Resistance Training to Build Muscle
Mass, Raise Metabolic Rate & Lose Weight
Weight & Strength Training
For Permanent Weight Control
Strength/weight training is any exercise
that uses resistance - like, weights - to strengthen and condition the
musculo-skeletal system, thus improving muscle tone and endurance, and
boosting lean body mass. Strength/weight training includes, rowing, climbing
stairs, as well as exercises like pushups. "Strength-training"
is used as a general term synonymous with other common terms: "weightlifting"
and "resistance training."
Weight/Strength Training - Benefits
Strength Training raises Metabolic Rate
- Strength training increases the body's metabolic rate. This helps your
body to burn more calories throughout the day.
It increases and Restores Bone Density
- Inactivity and aging can lead to a decrease in bone density and brittleness.
Studies prove that consistent strength training can increase bone density
and prevent Osteoporosis.
Strength Training increases Lean Muscle
Mass, Physical Strength and Endurance - For example, adults who are sedentary
will experience an annual half-pound loss of muscle and half-percent reduction
in metabolic rate unless they begin some form of weight/strength or resistance
It helps Prevent Injuries - A wide variety
of sports-related or daily-life injuries can be prevented by strengthening
muscles and joints. Also, stronger and more resilient muscles improves
our balance, which means more comfortable living & fewer falls or
Strength Training Helps Reduce Heart Disease
Risk - Participation in a consistent strength-training program has a wide
variety of affiliated health benefits including decreased cholesterol
and lowered blood pressure.
Improves Quality of Life - Physical activity
keeps us alive and vibrant. Strength training ensures we are strong enough
to participate in aerobic activities, outdoor recreation, and sports.
Stronger muscles and joints can have a dramatic impact on posture and
leaner toned muscles tend to make everyone feel better about their appearance.
This leads to improved self-esteem and self-confidence.
Strength Training - Example of Benefits
Take a 160-pound man who has 20 percent
body fat - 32 pounds of fat weight and 128 pounds of lean body weight
(muscle, bones, organs, water, etc.) Suppose he follows an effective strength
training routine and replaces five pounds of body fat with five pounds
of muscle. At the end, he may still weigh 160 pounds, but his body fat
percentage is now 17 percent fat - with 27 pounds of fat weight and 133
pounds of lean body weight. So even though his total body weight remains
the same, his lean body mass has grown and his metabolism has improved,
giving him a firmer, leaner appearance.
Weight/Strength Training Study
University of Maryland researchers have
investigated how different groups of exercisers responded to weight/strength
This study included both "young"
(ages 20 to 30) and "old" adults (ages 65 to 75) who participated
in a 6-month supervised exercise program. All were healthy, but exercised
less than once every 2 weeks before the study began. Three times each
week, a trainer supervised the volunteers as they performed lower and
upper body exercises using hand weights and weight machines. In order
to keep it challenging, the amount of weight was increased over time.
Total body fat and muscle mass in the thigh were measured before and after
the exercise program. The volunteers were instructed not to change their
diet and activity habits during the study.
The participants did not lose weight or
body fat, but they did get stronger. Upper and lower body strength increased
significantly. As expected, initially, men had more muscle mass than women
and younger volunteers had more muscle than the elderly. However, after
the training period, all volunteers had a significant increase in muscle
Strength Training Exercising
As with all new exercises, begin slowly.
The exercises are repeated over time until they become comfortable. When
you are ready, you can intensify your workout by first adding sets of
repetitions and light weights and later by graduating to heavier weights.
Strength Training - Burns Calories
Regular physical activity burns a significant
amount of fat calories. If one of your aims is to lose weight, you may
therefore combine a less drastic reduction in your caloric intake with
an increase in your energy (calorie) expenditure by an efficient strength
training program. You don't have to rely simply on calorie-reduction in
order to achieve your weight loss goals.
Also, strength training has hidden benefits.
Many people find that exercise reduces their appetite and helps to develop
the type of lasting lifestyle change needed for permanent weight control.
Combine Strength Training with Aerobic
Combine your weight/strength-traing routine
with regular cardio-aerobic exercise. The National Institutes of Health
recommend 20-minute sessions of aerobic activity at least 3 times a week
for weight loss and advise that slow weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week
is best for healthy and lasting results.
Sources include: Muscle size responses
to strength training in young and older men and women. SM. Roth, FM. Ivey,
GF. Martel, et al., J Am Geriatr Soc , 2001, vol. 49, pp. 1428-1433