The shift away from weight loss and towards building strength has been a refreshing and welcome change for us.
Strength has officially taken over the request of weight loss upon first enquiry at our gym.
This doesn’t mean that people don’t want to lose body fat. Of course they do, but it is not the primary focus any more.
The wider population is starting to understand that focussing on building strength is the most effective aid in losing body fat and this is where their focus should be.
Doing strength training and building lean muscle mass is a more effective way to lose body fat and keep it off. Plus it has benefits that cardio alone does not provide.
Benefits of strength training
Increased lean muscle mass
Decreased body fat
Improved flexibility & balance
Decreased risk of injury
Decreased risk of lifestyle disease
Improved self esteem
Typically in our 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s there is a huge focus on just looking good. Everyone wants to look good and there is nothing wrong with that. As we start to get a little bit older though, new priorities are thrown into the mix.
Having a strong resilient body starts to become more and more important. We want to make sure that as we get older, we can maintain our independence. That we can look after ourselves in the long term.
Strength training for beginners
Typically when a beginner kicks off their journey with strength training. Their approach looks something like this.
Wondering into the weights section of the gym and choosing a few weight machines that they are kind of familiar with.
Lat pull down
They choose some weights that seem challenging but are still conservative because they don’t want to fail and they really don’t want to look like that guy or girl who doesn’t know what they are doing.
They aren’t really sure what time of rep ranges they should be doing so they just do some reps until they can feel it and then stop.
They continue like this for a couple of months.
Technically they are doing “weight training” but they really have no idea whether they are actually getting strong.
There is actually not much harm in an approach like this because in the initial phase of anything, you will get to enjoy what we call..
This means that even though you are not following the best program for you, you will still get to enjoy some benefits but only for a short period of time.
Shortly afterwards you will hit that plateau and realise you need a specific plan that it tailored to your goals. It needs to follow the principles of progressive overload + you need to learn correct technique for lifting other wise you will get hurt lifting heavy.
Here is a tiny sneak peak of a strength phase we have been working through for upper body press.
Work up to set of 6 reps at 8RPE. You should have at least 2 reps left in the tank with perfect form.
Superset: DB Bent over row 4 x 6 reps at 8RPE
Work up to a set of 6 reps at 8.5RPE. You should have1-2 reps left in the tank with perfect form.
Superset: DB Bent over over row 4 x 6 reps at 8.5 RPE.
Work up to a set of 6 reps at 9RPE. You should have 1 rep left in the tank with perfect form.
Superset: DB Bent over row at 9RPE.
This is an example of manipulating load each week incrementally, by monitoring rate of perceived exertion “RPE” a measure that our clients start to learn about through close work with their coach. It helps them to understand their capabilities in terms of load and to adjust accordingly.
If you really want to get strong, you must move away from the random approach. A random program will give you random results and ultimately will stop giving you any results once you hit that plataeu.