can benefit from the same general improvement in health as long as an effort is made to get stronger over time.
The Different Types of Strength Training Exercises
There are various strength training methods, including free weights or traditional weightlifting equipment like dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells. Weighted balls or bags, such as medicine balls or sandbags, are also often employed in strength training programmes. Furthermore, gym equipment such as weight machines with movable handles and seats connected to weights or hydraulics are also regularly used.
Moreover, resistance bands are a popular piece of equipment used to strength train. They produce stretched resistance and offer consistent resistance over the entire action. In addition, they are adaptable to most workouts and are portable. Using gravity and the user’s own weight, suspension equipment allows users to perform a variety of exercises. Clients are also encouraged to use their body weight for squats, push-ups, and chin-ups to lower the danger of injury. It is also crucial to pay attention to safety and form.
A standard strength training regimen for beginners includes:
Starting the resistance training after warming up for 5 minutes by walking, cycling, or rowing, then executing 8 to 10 exercises that target the body’s primary muscle groups twice or thrice per week. Starting with one set of each exercise, no more than twice weekly, with as low as eight repetitions (reps). It is recommended to gradually increase to two to three sets of each exercise every second or third day, with eight to twelve reps per set. Once a person can perform 12 repetitions of activity without discomfort, only then should they advance further. In order to overload a group of muscles and achieve the desired change in strength, endurance, size, or shape, strength training involves manipulating the number of repetitions (reps), sets, tempo, exercises, and force.
The five main types of strength training are muscular hypertrophy, circuit training, muscular endurance, explosive power, and maximum muscular strength.
- Muscular Hypertrophy: This style of strength training, also referred to as “muscle development,” uses moderate to heavy weights to promote muscular growth.
- Circuit Training: You cycle through several exercises during this type of full-body conditioning with little to no breaks in between.
- Muscular Endurance: This is the capacity of your muscles to continue working out for an extended period of time. High reps with low weights or your own body weight are typically used in training to build muscular endurance.
- Explosive Power: Energy and speed are combined throughout this exercise to increase your power output. Skilled professionals and athletes typically use it to enhance their capacity for quick movements in their sport.
- Maximum Muscular Strength: This training form utilises low reps (often 2-6) and hefty weights to increase your overall muscular strength. It is advised only to be used by seasoned endurance athletes who have perfected their form. Strength training is typically focused on muscular endurance, circuit training, and muscular hypertrophy, with strength and power training normally reserved for seasoned athletes. Whichever method of strength training you choose, the objective is to put your muscles under tension in order to promote muscle growth and neuromuscular adaptations, which encourage muscle growth. Regular exercise will make your muscles stronger.
The Benefits of Strength Training
There are numerous advantages of strength training. A notable benefit is neuromuscular changes that improve both physical and mental health, which are stimulated by strength training. Resistance exercise has several advantages for psychological and physical health, including increased muscle tone and strength. Additionally, it improves your balance, mobility, and flexibility, which can all help you age more independently. An increase in the muscle-to-fat ratio may even be more advantageous than aerobic exercise for fat loss. It has also been linked to slowing down or stopping the cognitive decline of older individuals.
Strength training also improves endurance — you won’t tire as quickly as you do when you get stronger. It is known to prevent or manage chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, depression, arthritis, coronary artery disease, and back pain. Additionally, studies have shown that individuals who exercise regularly maintain a better body image of themselves and have higher self-esteem than those who do not.
Increases strength: As the name suggests, you get stronger when you strength train. Gaining strength makes it much easier to carry out regular duties like lifting heavy groceries or playing with your kids. Additionally, it boosts athletic performance in activities that call for agility, strength, and power, and it may even support endurance athletes by maintaining lean muscle mass.
