You girls know that my favourite type of workout is resistance training to build muscle, however, it is so much more than that for me. I love the feeling of lifting and progressing weights to get STRONG AF! There are so many benefits to lifting heavy weights and spending periods of time focused on strength gains over heaps of repetitions, and I am going to break down some of the reasons I always choose to be strong over skinny...
You feel like the ultimate #bossbabe!
There is no better feeling than after hitting a personal best in one of your lifts, especially if you have spent weeks working towards it. Being able to squat, deadlift or bench a substantial amount of weight is such a great way to boost confidence. It helps you to think about your body for what it can DO rather than what it looks like. A couple of core lifts that I really focus on progressing are squats and deadlifts. You will frequently see these programs in my training split for me, and my girls! There is a reason why… These exercises are not only seriously beneficial for glute gains, but they are also exercises that you can work on progressing, and some hitting great numbers (but remember always FORM FIRST) girls! Start by building the basic form up, and then progress your way up. Believe me you need to do all of the stepping stones in between to really be able to lift weights like a pro.
It helps to build lean muscle
The rule of hypertrophy training is progressive overload, you need to be increasing the weight you are lifting in order to continue building muscle. This is exactly the goal of strength training! So although you are not performing over 10 repetitions of an exercise (training for hypertrophy), you are constantly increasing the weight for up to 5 repetitions, which is still overloading the muscles. When working towards strength, my repetitions rarely go over 4-5 in a set, however the weight is heavier because of this. So I am still getting a lot of volume overall in the session. In my training, I try to spend some time working on both hypertrophy and strength phases, and I can tell you now that I build lean muscle in both! Squats and deadlifts are both full-body exercises and they have helped me to develop my glutes, quads, and hamstrings as well as tone my back and arms.
It helps to control body fat
By utilising a mix of strength and hypertrophy training, we can increase our basal metabolic rates. This is because your body uses more energy maintaining muscle than it does to maintain fat. So the stronger you are and the more muscle mass you have, the more you can eat and maintain your body weight! When I had less muscle mass on my body, my basal metabolic rate was much lower so I felt that I had to do a lot more cardio and eat a lot less calories to lose fat. However, after spending some time learning how to lift heavy and increasing my strength, I noticed that I could eat more calories while maintaining my weight (in other words my basal metabolic rate went up)!
Protects your bone health
By strengthening your muscles under heavy loads, you will also be strengthening your bones and increasing bone density. As females, we are more susceptible to osteoporosis, but with the help of strength training we can try our best to offset this. The stress of our bones under load will trigger bone-forming cells into action! By starting while we are young, we will build a great foundation for our future bodies.
You do not need to be a powerlifting champion to see these positive effects take place, however by spending a period of time lowering your repetitions in each set and reducing the amount of exercises you perform each day, you will see your strength, lean muscle, and metabolic rate go up! Focus on technique over repping out 20 squats until failure.
My STRONG program is designed to ease you into strength training, and it is all about nailing technique and training smarter. Instead of doing heaps of different exercises, we are stripping it back to just a few so that you can perfect them. The exercises will reflect your main compound exercises and the main muscles used to complete them. The goal of this program is to increase your strength in squat, deadlift and bench press! The repetitions are lower, sets higher and rest periods are designed for full recovery.
So if you’re wondering what to work towards in the gym, consider getting strong as your next goal!