Why you too should strength-train

I’m pretty sure there’s no need to emphasize how regular physical activity is not only good, but rather a necessity in our lives. We have evolved as a species needing to fight for survival. In the last century or so we have managed to grow above this, but our bodies haven’t changed that much. We can assert that sitting in chairs 8+ hours a day is not what our bodies were designed for; to alleviate this, we need to incorporate some sport in our lives fairly regularly.

A lot of people who do sports stuck with some form of cardio. They run or bike kilometers, swim three times a week and think that they have done everything in their power to be healthier. While doing LISS (low intensity steady-state) cardio is pretty beneficial, it’s probably not the most effective way of getting more fit. After a certain amount it won’t make you leaner, might be detrimental to your joints and you will probably stop progressing, although that’s the most important aspect – continuously increasing the pressure under which you put your body. Strength training can help resolve all these issues.

No, I’m not going to give you a guide on how to start doing it. There’s a huge number of write-ups that do this. Instead, I’d like to give you some more generic thoughts, plus convince you to start doing it.

First of all, you have lots of types of strength training: barbell/dumbbell training, using kettlebells or doing bodyweight exercises. Even a mixture of these is not a bad idea! What you need to keep in mind is not chasing numbers. Be comfortable with the weights and exercises, always keep good form and focus on you goal – getting healthier. This is why some types of training are not recommended at all: take crossfit, TRX or any other new, trendy fad off your list. Not focusing on form while trying to get as many reps as possible in a limited amount of time is not a good way to start. Dropping out of form will result in injuries. This is not what you have started this for, right? What you actually need is a good program that has been proven to work by a large group of people. You can choose Starting strength, Ice cream fitness, Pavel’s Power to the people or /r/bodyweightfitness/’s Recommended routine, to list a few. Just keep at it. Be consistent. It will take a couple of months for you to have any noticeable changes, but it will happen. A good program will guide you through all possible events and will keep you progressing. By the time you should look into a new program or any more advanced routines or variations, you’ll know a lot more and you’ll be able to find your next challenge.

People, especially women often say they don’t want to look so bulky and they don’t want big muscles. Don’t be afraid, you won’t Accidentally Arnold. That takes years of commitment, proper dieting and devoting all your free time to it. If you manage to do this however, be sure you can sell the recipe – people will pay great amounts of money for it. What can you expect then?

  • You will develop muscles; this itself has a lot of benefits
  • Get more resilient to illness
  • Get leaner
  • Have a stronger core, thus fix your posture
  • Have sturdier bones, joints and ligaments
  • Move much more freely
  • Gain better body-awareness
  • Improve your balance
  • Have better sleep
  • You’ll be able to handle higher workload (both mental and physical)
  • It will clear your head

There are studies proving most of these points, if you don’t believe me (and why should you?), I suggest hitting up google scholar with some keywords such as muscle size benefits.

In the future I’ll tell you why this is of course not enough. To have good results, you’ll need to pay attention to your diet, and of course you shouldn’t become a bro who dismisses cardio completely – you should actually run/bike/swim too, after all.

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