Why strength exercises?
When one wishes to improve their health through physical activity, the first methods generally used are inflation, strength, endurance, and cardiovascular training. On the other hand, muscular strength is often overlooked. Yet it is no less important than the others. Here's why.
Let's start with a simple definition of muscle strength, today's topic. It is the ability of a muscle to exert force against resistance. Simply put, muscle strength is represented by the weight (resistance) an individual can lift.
When it comes to muscle strength and health, studies show that the more muscle an individual has, the lower the risk of death from all causes. Poor muscle strength is also associated with an increased risk of obesity, among other things, due to poor lifestyle habits such as a sedentary lifestyle, and thus a lower demand for muscle. Strength training is a different way of doing physical activity by building muscle mass, which can play a role in improving body composition and losing fat mass.
Developing muscle strength also helps develop the endurance of our muscles, tendons, and bones under heavy loads. Lifting heavy weights puts stress on these structures and they must adapt to handle them. By strengthening the muscles, tendons, and bones and becoming more resistant, she will be able to handle the new stress brought on by strength training. Of course, talking about stress can lead us to fear injuries. In fact, when supervised by a professional, strength training is just as safe as other forms of training, but we'll get to that later.
Conditioning the structures is especially important for older adults, who are at risk of developing osteoporosis, osteoporosis, or even falls. Being a syndrome characterized by low muscle density, osteoporosis, on the other hand, represents a loss of bone density. Both are related to aging and especially a sedentary lifestyle. Thus, strength exercises will stimulate the regeneration of muscles and bones, which will prevent the negative effects of muscular dystrophy and osteoporosis. From a more
practical point of view, prevention of sarcopenia and osteoporosis would prevent falls and/or fall-related complications. In fact, many falls can be avoided if an elderly person has the strength to compensate for their loss of balance. The ability to move quickly and thus contract muscles forcefully must be maintained through strength training. In the event of a fall, active muscle mass will allow a person to cushion the fall and good bone density may help prevent a fracture.
We know that strength training also develops the central and peripheral nervous systems, which will have a direct impact on the synchronization of muscle fibers and muscle coordination between them. Since training injuries can result from muscle imbalance and/or lack of coordination, nervous system training will play an important role in injury prevention. In short, with stronger structures and a more efficient nervous system, the risks of training-related injuries are reduced. Then it remains to have a good training technique and good posture. These last points will be provided by your kinesiologist who is there to guide you in your training.
How can I measure whether I am strong?
An individual's total muscular strength can be measured, among other things, by what is called grip strength. What is it ? This is the measurement, taken with a manual dynamometer, of the maximum voluntary force of the hand. It's like a big handle that you have to squeeze as hard as possible. You will target the result obtained using the test as the individual is compared to men's and women's criteria.
What can we learn from the result of a person's grip strength? Studies show that grip strength is useful in determining the risks of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. In short, who would have thought that the strength of your hands could say so much about your health?
How do you develop muscle strength?
Now that we know why developing muscle strength is so important, how do we get there?
The easiest and most common way to build strength is 5 x 5. That is, 5 sets of 5 repetitions of the exercise, that is, with a fairly high load. As for the choice of exercise, we want to bet on the so-called "multi-joint" movements, that is, that require more than one joint and work several muscle groups. For example, the squat, the deadlift, the bench press, the shoulder press and the military press.
Since the lifted load is usually higher when working hard, we want to leave enough time for the muscles used and the nervous system to recover between sets. This is why it is not uncommon to take 3-5 minutes of rest after one set of heavy squats, for example. As for rest between workouts, you want to take at least two days before working out the same muscle group again. Always with the aim of allowing the used muscles and nervous system to recover.
In short, although 5×5 is easy to apply in a workout, the general rule of thumb for working hard is to lift heavy loads for a small number of repetitions (less than 6 times) and give our body enough rest in order to recover effectively.
If this still sounds intimidating to you, feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our kinesiologists, who will be able to guide you on your start to strength in a safe and effective manner.