Updated: May 19
We go for personal training for physical fitness. We go for knowledge about fitness and guidance to achieve fitness. But probably for most people, strength is the focus.
Why do you go for strength? Why do you need it?
We have two easy answers right away. First, if you are stronger, you can do more – carry your luggage more easily, lift heavy furniture, climb stairs faster (that takes endurance also). Second, if you are stronger, you look better – your muscles are bigger and shaped better and your skin is alive; you look healthy. You are pleased with yourself; it’s a bit of an ego satisfaction. Yet we don’t need to become like Mr. America or Charles Atlas. There is more to strength training than doing heavy lifting and looking good.
Think about the joints in your body, such as shoulder, hips, knees. We use them continuously without thinking about them. The shoulder joint is amazing in what it can do. It lets your arms move up and down, front to back, and side to side – all dimensions, through all degrees of the compass. The shoulder joint has a shallow socket that lets it do all of that.
That shallow socket and all the tendons and ligaments that connect the deltoid muscles to the shoulder joint and to each other is susceptible to damage. Often that damage can be repaired orthopedically. But isn’t it better to try to ward off the damage?
Knees are another joint that is susceptive to damage. We put so very much force and stress on it every day, not only by playing sports, but also in everyday living. Runners know that, and walkers, too, pounding on hard concrete sidewalks. 10,000 steps are good for you, but not so good for the complex joint that is your knees. The quadriceps and its three vastus muscles make your leg bend at the knee, working with tendons and ligaments, including the infamous anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
It is your muscles that make your joints work. Stronger deltoids means less stress on your
shoulder joint. Stronger quadriceps means less stress on your knee joint. Well-muscled connections to your joints absorb some of the forces that act on the joints and protect them from stress If your muscles are strong, the joints don’t have to take all the pounding.
Personal trainers know these muscles – how they work with the joints, how they are connected to the joints – and how to make them stronger.
Muscular strength comes from working the muscle in three different ways:
Lengthening the muscles by moving an object away from the body – stretching,
Shortening the muscle by moving an object closer to the body – contracting, and
Maintaining a fixed state of contraction by holding something still – isometrics.
That is what builds muscle tissue.
Use as much resistance as is prudent, use a range of motion that is prudent, and do as many repetitions as is prudent. What is prudent? An experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable personal trainer can provide an effective strength training program that is safe and effective.
How Strength Training Helps Your Health
Besides the well-touted (and frequently Instagrammed) benefit of adding tone and definition to your muscles, how does strength training help? Here are just a few of the many ways.
1. Strength Training Makes You Stronger and Fitter
2. Strength Training Protects Bone Health and Muscle Mass
3. Strength Training Helps Your Body Burn Calories Efficiently
4. Strength Training Helps Keep the Weight off for Good
5. Strength Training Helps You Develop Better Body Mechanics
6. Strength Training Can Help With Chronic Disease Management
7. Strength Training Boosts Energy Levels and Improves Your Mood
8. Strength Training Has Cardiovascular Health Benefits
By: Jon Ponce- Personal Trainer/Owner, Bench Gym Personal Training, Washington DC