Regulates blood glucose levels: Strength exercises can assist people with diabetes in better controlling their condition and may reduce the risk of developing the disease. Insulin sensitivity is increased in part by skeletal muscle. Directing glucose to muscle cells instead of blood reduces blood sugar levels. Therefore, having more muscle mass can aid in better blood sugar regulation. Additionally, strength exercise may lower your risk of diabetes. According to one study that followed 35,754 women for an average of 10 years, those who did strength training had a 30% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who did not.
Increases metabolism: Your metabolism is increased by strength training in two different ways. First off, gaining muscle speeds up your metabolism. Since muscles have a higher metabolic rate than fat mass, you can burn more calories while at rest. Second, studies indicate that the metabolic benefits of strength training might last for up to 72 hours. This means that you continue to burn additional calories even hours or days after working out.
Improved quality of life: Most notably, strength training has been linked to an improved quality of life. Strength training may improve your quality of life, especially as you get older. Strength training has been associated with improved health-related quality of life, which is referred to as a person’s perception of their physical and mental health. Resistance training actually significantly correlates with improved mental health, physical functioning, pain management, overall health, and vitality. According to emerging evidence, strength training may also enhance the quality of life for those with arthritis.
Some other benefits of strength training include:
- Improved pain management
- Better posture
- Improves cardiovascular (heart) health
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis and increased bone strength and density
- Increased sense of wellness
- Likely to improve mood, body image, and self-esteem
- Decreased risk of injury
- Improved sleep quality and prevention of insomnia
- Lower blood pressure at rest
- Improved lipid profiles in the blood
- Swifter speed of gastrointestinal transit
- Decreases visceral and abdominal fat
- May help you appear leaner
- Reduces the likelihood of falls
- Encourages flexibility and mobility
- Enhanced cognitive function and brain health
Heartland Rehab Strength Training Specialisations
At Heartland Rehab, we describe exercise as any physical activity that improves or maintains physical fitness and general health and wellness. Exercises most commonly practiced are aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking, running, jogging, or cycling. Muscle strength and endurance isometrics such as weight and strength training. Neuromuscular workouts such as coordination and balance exercises. Lastly, activities include flexibility, such as stretching, yoga, and range of motion exercises. We aim to restore function balance and strength with our programmes and tailor them to each specific client. Therefore, we incorporate suitable exercises according to your needs.
In addition, we offer our clients an array of training opportunities. We follow the FITT principle for our exercise rehabilitation programmes. This stands for frequency, intensity, time, and type. Frequency pertains to how frequently you exercise and is typically expressed in terms of days per week. For aerobic activity, intensity refers to the percentage of your maximal heart rate, whereas a strengthening exercise refers to the weight or resistance to be used. Time measures the duration of an aerobic workout, the length of a specific stretch, or the number of repetitions needed to complete a resistance or weighted exercise. Lastly, the type of exercise needs to cater to your particular needs. At Heartland Rehab, a trained physiotherapist will adapt the exercise regimen to the equipment available to you in your everyday life (e.g. choosing between dumbbells, resistance bands, machines, or body weights to conduct the exercise).
We take four things into consideration before prescribing a strength training regimen to any of our clients. This includes specificity, overload, rest, and variation.
Specificity: Our physical therapists recommend exercises tailored to you to address your concerns and meet your specific objectives.
Overload: For an exercise to be effective and prompt beneficial adaptations, suitable stress or intensity must be placed on the movement or muscle group. Your physiotherapist will advise you on the ideal level of overload for an exercise (e.g. appropriate amount of intensity that stresses the particular muscle but not at a level where it causes too much pain for you to perform the training).
Rest: The proper quantity of rest and recovery is necessary for optimal adaption. To help you heal, your physiotherapist will give you appropriate advice and teach you stretching exercises.
Variation: Your rehabilitation sessions will include a variety of activities to avoid plateauing, overtraining, and injury. Due to their extensive knowledge of these training methods, our physiotherapists will design an exercise programme that will give you the best results.
Should you have any more enquiries, please feel free to contact us immediately.
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