Strength train less and gain more?
It’s not always easy to get yourself to the gym. But, we’re probably not the first to inform you that there are loads of reasons to hit the weights. Strength training has numerous benefits which can improve physical performance, movement control, walking speed, cognitive abilities, and self-esteem. Not to mention the fact that you will enjoy better cardiovascular health and reduced blood pressure. So, just how many times a week do you have to get in the weight room to see real results?
‘Once is enough for me’
If you’re someone who only lifts weights once a week then you might just be in luck. Research suggests that once-weekly strength training can be just as effective for improving muscle strength as a more rigorous schedule. A small study which followed two groups of adults over 60 found that substantial strength gains can be gained from less frequent activity.
If you’re looking to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger then you’re obviously going to have to visit the gym a little more often. But, for us regular folks, it’s worth noting that strength training isn’t always about getting super-huge biceps. Lifting weights can help your muscles get stronger, improve your balance and preserve your fast-twitch muscle fibres, which allow your muscles to contract faster – all of which can see you performing more effectively on the sports field and helping you exercise more efficiently, in general.
And that’s not all, strength training also increases endurance by boosting your lactate threshold – the amount of time it takes for your muscles to fatigue. Basically, this means that for every time you lift weights, your pain barrier increases a little bit meaning that you can gradually increase the amount you exercise and therefore improve your results.
If you’re planning to run a marathon or endurance race such as the Ironman triathlon strength training one or two times per week helps the body handle the repetitive stress of movements like running, cycling and swimming. If you’re just looking to shake off a sedentary lifestyle then strength training once or twice a week can be enough to redress the balance.
Two-a-week is perfect
Not all fitness professionals are in agreement that one strength training session per week is enough. There are benefits to working out more regularly, namely the fact that when your body will better adapt to your new regime and you’ll be less sore.
Luckily for you, at a minimum, each session needs to be just 15 minutes until you see results. In this time, you can squeeze in a variety of compound exercises that target different muscle groups (both upper and lower body) as a circuit. Complete two sets of 10 reps for each exercise and you should start seeing results.
When you strength train, it’s good to keep in mind that the higher the resistance the more muscle you will build. This means that you need to be lifting weights that are appropriate to your level if you want the best results. While under-training will hinder your progression, overtraining (i.e. lifting weights which are too heavy for you) can actually have the same effect. Regardless, you must always give your body enough time to recover.
The final rep
A little can add up to a lot and doing something is better than nothing. By doing weight training just once or twice a week, you will still improve your fitness. And, even short sessions regularly might motivate you to start working out more often. If you’re finding it a challenge to motivate yourself then you can visit Fitmo to find a personal trainer who’ll make sure you that you never miss a strength training session. So, our advice is, get yourself down the weight room ASAP – you never know where it might take you!
By: The Fitmo Team
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