When most people talk about getting fit and working out, they are referring to cardiovascular exercise. While regular cardiovascular exercise is an important part of a good health and fitness regime, the importance of strength training should not be ignored. Having strong muscles can prevent injury, improve your posture and have a positive impact on your metabolism.
Muscular Strength for Day to Day Life
Muscular strength is defined as the amount of force that a muscle can produce against a resistance. Whenever you move yourself, or an object, you are using muscular strength. It is common for casual gym-goers to have the misconception that they do not need to lift weights because they don’t want to be a bodybuilder or a weightlifter. However, even someone whose goal is general fitness or weight loss can benefit from strength training.
Muscular strength is used for almost every day-to-day activity from getting out of a chair, to carrying your shopping. Strength training can come in handy for common DIY tasks, pushing a car when it gets stuck in snow and carrying suitcases when you are on holiday.
Strength training has many side benefits. Resistance exercises can help to improve bone density, reducing your risk of osteoporosis later in life. In addition, increasing your muscular strength will encourage your body to add muscle. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat, so your base metabolic rate will increase, making it easier for you to lose fat.
Muscular endurance is your body’s capacity to perform multiple muscle contractions over an extended period of time. If you engage in any form of endurance activity whether that is running, cycling, or aerobics, then you should find your performance improves if you train for muscular endurance.
You can improve your muscular endurance through strength training. Performing a high number of repetitions with a moderate weight can improve your endurance capacity.
As you get stronger, you should find that day-to-day activities get easier. Tasks that were previously difficult because they involved moving heavy or unwieldy objects, such as lifting a child’s buggy in and out of your car, will be less draining once you get strong enough that the buggy’s weight feels trivial.
If you are an athlete, then improving your strength will allow you to generate power for your sport more easily. A strong martial artist will be able to generate more power and speed with their kicks and punches and a strong tennis player should be able to apply their strength to augment their technique, hitting the ball harder and faster.
Improving Your Strength
You can improve your maximum strength by lifting heavy weights for a low number of repetitions. Most people see strength improvements when performing exercises for 5 to 12 repetitions. To train for muscular endurance, perform the same exercises with slightly lighter weights and do more repetitions.
It is possible to improve your muscular strength through bodyweight exercises. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats and curl-ups can all be used to increase strength and endurance. If the basic versions of those exercises are too easy for you, try performing more advanced versions such as one handed push-ups, one legged squats, or pull-ups from a dead hang.