Strength Training is arguably the best way to exercise with the exception of walking. The water can get a little muddy regarding how the body will respond, though. Many people have heard the myth lifting heavy will make you “bulky” or “too big.” This is low-key my number one biggest pet peeve with the exception of people not pushing their carts back to the cart carousel. But without me going off on a soapbox, let’s discuss why strength training is beneficial.
Muscle fiber types. Simply put, there are several muscle fiber types in the body. They all play the collective role of making you move, but some are better for endurance (low rep, high repetition) while others are better for explosiveness / strength (higher weight / intensity, lower repetitions). This is why a lot of people have set / rep schemes of 8-12 repetitions vs several dozen.
The fibers that are good for shorter bouts of movement are call “fast twitch” fibers. This is one reason (among several), why you’ll see sprinters have larger muscles than marathon / endurance cyclists. It’s simply how the muscle responds to the stimulus put on it.
The biggest stigma that comes with movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, or overhead press, is that people don’t want to get too big or bulky. Total transparency, I’ve been trying to get big and bulky for the better part of a decade, and I’m pretty sure I shrank a half an inch, but that’s another conversation. In the end, most people who strength train see things like a better body image, have less joint pain, and have a faster metabolism due to the increased muscle mass.
Breaking it Down
Decreased joint pain.
With a custom program based on posture and movement, you’re actually able to correct muscle imbalances maybe the consequence of your shoulder, hip, or low back hurting in the first place.
Increased Body Image
I think the most common phrase I’ve heard is that people don’t want to gain muscle, they just want to “tone.” From my standpoint, this could have a double meaning. What most people mean when they say this is that they want to look muscular, have rounded muscles, and a defined outer appearance. When you strength train, the stimulus you put on the muscle will slowly start to give you this type of look. Feeding them with enough protein will help keep them healthy and grow (see previous post on other benefits)
The more lean muscle you build, the more calories you will burn at rest via Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This simply means that the lean muscle will aid in your metabolism by simply needing more calories at rest to help sustain energy. The more lean muscle you have, the more of a “furnace” you will be. And because protein is one of the most satiating / hunger curving macronutrient, the more you eat, the more full you’ll feel, and the better chance of keeping that lean, muscular look you’ll have.