Strength training is gaining popularity in the fitness world and for people involved in building muscle fast. Also known as resistance training, strength training is basically any exercise that requires muscular contraction with weights or without weights for instance, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, bicep curls, triceps extension, bench press and squats are some ideal examples. Strength training solicit your muscle fibers and enable you to gain muscle mass provided you couple your training with a solid nutrition rich in protein. But what about those weight loss enthusiasts? Is strength training good for losing weight? You bet it is.
One of the fallacies I often noticed in weight loss adherents is the typical endless cardio workout and only that. Some people are adamant to strength training exercises as they fear of getting a too bulky muscular physique like bodybuilders. I don’t want to burst your bubble but this can’t be further from the truth. Don’t worry you won’t get 18 inch arms simply by performing a few bicep curls or chin-ups. In fact, adding inches to your arms can take years where you should drastically increase your calorie intake and perform progressive strength training.
The key to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume so strength training won’t play any negative role in your goals but will tone your muscles instead. While cardio will play an important role for weight loss, adding strength training in your workout routine can in fact yield even more benefits.
One primary reason why strength training is recommended for losing weight is muscles stimulate your metabolic rate. It’s a proven theory, muscles enhance your metabolism and release your fat-burning hormones. Your metabolic rate is the speed at which your body processes food for energy. A faster metabolism gives a better digestion and facilitates the absorption of nutrients making you less prone for fat storage as compared to a sluggish metabolism. A more active metabolism also improves your basal metabolic rate(BMR) which is the daily minimum amount of calories your body burns for energy even when inactive.
Apart from weight loss, strength training provides numerous health benefits like strengthening your heart, preventing arthritis and joint problems, improving bone density, boosting your energy levels, enhancing your mood, improving posture and balance and preventing type 2 diabetes.
If you want to accelerate your weight loss results, perform high intensity interval strength training as the latter burns more calories. This can be done by doing supersets for instance if you just performed a set of 15-20 push-ups, immediately perform a set of 5-10 pull-ups. There is no need to rest because you’re performing a different exercise of opposing muscle groups. If you do rest, only allow 20 seconds then perform another set of the same exercise. Performing strength training 2-3 times per week is enough, don’t forget to have a proper nutrition in place and adequate rest as well.
The great thing about strength training is you don’t necessarily need a gym membership. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, dips, squats, lunges, pull-ups, chin-ups don’t really need any fancy equipment and can be performed at the comfort of your home.
Jean Lam is a strength training addict and his favorite exercises are push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups and dips. He enjoys writing articles on how to lose weight at home, bodybuilding, health, fitness, nutrition and supplements.