The days of standard body building workouts are over. Many people are starting to focus on strength training as the foundation of their wellness program. When I went to school for personal training I learned the value of building strength not just size. Some of my classmates were obsessed with building size focused on one muscle group each day for two hours a day five days a week. This method combined with their supplements made them fat and they hit a wall not making and progress with their training.
Doing a workout program that focuses on size not strength takes a ton of time and most people will burnout from the stress put on the body. Many body builders will put two hours into the gym every day of the week and most people can’t handle this load or have the time to work out that much.
If you want to see results over a long period with less time in the gym maximal strength training is for you.
Here are some of the benefits of maximal strength training.
Increased bone density
Lifting heavy weights improves bone density. Just like muscles bones become stronger when doing a heavy lifting program. Resistance training increases bone density by putting load on the bones. With more resistance, the stronger the bones get.
Increase lean mass
Lifting heavy weights will help you increase lean mass. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat and will help you burn more calories at rest. Focusing on compound movements like squats, deadlift and bench press will help you build lean mass faster than doing exercises in isolation. When you perform compound lifts you’re able to lift more weight which puts more load on the muscles being used, this leads to greater results and a more efficient workout.
Side note: When building a workout program focus on compound lifts as your foundation but you may add isolation exercises if you have a weakness in a certain area. Example if you have trouble finishing the end of the bench press you might need to add some triceps extensions with a E-Z bar.
Have you ever picked up something heavy and felt back pain after you, did it? Most likely you have. When we are out of shape and try to lift heavy items without training it often leads to injury. Building a program around maximal strength training will make everything you lift in your day to day routine seem light.
When you’re in the gym you are in a controlled environment and this limits the risk of injury. During a deadlift the barbell is designed to be lifted very close to the body so that you’re in a perfect position to lift the bar without injury. This allows you to increase strength every week without getting hurt. If you can lift 200lbs off the ground at the gym without an issue do you think you’ll be able to lift a 50lb box in a slightly awkward position? You bet you will. Heavy weight training makes your body functional at any age and that prevents injuries.
As we age we lose muscle mass but if we lift heavy weights we can slow down the process or even reverse it. If you’ve never lifted weights before and you’re 60 years of age you may have more lean mass than you ever had in your life. As we age it is harder to build lean mass and strength but lifting heavy is the best way to combat this.
Many people have heart disease or diabetes and this can lead to a shorter life. Lifting weights can help prevent these diseases. Older adults have problems with balance and this may lead to a fall. When people fall at an older age they may break a bone which may require bedrest. Being stuck in bed for a long period can cause the body to breakdown leading to other health issues. Avoid this by being strong and having better balance.
Lifting heavy can improve your mood. Whenever we do a program that has a goal it can make us feel good because every week we see progress. If we lift heavy in the gym our day to day lives may seem easier. Lifting heavy weights increases mood enhancing endorphins. If you’re looking to feel better while looking better maximal strength training is for you.
Checkout our guide to muscle building
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