A lot of people think of strength training in terms of “heavy weight” and “people who want big flashy muscles”. Oftentimes, people think you have to lift extremely heavy weights to participate in “strength training”. However, there may be some misunderstandings about strength training that lead to believing strength training is different than what it actually is. In doing so, people also misunderstand some of the key benefits of strength training.
As you’ll find, strength training isn’t reserved for “the Spartans of society”. It definitely isn’t just lifting a bunch of heavy weight. Strength training benefits extend far beyond the weight room and extend into helping people live better lives.
What is Strength Training
People normally associate strength training with lifting heavy weights and focusing on major (compound) muscle groups. However, really, strength training can encompass training programs that involve any sort of added resistance to an exercise.
When you look at strength training across different sports, it takes many different forms. For example, as a track athlete, pushing a weight sled, running with a vest on, running uphill, or doing anything really that isn’t running on flat ground can be considered a form of strength training. Another example is, baseball players will practice swinging bats that are heavier and lighter than standard bats used in games.
The reason they do this is because it helps them train for more power behind their swing and it can also help increase the bat velocity when swinging.
Strength Training and the Mind
Many people think that strength training only benefits your muscles. However, improved cognitive function is one of the major strength training benefits. For anyone who has given their shot at strength training then you know that throughout the course of a strength training program, typically you are required to exert more effort, more frequently as the program progresses. Each workout is challenging and unique in its own way.
In this sense, strength training requires deep discipline to accomplish physical benefit. It does so in many different ways.
Developing the Ability to get into Focused Mindset
You have to consistently schedule time to get to the gym and workout. This alone is a great habit to get into. However, you also have to take the time to get yourself into a focused mindset in order to take full advantage of the workout at hand. This can help you train yourself to get into a focused mindset, quicker.
Teaches you to Push Your Boundaries
An additional way it helps improve discipline is, if you want to get stronger and healthier each workout, you have to push your boundaries each time. As a result, getting used to pushing your comfort levels beyond what they once were.
The Mind-Muscle Connection
When you train with weights, one of the most recommended aspects of weight training is to focus on the feeling of contracting the muscle. For example, if you are doing bicep curls, focus on contracting the bicep muscle rather than simply lifting the weight.
When you train this thought pattern into your mind when lifting weights or using resistance training exercises, your brain calls more muscle fibers to complete the lift at hand. Subsequently, this helps your body’s ability to recruit more muscle fibers as you lift in the future. The better you get at this, the more you will be able to lift and the stronger you will become.
Learning By Doing
It is common in strength training to completely fail during an exercise. Whether you’re failing because the weight was too heavy, you were trying a new exercise, or you were intentionally training until failure, it’s a common aspect of weight training.
Think of the concept of discovering a new personal best in a lift? The only way to truly know your personal best is to go heavier in weight (safely) until you fail. Failing is literally a part of accomplishment in weight training.
Once you’ve figured out your personal best, then it’s time to devise a game plan so that you can better yourself. Now what happens when you fail to beat your personal best after training to beat it? Do you just say “oh that’s my max forever then”? No! You take a look at where you went wrong, make some adjustments to your training and keep pushing.
But how does this apply to our daily lives? When you think about it, when was the last time you tried something new and failed? Did you walk away and quit or did you keep trying? I hope the answer is you kept trying. If you struggle with discouragement, I’d highly suggest giving strength training a go.
Strength training teaches you how to approach discouragement with a positive, solution oriented mindset. It can also build your personal confidence. Not only in your health but also in your confidence when attempting to accomplish difficult tasks. This is a key aspect in self-care.
One thing you learn when strength training is, results come with patience and consistency. If you step into a gym, pick up some weights and expect results immediately, you will be disappointed. While there is such a thing as beginner gains, that doesn’t last two long and is still slow progress.
Really, when you look at those who are extremely successful in putting on muscle consistently, it’s because they approach it from a patient, consistent, and curious mindset. They are always trying to learn what they can do better and patiently put in the work that they know will drive results.
Weight training helps you sit back and take a look at the bigger picture. While you may not be jumping 20 lbs in your lifts each time, you understand it is certainly possible to do so over time, with the right approach.
When considering all of the above, you realize what we are describing is work ethic. When you take into account working consistently and patiently, while failing and getting back up, you realize it develops a strong work ethic.
Strength training benefits your work ethic through the following:
- It teaches you how to fail.
- You learn how to take a solution-oriented approach to failure and embrace it.
- Taking a calculated approach to strength training is a must. Thus, teaching you how to act with intention throughout your daily life.
- You begin to expand your comfort zone and you get comfortable with being uncomfortable (how are you going to get under that 315lb bar otherwise? )
At the end of the day, you learn valuable skills that can easily extend outside of the gym. However, it will only help you as much as you allow it to help.
Need Help Realizing Strength Training Benefits?
Not sure where to start in making the most of these benefits? A personal trainer can help develop a plan so that you can better realize these strength training benefits. Find the right personal trainer for you by reading this tips or head directly over to FindTrainGain and find yourself a personal trainer. With choices in online training and in person, you’ll be able to find a trainer that can help you not only take steps forward in the gym, but also outside of the gym.