You’ll get stronger and you’ll feel it in the real world – This is by far the BEST benefit of strength training. If you lift something heavy, suddenly everything else feels lighter. Doing compound lifts in the gym will strengthen your arms, legs, core and back, making you more efficient at any physical activity. Personally, since I started the Stronglifts program, and learned the proper form, the back pain and knee pain that has nagged at me since college has disappeared!
It ultimately burns more fat than cardio – Cardio is defined as low intensity activity over an extended period of time. Strength training is high intensity activity in very short bursts. When you lift and lower weights, you make tiny tears in your muscles. After your workout, your body starts to repair the tears. It’s this process that triggers an “afterburn” effect that will last for the next 48 hours. This afterburn will not be present if all you do is jog at a snail’s pace. A better alternative if you prefer running is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
More muscle burns more fat – In addition to the afterburn, more muscle mass increases your base metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn if you slept all day). Effectively, strength training is like compound interest in the exercise world. You get better results immediately after the workout, as well as in the long-term.
It’s gives better results in less time – five sets of five push-ups each will take roughly 10-15 minutes. The same is true for squats and other strength training moves. Compound lifts work more muscles in one move, resulting in needing to do 3-5 moves instead of 10 isolation moves. Compare that to an hour on the treadmill.
You’ll look better – If you have a big belly, doing crunches every day won’t help as much as strengthening your whole body. It’s not possible to lose fat only in once place. You cannot “tone” your belly while keeping everything else the same. When the body consumes fat, it will do it everywhere. You’ll need to do a full body workout to come close to touching the fat on your belly.
It also works for the underweight – If you have difficulty putting on weight you shouldn’t just eat more. Eating a lot with no exercise will make you skinny with a big belly (for men) or big arms and legs (for women). It’s because excess energy is stored as fat and not muscle. But if you stimulate your body with a good strength training program, and then eat the right foods, you will add mass to the right places on your body. You’ll be stronger too.
It provides a good foundation to develop the other aspects of your fitness – Crossfit.com measures fitness by looking at 10 physical skills: Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. Frankly, you can’t grow in any of these other areas if you are a weakling. Go to any dance or yoga class, you will still need strength.
I hope after reading these 7 reasons you are convinced to try strength training, or if you’re already working out, to add an element of strength training to your routine.
Where to go from here? Here is a list of some great resources that I’ve found on the web to get you started.