by Michael Meola, Elevate Fitness Personal Trainer
With so many ways to exercise and workout, it seems as though muscle building, or rather strength training exercises have really taken a back seat in people’s minds, either being some people feel it isn’t needed or it belongs to a certain group of gym goers- the meatheads in the weight rooms of gyms.
Before your next gym session considering some of these benefits to strength training.
Better Cardiovascular Health: 2013 research study in the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrates that applied strength training to young men showed improved numbers in HDL, or good cholesterol compared to those who have never touched a barbell. The study explains that proper strength training improved blood pressure and triglyceride levels similar to those who cardio train, BUT even better impact of HDL.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels: Resistance training is something that should be incorporated for anyone with Type 2 diabetes. In a 2013 review published in the Journal BioMed research it showed that in addition to building muscle, strength training also helps the body use glucose, or blood sugar, getting it out of the blood and into the muscle, thus decreasing blood sugar levels.
Lowered Risk of Injury: Strength training also helps with bone density, which can help counteract forms of arthritis and fibromyalgia (which is more of a musculoskeletal disorder) as well as increasing muscle mass which can help protect ligaments and soft tissue. If a muscle is too weak, it places added stress on connective tissue.
Helping with Flexibility and Mobility: Results from a 2017 study in the Journal of IsoKinetics and Exercise Science shows that strength training improves flexibility in both men and women. Eccentric focused strength training showed twice as much hamstring flexibility than normal static stretching. If you take the muscles and joints through their full range of motion through strength training, you will increase that range over time.
Outside of these reasons, I want to dive into a more anecdotal reason I want to change people’s lives through strength training. 10 years ago I busted up my back pretty bad. L4 L5 herniated. I can still remember the pain to this day. The sharp bolts down my leg, not being able to move right or ever stand up straight. I remember randomly falling because my body would give out, my mom having to carry me, tears rolling down my face. I remember bouncing from Physical Therapists to Chiropractors for almost 5 years; I remember doctors telling me I’d need shots every 6 months and that surgery was the only way to fix me up. I remember being told I’d never be able to exercise the same or do much of anything regarding my back and exercise. Cut to today 5 years into dedicated strength training with squats, deadlifts, hinges, pushing and pulling with a barbell I can say I never went through surgery, never once had any injections in my back, and I have been pain free lifting more than I ever thought possible with a 545 lb Squat and a 505 lb deadlift.
Now, this may not be everyone’s comeback story. I’m not saying everyone should try and squat crazy weight. I’m not saying this is the only way to workout, or that it is superior to other forms of exercise. What I am saying is more people should give strength training and barbell training a real chance.
My mission statement in life is to empower my clients and people through strength. Strength is never a weakness.
Michael Meola is a certified personal trainer at Elevate Fitness in Liverpool, NY. To book a complimentary* consultation session with him, fill out the form at the bottom of this page and request Michael when booking your session.