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What is Strength Training & Why is it Important?

Strength training may seem pretty understandable to some, but what truly is it? Per the International Sports Sciences Association, Strength is defined as: the ability to contract the muscles with maximum force, given constraints stemming from the following:

  1. Structural/anatomical factors

  2. Physiological/biochemical factors

  3. Psychoneural/psychosocial factors

  4. External/environmental factors

So why is that important to you? Firstly, strength training is an amazing fitness regiment that can improve many parts of the body. "A lack of muscular strength [efforts] in conjunction with a decrease in bone density with increase in age, are health concerns of the general population" (Issa, 186). The body is a machine, therefore, it needs to be put to work to work properly. Thus, a strength component in your workout can be extremely beneficial in assisting your goals and overall health.

How can you start introducing strength in your fitness journey? For specifically strength training, slow and steady is the best way to go to create a stronger base and here's why: limit strength. Limit strength is "the amount of musculoskeletal force you can generate for one all-out effort. It is your athletic “foundation.” All of your muscles should have a good level of limit strength. It is like building your house on a rock instead of in the sand" (Issa, 187). So how can you increase your limit strength to continue building your house? There are 3 important ways outlined in building and maintaining strength:

  1. Improving Acceleration: this is achieved by improving explosive strength (ability to turn on as many muscle fibers as possible and leave them on). A great form of exercise to improve acceleration are: plyometric exercises. Plyometrics are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing both speed and power. For example: body weight jump squats.

  2. Improving Starting Strength: this is achieved by increasing compensatory acceleration training (CAT): this is a lifting technique used to develop explosive strength whereby you move the bar as leverage improves through the movement through eccentric exercises. Some great ideas to incorporate into starting strength are: pause movements. A movement that is very popularized in the strength world are pause squats where the focus is on the descend of the movement.

  3. Improving Rest Time: this is achieved by increasing resting periods between working sets of a workout. The goal here is to give your muscles enough time between sets to replenish nutrients that will help fuel your muscles to contract. It is recommended that between working sets, 2-5 minutes will be enough time for your body to re-fuel. Improving rest time and recovery time is also known to help prevent DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) which is a type of exercise-induced fatigue that increases soreness and stiffness experienced in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise.

Thanks for taking time for your health today! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @EnergizingBB for the latest updates in blogs/recipes/videos/workouts/store & more!

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