Published On: Wed, Oct 6th, 2021

Want To Get Buff? 4 Things To Know About Strength Training

When you hear someone talking about weight training, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you likely envision bodybuilders with physiques out of an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but the reality is that strength training is a much more nuanced activity than that. 

In fact, most people who participate in strength training look little different from any other generically physically fit person. Strength training is such a common partner of working out that you may even be performing strength training exercises without knowing it.

photo courtesy Streetstrider

Strength Training Versus Bodybuilding

In order to explain what we mean when we say that you might be participating in strength training without knowing it, we should separate a few commonly used terms. For example, strength training is not the same as bodybuilding, which emphasizes bulking up through high-intensity weight training and even the use of steroids. In reality, strength training actually includes a variety of activities, including weight training and resistance training. Additionally, weight training isn’t always lifting heavy weights, but can include bodyweight resistance, like pushups.

Technique Over Total Weight

Whether or not you’re lifting weights as part of your strength training practice, one of the most important things you need to know is that your form is more important than how much weight you’re working with if you want to see results. That’s because proper technique not only prevents injury, but it also ensures that you’re actually isolating and activating the intended muscle groups. Often, when people complain they aren’t seeing results from their weight training routine, it’s because they aren’t using proper form.

Obviously, it can be hard to learn proper technique and sometimes even those who have been taught the right way to do exercises can fall out of form, so having another set of eyes to guide you can help. Consider trying a strength coaching program for help developing a routine that works for you, while also benefiting from critical guidance on your form.

Resistance Counts

One popular at-home fitness activity involves using resistance bands, and while you may find some hardcore weight lifters who discourage such workouts, they’re the ones who are in the wrong. Resistance band-based workouts yield results similar to working with dumbbells or even weight machines. Furthermore, when it comes to strengthening vital stabilizer muscles, resistance bands can be even better than other strength training activities. 

Rest Is Key

You’ll often hear serious fitness buffs talking about “leg day” or “arm day,” and while this is a way of indicating what part of their body they’re working out that day, as part of a larger routine, that’s not the only reason this breakdown matters. If you want to build strength, and especially if you want to bulk up, letting your muscles rest is important. Our muscles get stronger when exercise causes small tears in the tissue, which then heal into tougher, stronger tissue. Even if you don’t break up your workouts in this way, choosing different, less intense activities on your “off” days can give your muscles the break they need.

If we want to encourage people to participate in strength training, it’s important to be clear about what that actually means. Most people aren’t about to go work on their benchpress or even hit the weight machines, but when we include activities like bodyweight training and resistance training in the conversation, we make strength training much more inclusive and inviting.

Author: Anna Johansson

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