Focus on physical fitness has ballooned in popularity over the last decade with gyms of all types popping up. At Bodymass, we’re ecstatic to see so many people breaking out of their comfort zone, connecting with community, and seeking healthier outlets. The benefits of exercise are well documented.
Strength training is critically important to any exercise regimen. More than just a good sweat or a quick burn, a proper strength training program puts a very different stimulus on the body. Forced by a new stimulus, the body adapts to the strength training program in several ways which are beneficial in the near term and the long term. Here are the top 5 reasons you should take up a strength training program:
Builds lean muscle mass and increases metabolism
A proper strength training program focuses on increasing an individual’s ability to move more weight over time. This means the body adapts to the new stimulus by creating lean muscle. This new muscle not only makes you look good and feel great, it also helps you maintain a higher metabolism. Lean muscle mass requires more energy and uses more energy throughout the day, where as fatty mass takes less energy to maintain. The more lean muscle mass one has on their body, the more calories they burn throughout the day. This can be measured by a diagnostic tool called Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Our trainers are trained in implementing this tool and you can watch your metabolism get stronger as you do as well.
Builds stronger bones
Putting a barbell on your back, over your head, or in your hands literally gives you stronger bones. A lack of bone density can create serious problems in life: if an accident were to occur, say falling off a ladder while doing work on your row house or you hit a pothole on your scooter on your way to work, having strong bones helps absorb the fall and prevents breaking an arm or a leg. Later in life, having greater bone density helps prevent hips from breaking when an elderly person falls. Statistics show an elderly person who breaks their hip is up to 60% more likely to die within a year of the accident. A recent study showed a 12 week back squat regimen negated bone loss in middle-aged women with osteopenia and osteosclerosis. BodyMass has a great tool called a DEXA scan. Beyond measuring lean mass and fat mass, it analyzes bone density and you can see your bones get heavier as you do strength training.
Strength training is a perfect way to have tangible results in a world that rewards accomplishment yet is increasingly digital and ephemeral. Emails, tweets, Instagram posts, database scanning all disappears when the computer or phone is off. A strength training program is tangible; you can feel it: the barbell’s knurl, the sweat dripping down your nose, the increase in your back squat. The feeling of strength sticks with you long after you leave the weight room and is transmitted to your peers through your shoulders and head held high, knowing you are taking on the challenge of a strength program literally meant to push you beyond your current physical limits.
Builds a better, stronger range of motion
Having a full range of motion and strength in that range of motion is crucial to vibrant living. A strength training program puts you in positions your body would not naturally seek out -- the bottom of a back squat, having a barbell overhead, or hip hinging for a deadlift. These movements teach the body how to move well and stretch areas that otherwise wouldn’t get movement. Think about a heavy back squat. It stretches and strengthens your ankles, knees, groin, hips, all of your back, and your shoulders. While you may not back squat or deadlift in your daily living, you use those muscles for everything -- standing up from your desk, picking up groceries, putting away tools in your garage. Have you ever noticed how your out of shape aunt or uncle sits in their chair? They hover over it and then let gravity do the rest. Likewise, when they get up, it’s more likely they’re pushing themselves up with their arms than they are standing with their legs. Their range of motion is gone and the strength in that range went with it. A solid strength training program would help them immensely.
Builds smaller, crucial muscles
There are lots of small muscles throughout the body that help support strong joints and healthy movement. Your arms and legs are strong not only because of your biceps or hamstrings, but because the joints they’re connected to are strong. The shoulder, for instance, is primarily supported by the muscles around your shoulder blade connected to your spine and rib cage. But, because people are image conscious, they tend to focus on lifts that look good in a mirror, creating an imbalance toward the front of the shoulder versus the more important back shoulder muscles. Serious injury can occur if these tiny muscles aren’t properly developed -- you can tear a labrum, a rotator cuff, or dislocate your shoulder. A smart strength training program will help build those small muscles to help the body move more efficiently during lifts and help prevent injury in and out of the weightroom.
At Bodymass, our main strength training program is called Build because we believe it will build a stronger, more flexible, and more resilient you. Our Build program runs in four week cycles to help your body master movements instead of doing something different every time you’re in. This helps achieve results and minimizes the risk of injury. The program is developed based on over a decade of experience and in conjunction with our in-house physical therapists. Our team of professional coaches and small class setting ensures you can get individual attention to make sure your form is correct and your questions are answered.
Looking to build lean muscle and increase metabolism? Looking to build a stronger range of motion? Looking to be more resilient and prevent injury throughout your life? Looking to reach new goals and build confidence? Bodymass is ready to help you get there.
Written by: Sam Pfister