Strength Training: Our Quick Guide

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What is Strength training?

This refers to the use of weights, bands, and even your own bodyweight to make the muscles of the body contract. This is also known as resistance training or progressive resistance training (PRT). The benefits of training, specifically strength training, are invaluable for individuals of all ages. Over time, strength training has become a universal form of exercise.

As we have briefly established, strength training goes beyond weights and bodybuilding. Regardless of your fitness level or age, strength training can impact your quality of living, your motor ability and skills, and the way you respond to both exercise and regular activities. The beauty of strength training is that it can be done with or without equipment. You can use weights, resistance bands or even your body weight. The focus is on adding a layer of force or resistance as you perform an exercise.

Strength training contributes to muscular strength, muscular power, and muscular endurance. Before we get any further, let’s explore how these three components work for physical functioning

Muscular Strength

Muscular Strength refers to the ability the muscle possesses to produce force to lift or move an object. If you have come across weightlifting, this would be associated with how much weight you can lift. Muscular strength is necessary to complete everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Strength training increases your muscular strength and with it, the ability to live a more functional life

Muscular Power

Muscular Power refers to the ability to lift or move an object with speed. If muscular power grows, you might notice the improvement in activities such as running, jogging and in even the ability to shift from a static position to a moving position. Consistent strength training will help you develop muscular power, and thus, a greater sense of ease when it comes to daily physical activity.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular Endurance refers to your ability to lift a weight for an extended period with various repetitions. The more endurance you have, the more you will engage in physical activity without immediate fatigue. The benefits of training are multiple when it comes to developing muscular endurance. Consistency, however, is the key to long-lasting results.

Each component activates muscles in diverse ways; therefore, having a professional working alongside you is paramount to understand what each muscle does and how to contribute to their optimal functioning. At Active Ability, our qualified Exercised Physiologists can help you with your strength training goals.

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Why is Strength Training necessary?

A life of general wellbeing is one that includes exercise as part of daily life. The benefits of training are many and they last beyond a session with your physiotherapist. Strength training contributes to overall fitness, physical performance and as a foundation for any training program. Strength training helps individuals of all ages become stronger and faster.

As we age, if left unattended, our muscles weaken, and our bone density decreases. This affects our balance, among other things, increasing the likelihood of injury. Overall, the purpose of strength training is to increase balance and mobility in a sustainable manner. Strength training with weights can also contribute to developing bone density, and therefore, reduce the risk of fractures or other injuries.

When you work with a knowledgeable exercise physiologist, you benefit from their years of experience. Active Ability provides in-person sessions and mobile services that can help facilitate your strength training goals.

How often?

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), everyone should complete strength training at least 3 times a week, and rest for at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions to allow the muscles to rest and recover.

What are the health-related benefits of strength training?

The benefits of training can be seen in essential tasks such as toileting, dressing, walking, and cooking. Everyday activities, not just seemingly harder ones, require strong muscles. Strength training will reduce the likelihood of bone fragility while providing you with a healthy dose of endorphins.

Strength training:

  • Improves health, functional ability, and enhanced quality of life
  • Prevents the loss of muscle and bone mass
  • Encourages greater muscle mass attainment. The more muscle, the better the body becomes at burning energy and the less likely you are to store energy as fat
  • Decreases risk of injury because strength training corrects muscular imbalances

Tips from the ACSM:

  • Exercise each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
  • Very light or light intensity is best for previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
  • 2-4 sets of each exercise will help improve strength and power.
  • As a rule of thumb:
    • For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power
    • 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older people starting exercise
    • 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance
    • Rest for at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.

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How do our clients train at Active Ability?

No two client’s health needs and physical activity goals are the same and therefore neither is their exercise intervention.

Danielle has Multiple Sclerosis (featured in the previous story), and she does her resistance training 3 times a week ensuring each day she covers the large muscle group of the body.

In relation to her strength training, Danielle says,

“I feel the muscles working and that’s how I know I am getting a good workout. After the sessions, my muscles are sore, but then a few days later, I notice the difference. I feel and trust that my muscles are there to support me.”

At Active Ability, we can show you how to exercise in your own home without having the need to access a gym.

Here’s how our Exercise Physiologists can assist you with Strength Training:

  • Setting goals based on your needs, preferences and current level of fitness and physical ability
  • Increasing your mobility and overall strength
  • Focusing on your form, especially postural control
  • Providing you with weight management programs through our qualified dieticians
  • Assisting you in the management of medical conditions that directly affect your physical therapy and strength training process
  • Communicating expert knowledge, encouragement, and direction
  • And more!
Are you looking for an NDIS Exercise Physiologist who can support you or support a loved one with their strength training needs?

Active Ability has a team full of experienced and caring professionals ready to serve you. Our NDIS Exercise Physiologists provide services for the management of chronic conditions and disabilities. We have worked with many NDIS participants with tailored physical activity plans and program interventions. Our goal is to help you grow in your ongoing physical activity and health education.

Exercise Physiology is about maintaining and promoting physical health. Whether you have a disability or a chronic condition, our services will improve your sense of wellbeing, independence and ultimately, help you achieve your goals!

Our tailored programs will improve your current physical level of fitness while helping you progress towards long-term overall fitness. The best part is that we can go to you and work in any environment that suits you. Your needs and preferences are our priority.

If you would like to see an Exercise Physiologist to learn how you can best do strength training, please give us a call (02) 8678 7874 today, send us an email hello@activeability.com.au or use our contact form.

The Active Ability Team xx