Get ready to FLEX! Improving your strength is a long-term goal with a quick payoff when you feel the results of your hard work. Visit this page often for information about how to progress in strength training, deal with soreness, avoid injury, and get stronger!
What Exercises Are We Tracking?
Click here to watch video demonstrations of each of the five strength and endurance exercises we are using for this challenge.
Muscular Strength vs. Endurance
Muscular strength is the maximum amount of force that a muscle can exert against a resistance in a single effort. Strength is different than endurance! Endurance is how long you can perform an exercise, but strength is how much resistance a muscle can move. This challenge tests both strength and endurance.
Why Strength Is Important
The benefits of a strong body are almost endless! Strong muscles make it easier to do every day activities like lifting groceries from the car, maintain balance when carrying heavy loads, and avoid injury. Strong muscles are at a lower risk for osteoporosis, help reduce blood pressure, burn more calories at rest, and plus they look great!
Adults lose between five and seven pounds of muscle every decade after age 20, so strength training is important at every age!
How to Improve Strength
You don’t have to lift huge dumbbells to get stronger, but you do have to push yourself to make consistent progress. To become stronger, focus less on the number of reps you can do (muscle endurance) and more on how much you can lift (muscle strength).
When you can easily complete 10-12 repetitions of an exercise at a given weight, it’s time to increase the resistance. Move up 5 pounds or use a tighter resistance band, and start working towards the goal of being able to complete 10-12 reps at your new weight!
One of the most important elements of strength is the fuel we put in our bodies. Avoid processed food, eat whole grains for energy, and eat lean protein to help your muscles grow and repair themselves!
Creative Strength Training
Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Here are just a few options:
- Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
- Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
- Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools found in all health clubs.
- Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines, which have detailed instructions for how to use them.