Health and fitness has over the past few years become a huge trend.
Especially weight training, and the public are becoming more aware that weight training has a reliable effect on muscular development.
However, weight training does not solely have an impact on muscle growth and strength.
Here are three positive effects of weight training you may not know about:
A study looking at the effects of the quadricep extension weight training exercise found that although there was increase in strength in the quadricep, the more noticeable improvement was seen in the improvements in coordination of the muscle groups involved in the movement.
This led the study to confirm:
“These results suggest that the major benefit of this type of training is learning to coordinate the different muscle groups involved in the training movement rather than intrinsic increases in strength of the muscle group being trained”.
This makes sense, as a lot of weight training exercises involves lifting/pushing/pulling or moving weight in a specific direction with an entirely symmetrical body movement.
This is practicing body coordination at its best, and given our day to day lifestyles involving mostly unilateral (one sided) movements (driving/typing), weight training is a great way to retain our muscle coordination with a wide variety of movements. It’s something we stress highly at our physiotherapy clinic in crawley.
Osteoporosis is the term given to weakening of the bones. It occurs across the world and especially amongst the elder generation.
Weight training has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on reducing the risk and severity of this condition.
This study in particular, which is a meta-analysis (a study of multiple other studies) found that:
“…Over the past 10 years, nearly two dozen cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have shown a direct and positive relationship between the effects of resistance training and bone density”.
The reason is, when we are young our loss of bone tissue which occurs naturally with time is counteracted with the production of more bone tissue. However, our body’s capacity to produce new bone tissue is reduced as we age.
In addition, it’s made even worse with a sedentary lifestyle. However, weight training counteracts this by stimulating the production of ‘osteoblasts’ which are essentially cells that build bones back up.
A study which compared 27 people who weight trained to 30 people who only had a physical education course found that those who completed an advanced weight training program had significantly higher self-esteem and also improved body-cathexis (a person’s investment of energy into their body).
Naturally, we can see why this would be the case.
Weight training increases one’s muscle strength and flexibility and cardiovascular health. As we improve our health, we subsequently becomes more confident in our own skin, and this results in higher self esteem.
Weight training is difficult to commit to, it takes a lot of determination and persistence.
With an understanding that this practice of exercise has a much wider-ranging positive impact on your day to day life, it can become easier to motivate yourself to continue to weight train.
As general principles of advice, if you’re weight-lifting to supplement a goal of health weight gain, it’s recommended to weight train up to 4 times per week with primarily compound movements only (deadlifts, barbells squats, barbell bench press), to maximise muscle recruitment whilst minimizing calorie loss. Focus on very low reps, and heavier weights.
If your goal is muscle ‘toning’ and fat loss, you can weight train 5-6 times per week, with more isolated movements, higher repetitions and lighter weights.
In addition, it’s helpful to combine weight training with a healthy lifestyle in general, including a lean diet, sports/cardio routines and a healthy work-life balance.