If the term “strength training” automatically elicits images of muscular men, gym bros, and huge, heavy weights, it’s time to rethink your fitness routine. This connotation has scared people, particularly women, off of strength training for far too long. If you’re concerned you’ll look “too buff” then you’ve certainly gotten the wrong impression of strength training. Here’s why and how you and everyone you know should be working toward stronger muscles:
What Strength Training Isn’t
Bodybuilding and strength training are not the same thing. Bodybuilding is actively attempting to enlarge the muscles and reduce fat in the body to an almost extreme level. This subset of strength training is extremely difficult to do, requires hours of very heavy weight lifting, and incredibly strict dieting. Unless you become passionate about competitive bodybuilding, forget about this form of strength training.
What Strength Training Is
Strength training is any exercise where the move you perform has a resistance acting against it. The resistance can be weights, fitness bands, or even your own body. Exercises like push-ups, bicep curls, squats, calf raises, and bench press are all examples of strength training exercises.
Strength training is vitally important to creating a healthy body no matter your age, gender, illness or fitness level. Everyone can benefit from some form of strength training, and everyone is capable of performing strength training moves. Some benefits include more effective and permanent weight loss, improved posture, stronger bones, reduction in chronic pain, and an overall more in-shape physique to name a few.
Beyond what strength training physically does to your body, focus on how it makes you feel. Perhaps even more important than actually being stronger is feeling stronger. The confidence and self-esteem gained from feeling strong and fit can improve your outlook on life and give you the ability to take on life’s challenges more readily.
How to Get Started
If you’re ready to start adding some strength training to your fitness regimen, remember to start slow and work your way up. Focus on the kind of strength training that works best for your lifestyle and goals. For example, if you will never see the inside of a weightlifting gym, focus on in-home strength exercises like push-ups and lunges. You can modify these exercises by using a wall for support and work your way up to more difficult versions. If you do use a fitness gym but never go into “that” area, try incorporating just one machine each time you go until you are comfortable with them all. You might find that strength training becomes your preferred form of exercise!