“If you think lifting is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.”
— Bret Contreras, sports scientist
Strength training is an essential part of any good fitness programme. People usually associate it with lifting weights and bulking up.
But is that all there is to strength and conditioning training?
The short answer is NO.
There is a lot more to strength and conditioning training. It offers some of the best ways for you to get (and stay) fit and healthy throughout your life.
If you visit any health/ fitness forum, you will see several questions regarding strength training. Here are some of the common ones that I have come across most of the time:
- Is strength training right for me?
- What are the benefits of strength training?
- Is strength training suitable for all age groups?
- Is it safe?
- How do I pick the right trainer to help me achieve my strength training goals?
Let me try to answer these questions so that you know exactly why strength and conditioning training is so vital to your health and wellbeing and also, where you can get the best training in the UK.
What is Strength and Conditioning Training?
For most people lifting weights is what comes to mind when they think about strength training.
But strength training is much more than that. But as someone who cares about health fitness, you probably want to know a bit more than that.
So, let’s dive a little deeper to understand what happens to your body when you undergo strength training.
Strength training involves two main components – weight (including your body weight)/ resistance and movement.
In simple words, when you push your muscles beyond their comfort zone to move any weight or overcome resistance, you are doing strength training. When you do this, you are forcing your body to rebuild those muscles to prepare for these strength challenges.
One common factor in all strength training exercises is a progressive increase in weight or reps to challenge your muscles to adapt and develop continually. When you do this, the muscles you use start tearing slightly. Then, over the next day or two, they start rebuilding themselves and become stronger and a lot more resilient.
So, in a sense, you are doing strength training when you do push-ups or when you pick up a weight that is more than what your body is typically used to. But like any other training, it becomes effective only when you do it consistently.
What’s In It For Me? Benefits of Strength and Conditioning Training.
‘Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
– Jim Rohn
Now that you know what strength training is, let’s look at some of the benefits you can expect.
Strength and conditioning exercises,
- Will help replace body fat with lean muscle mass
- Can help manage your body weight
- Will increase your metabolism
- Can help you become a much better athlete or sportsperson
- Can increase your bone density thus reducing osteoporosis risk
- Will give you increased strength and power
- Will help burn more calories which can ultimately help you lose weight
Apart from these obvious results, people who do strength training consistently start seeing a noticeable reduction in symptoms related to chronic conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, back pain, fibromyalgia, depression and diabetes.
Now here’s something that I really like about strength and conditioning training. It can make you FEEL better. In today’s stressful world, that is a HUGE benefit.
Imagine this. Not only will you have a lot more energy, but your confidence levels will get a huge boost as well. You will manage stress better and have less anxiety in your everyday life. Your overall mood will improve, and so will your life.
In short, strength and conditioning training will change your life.
Now let’s look at some of the common ways you can do strength training.
Bodyweight: There are several strength and conditioning exercises that you can do without expensive equipment. Many of the popular exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, planks or leg squats that use bodyweight to build strength.
Resistance tube: Resistance tubes exercises are suitable for beginners, and there are many you can do in the comfort of your home.
Free weights: Free weights include training tools such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells.
Weight machines: These are some of the most popular equipment used for strength training. When you join a gym, be sure to check out the quality of the equipment they have. Also, see if they have enough equipment for all so that you don’t have to spend most of your time waiting for free equipment.
Here’s a good Question - How Often Should You Train?
Three elements go into building muscles – Nutrition, Exercise and Rest. So don’t push yourself too hard at the gym. Work with a good trainer and understand your body first and then follow the programme he/ she creates for you. I would recommend checking out the programmes designed by the Health Minister of West London.
Your muscles need rest to grow. Recovery is essential in strength training. So give your muscles time to recover before you exercise them again.
Recovery – Let The Gains Begin!
It may sound contradictory, but your muscles grow when you rest after a workout. So, as a general rule of thumb, you should wait for about 48 hrs before training the same muscle group again.
The Recovery window will be different for different individuals. It depends on multiple factors including the type of exercise you did, your age, your diet and sleep patterns etc. A good conditioning coach will be able to advise you on your recovery time.
Before you start…
While strength and conditioning training can provide you with a lot of benefits, it can also do some damage if not done the right way.
It’s essential to use the proper technique to avoid injuries. So, if you’re new to strength and conditioning training, you should work with a good fitness trainer to learn the correct technique before you start.
A well-qualified trainer can help you get the best out of your training sessions. At the same time, a good trainer will also ensure that you don’t hurt yourself doing the wrong movement.
How Do I Choose the Right Trainer?
When it comes to strength and conditioning training, one of the key factors that determine your success is the skill and knowledge levels of your trainer. Earlier, we spoke about some of the exercises you could do to increase your strength. But if you are serious about your goals, you must consider getting a good fitness trainer who can create the right strength and conditioning programme for you. If you live in London, especially South West London, I strongly recommend you talk to Alex Kenchington A.K.A the Health Minister in West London.
Alex is a CHEK and FMA Strength and Conditioning Coach – certified personal trainer and a former boxer. He has helped hundreds of people achieve their health and fitness goals.
Why The Health Minister?
Glad you asked.
Alex, with his years of experience, and his background as a sportsperson (he is a former boxer), is highly qualified to help you meet your fitness goals.
But the health minister’s programme stands out because he first undertakes a detailed assessment before he chooses exercises for you. He understands your medical history, analyses your lifestyle factors and studies your current state of health. This helps him create a clear picture of your current state of health and fitness.
Once he has all the information he needs, he creates a highly effective, bespoke strength and conditioning programme that will help you achieve your goals in the shortest possible time.
Also remember, you can only make so much progress without motivation and consistency. Alex will help you stay motivated and stay on track until you reach your goals.
Are You Ready?
“We don’t need to be perfect…we just need to get started”
Now that you know how strength and conditioning training can transform your life, the big question is – Are you ready to take the next step?
You see, this is where a lot of people stumble. They spend all their life searching for solutions but fail to take action when they find one.
So, if you are ready for a strength and conditioning programme that is tailor-made for you, has nutrition plans built into it, motivates you to keep going, and is flexible enough to accommodate your busy lifestyle, you should check out the Health Minister Website.