The Importance of Strength Training

Whilst fitness disciples (and the media) often focus on cardiovascular training (eg cycling, running etc.), numerous studies have shown the importance of developing and maintaining strength for quality of life, longevity and avoiding chronic disease.

Some researchers even suggest that strength training is similar to saving into a pension, as when we get older the lean muscle mass we have built will protect us from chronic illness and frailty that often accompanies aging.

The development of muscular strength and endurance has been linked to reduced risk of CV disease, dementia, diabetes/metabolic syndrome and even cancer (the four great threats as we age).

By building muscle mass and strength we improve metabolism and reduce inflammation in the body.  Strength training is also a very effective way of managing weight.

There is increasing evidence that we should focus on the following elements in our strength workouts –

  • Grip Strength

Any exercises that work the upper limb up to and including the shoulder and upper back are useful, eg bicep curls, push ups

  • Balancing both Concentric and Eccentric movements in our workouts

Concentric exercise – movements where the muscle shortens as it contracts (lifting a weight).  Eccentric exercise – movements where the muscle lengthens as it contracts (putting a weight down).

  • Pulling Exercises

Exercises could include rowing, pull ups, deadlift and clean

  • Hip Hinging Exercises

These are often whole body exercises and include deadlifts, squats and lunges