by Blaine Callaway
I have been fascinated with the development of strength for years now. The benefits of strength training just appealed to me from the aesthetics piece growing up. I just wanted to build muscle and be lean picturing myself like Wolverine or Batman. You know like most young guys I wanted to be a superhero. I guess on some level I still want to help save the world.
As I progressed though, I noticed that the stronger I got, the easier everything else became. I could eat more, and my body started naturally looking more athletic. Not only that, my confidence went up, I could run faster and lift heavy “stuff”. Whenever I wanted to do anything, my body could handle the demands.
For me, strength training transformed my entire life. Now, some of you reading this may not have lifted weights before, and that’s just fine. Most people don’t have strength goals. In fact, you may be a bit intimated just thinking about it. You may imagine people picking stuff up and tearing muscles or hurting joints. Or those bodybuilders throwing things around making silly grunting noises (FYI Not a requirement)
I want you to know that the benefits of strength training aren’t just for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and cross fitters. Strength training is for everyone. The following is a list of strength training benefits for the normal person.
One reason I refer to it as training is that most of these require you to progressively get stronger. You will see a lot of people going to the gym and doing the same workouts with the same weights. Don’t do this…if you are going to spend the time in the gym, get as strong as possible for you.
1. Strength Training Makes You Awesome at Everything
Strength is the foundation for everything else. You can’t have balance without strength, endurance without strength, power without strength. The greater your foundation, the greater potential to improve all of the others.
I recommend increasing your physical capacity as much as possible and maintain as possible. Most women could care less about deadlifting more than their body weight. That’s too bad. The stronger they are, the longer they will be able to do everything they want to in life.
2. Makes You Look Great Naked
Not sure what else needs to be said here. No, strength training for women will not make you look like a man. That would be extremely difficult to do without assistance from drugs.
3. Proper Strength Training Helps Control Chronic Pain
Another benefit of strength training is that when done correctly, it can help control chronic pain. If it’s precise enough, it can even help to reverse chronic pain.
4. Strength is Correlated with Decreasing Mortality Risk from all Causes
A study on muscular strength showed that the stronger a person was, the less likely they were to die from accidents, all forms of cancers, and disease. The stronger you become, the more you can recover. It gives you reserve strength for when you need it.
I wasn’t sure this should count in anti-aging, but I assumed if you are less like to die that you have a higher chance of living longer.
5. Prevents and Reverses Muscle Weakness Associated with Aging
Most people believe that your body has to start decline at a certain point. Sure, maybe at some point, but strength training has been shown to prevent age-related muscle loss. And for people who have never really trained, reverse it. (Web Md)
I’ve seen people become the strongest in their life in their 60’s. I alluded to this earlier, but get strong before it’s too late. If a person can deadlift 200 lbs. in their 60’s and keeps training, even if over the rest of her life they lose 50% they can still pick up 100 pounds. That means someone else most likely won’t need to help lift you out of bed as you get older.
6. Skeletal Weakness
Strength training strengthens your bones. I have even seen cases where people have reversed their osteoporosis through strength training. You need to have vertical loading on the skeletal system. Some of the best low impact ways to do this are squats, deadlifts, and overhead press. If you want strong bones, strength training is a must.
7. Increased Energy
Strength training releases testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone. As you age, these will start to decline. Strength training can reverse this.
8. Prevents Alzheimer’s and Dementia
When you train with weights, your brain is continuously learning and adapting. The more your brain learns and grows the less likely you will lose your mind.
9. Maintains Muscle During Fat Loss
Studies show that people who strength train lose more fat than those who just do cardio or diet when weight loss is the same. When you only diet and do cardio, part of your weight loss is muscle loss.
10. Increases Metabolism for Up to 72 Hours After Exercise
Another benefit of strength training is the ability to boost your metabolism for days after training. It’s possible to burn up to 100 extra calories per day for three days following a session. You just don’t get that with cardio or aerobics.
11. Helps Maintain Weight loss
Women who continued strength training 3x’s a week are more likely to maintain their weight loss than women who don’t.
Strength training is one of my favorite self-development tools. There are so many life lessons to be learned that growth from strength training that it’s more about who you become than what you can lift.
12. Builds Belief in Yourself
To get good at strength training, you have to keep pushing beyond what you know is possible. Over time, you look forward to the challenge and effort. Each time you hit a new PR, you find a new level and expand what you believe is possible for you. I love when women lift weights that they don’t even think they could move and the power they feel inside afterwards.
13. Cultivates Discipline and Consistency
One of the most important things you can do to create freedom in your life is to find more discipline. Discipline in any area allows you to direct that area freely. The good news is it carries over to other areas. People who train regularly are more likely to quit smoking, eat better, and even wash the dishes before the day is done.
14. Changes Your State
Strength training starts to make you feel more powerful and stronger. Your body will release endorphins, and you will feel better emotionally. The better your state, the better your decisions. Do you make your best decisions when you feel lousy or feel fantastic?
15. Teaches You That Being Uncomfortable Is Where the Growth Happens
As in life, you are only growing when you are uncomfortable. If you stop when the weights get heavy or challenge you, you will never get better. The more you can keep going even when the weights or life becomes challenging the stronger you become inside.
General Fitness and Life
16. You Run Faster
Runners who replaced 2 of their weekly runs with strength training were able to improve their race times in distance events. They could run less, strength train more, and improve.
17. Jump High
As I said in the beginning if you want to have power. If your goal is to be more jump better, your goal should be to reach a 2x’s your body weight in the deadlift according to Dan John before working on jump specific training. He also recommends marathoners hitting that same goal of 2x’s your bodyweight in the deadlift.
18. Makes You Smarter
Yes, general exercise is great for brain health, but strength training specifically improves cognitive function especially in aging adults.
19. Improves Productivity
Allow you to enhance your focus and improves the density of the prefrontal cortex. When the weights get heavy, everything around you must shut off or the lift doesn’t happen. This level of focus will allow you to knock out tasks easily at work and home.
20. Boosts Self Esteem
Not only do you feel stronger physically, but the chemicals released from strength training will raise your self-esteem.
21. 1 Person Moving Company
One of my female clients said to me “I thought you said once I got stronger, life would get easier?” I said it does. She quickly told me it doesn’t. Now that she’s stronger, her husband makes her help with all yard work and moving furniture.
Most people are unsatisfied with their life on some level. Strength training has always been an outlet for me to help me live the life I want. It’s a must for me to have the quality of life that I want in all areas.
Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders, powerlifters, or young people. It’s for all people who want to live a full and happy life. It’s for normal people just like you who want to play with their kids and be able to enjoy their favorite hobbies. Strength training is for everyone.