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Strength training, also known as resistance training, weight training and muscular training, isn’t just about bulking up and building muscle mass.
Its benefits include improved posture, better sleep, gaining bone density, maintaining weight loss, boosting metabolism, lowering inflammation and staving off chronic disease, among a laundry list of positives.

The main types of strength training include:

  • Muscular hypertrophy. Also known as muscle building, this type of strength training uses moderate-to-heavy weights to stimulate muscle growth.
  • Muscular endurance. This refers to your muscles’ ability to sustain exercise for a period of time. Training to increase muscular endurance usually involves high reps using light weights or body weight.
  • Circuit training. During this form of full-body conditioning, you cycle through various exercises with little to no rest between them.
  • Maximum muscular strength. This type of exercise involves low reps (usually 2–6) and heavy weights to improve your overall strength. It’s best reserved for experienced exercisers who have mastered their form.
  • Explosive power. This training combines power and speed to improve your power output. It’s usually employed among trained athletes to improve their ability to perform explosive movements in their sport.

Most people focus on muscular endurance, circuit training, and muscular hypertrophy as part of their strength-training routine, while strength and power training are usually reserved for experienced athletes.

Depending on the type of strength training you choose to reach your goals, you can use various equipment (or none at all), such as:

  • Body weight: Using your own body weight and the force of gravity to perform various movements (e.g., push ups, squats, planks, pullups, and lunges)
  • Free weightsEquipment not bound to the floor or a machine, such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, or objects around the house
  • Resistance bands/ Loop bandsRubber bands that provide resistance when stretched
  • Weight machines: Machines with adjustable weights or hydraulics attached to provide resistance and stress to the muscles
  • Suspension equipment: Consists of ropes or straps that are anchored to a sturdy point in which a person uses their body weight and gravity to perform various exercises

Regardless of the type of strength training you perform; the goal is to put your muscles under tension to allow neuromuscular adaptations and stimulate muscle growth. With regular practice, your muscles will become stronger.

Here are a few benefits of Strength Training backed by science:

  • Strength training helps you become stronger. Gaining strength allows you to perform daily tasks much easier, such as carrying heavy groceries or running around with your kids. Furthermore, it helps improve athletic performance in sports that require speed, power, and strength, and it helps in preserving lean muscle mass.
  • It keeps your bones strong and healthy. After about age 30, you start to lose bone density at a small percentage each year. Keep in mind, women make up 80 per cent of osteoporosis cases as they lose bone mass. Your body cares about survival, not looking cute in a bikini – it has to adapt to survive so it’ll get stronger and bones will get stronger to endure these forces. Weight-bearing exercises put temporary stress on your bones, sending a message to bone-building cells to take action and rebuild bones stronger. Having strong bones reduces your risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and falls, especially as you age.
  • It staves off disease, regulates insulin & lowers inflammation. Along with keeping away chronic disease, strength training has you burning through glucose, which is good news for those grappling with Type 2 diabetes who consistently need to manage blood sugar levels. 
  • It boosts metabolism & fat loss: You can change your metabolism because you’re burning more calories, if you have more muscle. It’s an active tissue, it burns more energy at rest compared to fat. Also, the calorie burn effect of an anaerobic exercise like lifting weights lasts much longer than any aerobic exercise, being more effective for fat loss. In fact, research shows that your metabolic rate is increased up to 72 hours after strength-training exercise. This means that you’re still burning additional calories hours and even days after your workout.
  • It can help you appear leaner. As you build more muscle and lose fat, you will appear leaner. This is because muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body pound for pound. Therefore, you may lose inches off of your waist even if you don’t see a change in the number on the scale. Plus, losing body fat and building stronger and larger muscles showcases more muscle definition, creating a stronger and leaner appearance.
  • It improves posture, sleep, mood & energy levels. Regular weight training may boost your mood and improve your mental health. Multiple studies have shown that strength training may reduce anxiety and boost your mood. Strength training confers multiple benefits to mood regulation, such as increased self-esteem and self-efficacy. What’s more, exercise promotes the release of mood-boosting endorphins, which can play a role in a positive mood.
  • It reduces the risk of injury. Including strength training in your exercise routine may reduce your risk of injury. Strength training helps improve the strength, range of motion, and mobility of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This can reinforce strength around major joints like your knees, hips, and ankles to provide additional protection against injury.
  • It improves balance and reduces the risk of falls. What’s more, strength training can help correct muscular imbalances. For example, having a stronger core, hamstrings, and glutes takes the load off of your lower back during lifting, decreasing your risk of lower-back injuries. 
  • It improves heart health. Multiple studies have shown that regular strength-training exercise can decrease blood pressure, lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improve blood circulation by strengthening the heart and blood vessels. Strength training also can help you maintain a healthy body weight and manage your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are a major risk factor for heart disease. 

It boosts confidence. Strength training can add a major boost to your self-confidence. It helps you overcome challenges, work toward a goal, and appreciate your body’s strength. In particular, it can increase your self-efficacy — the belief that you’re able to succeed at or perform a task — which can greatly improve your confidence.