Strength training is also known as weight training or resistance training. Strength training uses exercises that isolate the muscles to contract under the tension of weights, body weight, or devices such as resistance bands. It should result in an increase in muscle power and muscle endurance, and may result in a growth of muscle mass.
More: Weight Training Guide for New Trainers
Health Benefits of Strength TrainingStrength training is an important part of a balanced exercise program. If you enjoy cardio exercise such as running, walking or biking, strength training helps balance muscle toning and development rather than just the muscles used in your favorite cardio exercise. Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which increases the metabolism as muscles burn more calories at rest than fat tissue.
More: Health Benefits of Strength Training
EquipmentYou can do strength training inexpensively with resistance bands and free weights, or you can get fancy with a home gym or fitness center equipment.
- Choosing and Using Resistance Bands
- 10 Inexpensive Pieces of Home Strength Training Gear
- How to Choose Home Exercise Equipment
Warming UpBefore the strength training portion of your workout, warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of light-intensity cardio exercise. Walking or jogging on a treadmill or circling the block a few times, riding an exercise bike, or marching in place will increase your heart rate to bring more warmth and oxygen to your muscles so they can work better.
Cooling Down and StretchingAfter your strength workout, cool down again with light cardio work and then do gentle stretching of the muscles you exercised to maintain flexibility.
Fueling and RefuelingMost strength training sessions are short enough that you won't need to use a sports drink or energy bar during the session. But you should have a healthy pre-exercise meal and then a healthy post-exercise meal that will provide the protein and carbs the body needs to fuel, refuel, and build its muscles.
More: Weight Trainer's Diet
Strength Training Workouts
- Basic Strength and Muscle Program: An all-round program for basic strength and muscle building.
- Basic Muscle Program: For anyone who wants to get muscled up for bodybuilding, personal development and body shaping purposes.
- Total Body Resistance Band Workout: This resistance band workout is for intermediate/advanced exercisers and includes basic moves for the entire body, focusing on endurance.