How to Get Stronger: Strength Training & Weight Training 101

Strength Training 101

Let’s be real: most cardio workouts are going to help you lose fat, but they won’t help you look stronger. Getting stronger is one of the best ways to change your body and make it more resilient to injury as well as less prone to strains, pulls, and tears.

Training your strength and not just your cardiovascular conditioning will also reduce the risk of falling or getting weaker as you age.

In this article, we’ll explore why that is true and give you a complete roadmap on how to get stronger through strength training and weight training.

What Is Strength Training?

When we talk about strength training, we’re talking about any exercise that works the muscles in your body. The goal of strength training is to push your muscles past their current capacity, which will help them grow in size and strength.

The best way to think about strength training: imagine you have a clothesline full of clean laundry. To get the laundry off of the clothesline, you have two options: either you pull the clothes down (your muscles contracting), or you pull the clothes up (your muscles lengthening).

When you’re strength training, you’re trying to get your muscles to push against each other, forcing them to actually grow in size. This will happen when you’re lifting heavier weights with fewer repetitions than what you would do for cardiovascular exercise.

Why is strength training so important?

When we think about getting stronger, most of us automatically jump to images of strong, bulky men. But that’s not the only thing strength training is good for. Strength training is incredibly important, especially as we get older.

Here’s why:

Strong Muscles = Stronger Bones

Stronger muscles are also stronger bones. This is good, because as you age, the risk of fractures (breaking a bone) increases.

Stronger Joints

Stronger muscles also mean stronger joints. Stronger joints mean you’re less likely to suffer from arthritis, joint pain, and other conditions that cause pain and stiffness in joints.

Less Risk of Injury

Stronger muscles and joints mean you’re less likely to suffer from injuries like strains or sprains.

Improved Heart Health

Stronger muscles are better for your heart health. There’s a connection between your heart and muscles: stronger muscles mean less strain on your heart.

Better Brain Health

Stronger muscles aren’t just good for your body—they’re good for your brain, too! Stronger muscles have been shown to improve balance, lower your risk for falls, and even increase cognitive function.

The Importance of Weight Training

Weight lifting, or strength training, is an awesome way to get stronger, but there are a few things you need to know first. If you’re new to strength training and would like to know more about this type of workout, keep reading.

You Need to Focus on the Big Picture

When you’re first starting out with strength training, it’s easy to get caught up in numbers. You might be wondering how much weight you should be lifting, or how many sets and reps you need to perform. But before you get too focused on specific numbers, it’s important that you take a step back and think about the big picture.

It Takes Time

Strength training isn’t something that happens overnight. Like with most things in life, it takes time to see the results you’re looking for. Be patient with yourself and focus on the long-term rather than the short-term.

It’s All About Repetition

The best thing you can do when strength training is to focus on repetition. If you’re new to strength training, make sure to focus on proper form and repetition before you start adding weight.

How to get stronger with weight training

Weight lifting actually makes you stronger by causing microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. When you lift weights, you need to push yourself beyond what you’re currently capable of. This means lifting heavier than you would for a cardio workout.

Let’s say you’re doing bicep curls to work on your arm strength. For this workout, you would want to keep the weight light and focus on doing as many reps as possible. You would want to do 10-15 reps.

With strength training, you want to keep the weight heavier and do fewer reps.

As a general rule, you will want to aim to lift between 4 and 8 reps with a weight that is challenging enough to make it difficult to complete the desired number of reps. If you’re struggling to lift a certain weight, then it’s too heavy.

If you can lift the weight with ease, it’s too light.

How to get stronger with resistance band training

Resistance bands are a great addition to any workout routine. Not only are they an affordable alternative to purchasing weights, but they also provide you with many different ways to get a good strength training workout.

They come in many different colors and resistances, allowing you to tailor your workouts based on your fitness goals.

When it comes to strength training with resistance bands, the general rule of thumb is to challenge yourself to complete more reps than you would on a regular weightlifting day. This will help you build muscle and improve your strength and endurance.

If you’re new to strength training, start with a light resistance band and challenge yourself to complete 15-20 reps per exercise.

You can increase the difficulty of your strength training workouts by choosing a heavier band or increasing the number of reps you are attempting.

Conclusion

Getting stronger isn’t just for the guys lifting weights in the gym. It’s a fitness goal that can be achieved by people of all fitness levels, ages, and genders.

Strength training may not be as glamorous as running a marathon or completing an Ironman, but it’s equally as beneficial and important for overall health.

If you’re looking to get stronger, there are tons of different ways you can incorporate strength training into your workout routine. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s something for everyone when it comes to strength training.