What people imagine when they hear the term ‘strength training’ might give Arnie Schwarzenegger vibes, but it isn’t all holding muscle poses and protein shakes. We’re here to talk a little bit more about the different types of strength training, the difference between strength and weight training, and why including it in your weekly workouts is a quicker way to your ultimate fitness goals than cardio alone.
People ask for quicker ways to lose weight all the time, or tips on how to achieve toning – many of these people have limited or missing knowledge of strength training and what it can do to help step their routines up – moving them towards their goals more effectively. A Lot of that is hesitation around what strength training is- mistaking it for the type of exercise that is designed for those wanting to bulk. We’re here to explain a little more about how including it in your exercise regime can help.
What is strength training?
Strength training is a way to use weights, resistance and your body weight to burn calories and build body mass. It can involve static weights, free weights, your body weight and resistance moves, TRX bands and battle ropes. Yes, bodybuilders do also use “strength training”, but the approach is hugely different.
For a start, they follow a strict eating schedule and lift heavier weights, with a range of repetition between just 1-5 reps at the heaviest weight.
Why it’s worth including it in your workout
Cardio is a great way to support heart health and weight loss, but weight and strength training can also be great fat burners – defining muscle whilst you work out. That doesn’t mean to say there isn’t room for both cardio and strength training in your plan, or that strength training is going to have you ready for the national bodybuilding expo anytime soon! As with most things to do with fitness, nutrition IS KEY. The amount you need to eat as a bodybuilder differs massively from that of someone using the range of weights in the gym for general well-being. Not only that, but the number of repetitions and the heaviness of the weights you use all have an impact on the outcome of your body.
Typically when using weights as a form of strength training you would have more reps of a lighter weight than someone focusing on the heavy end of the scale, trying to reach their highest strength and weight tolerance for competition or endurance.
The benefits for you are huge! It can help to improve your posture, speed up your weight loss, and burn more calories once you’ve turned that fat to muscle, at a resting rate than other body tissue can, following a cardio workout.
What you need to remember:
Weight training is hypertrophy- meaning its focus is to develop your muscles. Of course, you will build some muscle mass, but women will not gain muscle at the rate of a male because they do not produce testosterone at the same rate.
Using a mix of strength training exercises alongside cardio can help you to reach your goals at a faster rate. Why not try one of these options: