How Strength Training Helps to Prevent Disease
Over the last thirty years the medical community has suggested cardiometabolic conditioning as an optimal way to stay healthy. This has fueled the notion that most people associate strength training with bodybuilding or athletics. But what if strength training proved to be the number one exercise choice in helping prevent long-term disease?
A 2017 study from the University of Sydney showed that simply adding some form of training to promote muscular strength might be as important for health as cardiometabolic activities.
Benefits of Strength Training
The World Health Organization offers physical activity guidelines for adults. In these guidelines, the WHO recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, along with two days of muscle-strengthening activities. There are various overall benefits of strength training including:
- Stronger bones: Strength training increases bone density, which can help to reduce the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
- Faster metabolism: The more muscle mass you have, the more calories and carbohydrates you can burn.
- Increased muscle mass: Muscle mass can decrease with age, but by continuing to strength train you can avoid this loss.
- Joint flexibility: Having flexible joints means that you may reduce symptoms of arthritis.
How Strength Training Prevents Disease
Although the benefits of strength training have been apparent for many years, the strength training study in Sydney was the first examination of morality in conjunction. By comparing mortality outcomes of people who practiced different forms of exercises, it was found that there was a “23 percent reduction in risk of premature death”. Additionally, those who did strength-based exercises also had a “31 percent reduction in cancer-related death.”
These findings not only mean that strength training can boost your metabolism and make you look good in your clothes, but it can also help you to battle cancer!
It is good to take into account another aspect of this study, and that is the level at which the average household is inactive. Based on aerobic activity alone, when taking the WHO’s strength-based guidelines into account, “less than 19 percent of Australians do the recommended amount of strength-based exercise.”
Adding Strength Training into Your Routine
The findings of this study promotes strength training and how it can impact long-term health. Even using your body weight has been shown to be effective, heavy weights are not always a necessity.
Consider adding the following exercises to your weekly routine.
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press
3 sets X 10-15 reps
- Start by holding your Axle Barbell with a weight that you feel comfortable with lifting up and over your head.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your knees bent.
- Hold the bar on your upper chest, palms facing forward.
- Your hands should be a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Press the bar directly overhead.
- Do not allow your hips to shift during the motion.
- Bring the barbell down. That is 1 rep.
3 sets X 60 seconds
These can be done with or without a barbell, but if you have an Axle Barbell, it can be helpful (and may even make it a bit easier).
- With your barbell on the floor, jump down and place your hands on the bar, and your toes on the ground, almost in a plank position
- Place your right foot close to your right hand, but keep your left leg behind you.
- Quickly switch your legs and keep your arms on the barbell.
- Switch your legs back and forth, continuing to put each foot close to the corresponding hand.
3 sets X 10 reps
- Start by loading your Axle Barbell up with a good amount of weight to where you feel some resistance when you hold it.
- Hold the bar with your hands facing down.
- Grab the barbell a bit wider than shoulder-width apart
- Allow the barbell to hang with your arms straight.
- Hold your core tight, and bend over slightly at a 90-degree angle.
- Squeeze your shoulders together to row the weight up until to your sternum.
- Lower the barbell back down. That is 1 rep.
Barbell Bicep Curl
3 sets X 20 reps
- Your Axle barbell should be loaded to where it feels comfortable to hold with both hands.
- To perform barbell curls, tall with your chest up and core braced.
- Hold the barbell with both hands and an underhand grip, resting just outside of your hips.
- Keeping your chest up move the barbel up by raising your hands. That is one rep.
- Your biceps should be engaged.
- Keep your elbows tight to your sides the entire time, and feel the squeeze in your biceps.
- Experiment with heavier weight for 10 reps, and lighter weight for 20 reps to see which makes you feel most comfortable.
Side Lunges with Barbell
3 sets X 10 reps each leg
- Stand with your legs under your hips.
- Hold a barbell on top of your back and neck.
- Step your right leg out to the side and then lower your body while you bend your knee.
- You should keep your left leg straight while keeping your chest straight.
- Go back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Want to Incorporate More Strength Training into Your Routine?
Strength training not only allows you to eat more while slimming down, but it provides the foundation for a healthy life. Consider adding in a few strength training exercises to your routine that will elongate your life and make you feel great too.
For more exercises and ideas on how to incorporate strength training into your weekly routine, download the Axle App for both iPhone and Android in the Apple Store or Google Play Store.