Muscles are fundamental for overall health as we age, not only for increased strength but also for disease prevention and health promotion. It’s ideal to maintain strength throughout our lives, but no matter if you’re starting over or starting later in life, know that there is always the potential to build strength. Studies have found that adults in their twenties on up through their nineties saw the same relative gains by engaging in a strength training program. The beneficial effects of strength training on the physical body can be seen in as little as 10 weeks!
Strength Training Benefits
The benefits of strength training are abundant and include the following:
- Lower blood pressure and body fat
- Faster recovery and injury prevention
- Improved cognitive functioning
- Improved range of motion
- Improved confidence
Strength Training Programs
If you are new to strength training, the first thing you will want to do is build a base. Start with lower reps and focus of form. Form is imperative, especially when you are lifting weights because it is all about neural feedback. You want to be in the correct position for your movements so you create the correct neural muscular connection. Use free weights if you can as they are going to provide a better stimulus than machines. Free weights require balance and finer movements where machines are rigid and direct force through a single guided direction.
Once you have a solid base, there are two types of strength training programs we recommend:
Resistance Training– This type of strength training focuses on muscles contracting against an external resistance. Continued practice will lead to increases in muscle strength, tone, mass, and endurance
Powerlifting– powerlifting involves lifting as much weight as you possibly can with only one single rep. It consists of three main exercises: the squat, the deadlift, and the bench press. Lifting large amounts of weight like this causes micro tears, which will heal over with new tissue and muscle that make you stronger with more muscle mass.