The Avenue Guide to Strength Training

Strength training can be for anyone, whether you're thinking about signing up for a 10k run, a program of weight loss or just for those wishing to lead a healthier life. Increasing strength will help you achieve all these goals and more.

When we talk about strength building, it should not be directly associated with just weightlifting, gym workouts to bulk up muscle mass and general bodybuilding programs – it is more about improving functional strength.

What is Functional Strength?
The connective tissues, bones and muscles all work in tandem when you push, pull, pick up an object or engage in a physical sport. Moreover, the central nervous system is even called into arms as it recruits the muscles you need to work effectively.

The Benefits of Strength Training
There are no myths or opinions here. Strength training is proven to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve sensitivity of insulin (good for sufferers of diabetes)
  • Increase glucose metabolism (great for burning fat while you sleep)
  • Decreases risk of strokes and heart attacks
  • Increases bone density and minerals (great for protecting against injuries during falls or combat sports)
  • Slows down the onset of osteoporosis and arthritis in older people
  • Reduces feelings of anxiety, stress and subdues chronic fatigue (you will not feel tired all the time)
  • Boosts self-esteem (occurs naturally as you look and feel younger)

Methods of Strength Training
Cardiovascular exercise has long been cited as the go-to solution to lose weight and get fit. However, resistance training and strength-improving exercises will still reduce fat and increase lean mass.

4 Main Methods of Strength Training

  • Bodyweight manoeuvres
  • Free weights
  • Gym apparatus and machines
  • Resistance bands

Bodyweight Moves: These are simple exercises you can do anywhere. Burpees, mountain climbs, push-up, squats or sit-ups.
Free Weights: Barbells and dumbbells are the most commonly used.
Machines: There are foot plates to increase leg muscles, pull-down bars to improve the muscle tone of shoulders and biceps, and so much more.
Resistance Bands: These are like big elastic bands which allow for a full range of motion. They come in a variety of resistances to mimic increasing weight.

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