Whether you are 16 or 60, man or woman, athlete or non-athlete, it's very important to be physically strong. While those in the medical profession have done a great job in warning people about the consequences of poor cardiovascular health, there isn't enough attention being given to maintaining or building physical strength.
So why is being strong necessary? Here are three reasons:
- You can look after yourself better, when you get old and don't need to rely on anyone else or on a walking stick to get around.
- Normal day to day activities, like walking up stairs, will be much easier for you as your muscles will need to exert less force.
- You are less likely to injure a joint, as they will be strong, and so will the surrounding muscles.
In short, if you wish to have a high quality of life, even in your senior years, then be sure to build a strong foundation of strength and cardio from a very young age. Now when it comes to strength training, you must focus on real strength training. Don't think those 'monstrous' 2-pound weights are used for strength training. Real strength training is lifting heavy weights (in some exercises even more than your own body weight) and focusing on tough exercises like squats, military presses, etc.
Gain strength and improve your overall health and fitness with these five tips.
Focus on Free-Weight Compound Exercises
A compound exercise refers to one move that works multiple muscle groups. For example, a squat works all the muscles of your lower body and also engages your core and upper body muscles. Whereas a seated leg extension works only the quad muscles and is thus called an isolation exercise. Heavy-compound exercises are the best when it comes to strength training because they allow you to lift heavier than isolation moves and build a lot of strength. Plus, if you base your training around compound moves only, then you only need to do about three to six exercises in one session.
Do Lower RepetitionsOnce you've learn proper technique and form, then it's time to include lower repetition into your routine. Lowering your reps means you need to lift heavier weights, which will help you gain more strength. How many reps should you do? Well for the general population that is not into competitive strength training, five reps is fine, and no need to go lower than that. Remember to up the weight.
Do Full-Body Workouts
Strength training is a skill. Just like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you get. For example, if you wish to develop your leg strength, you will do better if you train your legs three times a week, rather than once every seven days. Look at it like this, do boxers, martial artists, and javelin throwers practice their sport only once a week? No, they practice multiple times a week, and thus their muscles and nervous system get efficient at it—and they get stronger. The same applies for strength training.