So why should you start a good strength training program? Aside from being able to lift a heavy object there are other benefits to following a programme aimed at increasing muscle size and strength.

So lets start with the more obvious benefits…

Be a better you

Your day to day activities will become easier, be it mowing the lawn, carrying the shopping in from the car in one trip or rearranging your furniture once you finished that feng shui book you got for Christmas. In short, a stronger you is a more useful you.

Burn more calories

You will burn more calories than you would with a cardio based programme. This is because you stop burning calories as soon as you stop stomping away on that treadmill, whereas with weightlifting you will continue to burn extra calories after you’ve hit the showers and got home in time for Eastenders.

Increase muscle mass

Why is this good? Well apart from the aesthetic benefits of carrying more muscle you will also be burning more calories as a result, this is because having extra muscle means your body will use calories at a greater rate than someone who has a lower muscle to fat ratio.

Slow down effects of ageing

With a good strength programme you’ll be staying active more than someone who doesn’t train, this in itself is proven to keep not only the body in better shape but also the mind as a person ages.

If you find yourself getting more injuries outside of the gym then lifting weights will also help lower your chances of injury. As we age, tendons, ligaments and bones can become weaker, muscles become smaller. This process can be slowed and even reversed to an extent through weight lifting, the stronger you become the less likely you are to get injured.

Fight depression and anxiety

Endorphins, endorphins everywhere! Exercise makes us feel good, even if you were dreading the gym before you got there its almost guaranteed you’ll feel better afterwards, this is because strength training will release endorphins throughout your body giving you that feel good factor!

Lower your chance of common diseases and conditions

Strength programmes decrease the chance of lower back pain, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and heart disease.

Get a better nights sleep

It has be shown that regular strength training can help you get a better nights sleep, so swap the herbal tea for deadlifts and start reaping the benefits!

Even with the benefits above, people are often intimidated or are reluctant to start a strength based programme. Concerns range from women not wanting to get too bulky, not wanting to get injured or don’t know the correct way to perform certain exercises

Fortunately for the women reading this article, you need not worry about getting bulky or gaining too much muscle, it simply wont happen and it definitely wont happen over night. You are not designed to gain excessive amounts of muscle naturally, do not be scared of weightlifting.

Injuries can occur if you try to go too heavy too soon, or don’t know the correct way to perform an exercise, but that’s OK, none of us walked in to a gym knowing or having perfect form on every exercise, start light, practice makes perfect, don’t be scared to ask other gym members for help or watch them perform the exercise you’re trying to do.

No excuses

A strength programme can easily be added in to your normal gym routine, the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommend a minimum of 2-3 hours per week of strength training to harness the benefits talked about below

When we think of being healthy, its common to think of eating vegetables and soy milk and running for miles. While diet and cardio are important, strength training should never be left out. Strength training provides benefits to your health that cannot be found with any other mode of exercise and shouldn’t be forgotten.