How Strength Training Benefits you Outside of the Gym.
A lot of people think of strength training in terms of “heavy weight” and “people who want big flashy muscles”. Often times, people think you have to go lift extremely heavy weight to participate in “strength training”. However, there may be some misunderstandings about strength training that lead to believe strength training is different then what it actually is. As you’ll find through out this article, strength training isn’t reserved for “the Spartans of society” and it definitely isn’t just lifting a bunch of heavy weight. Strength training benefits extend far beyond the weight room and extends into helping people live better lives.
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But first, What is Strength Training?
Strength training is usually associated with lifting heavy weights and focusing on major (compound) muscle groups. However, really, strength training can encompass training programs that involved any sort of added resistance to an exercise.
When you look at strength training across different sports, it takes many different forms. For example, as a track athlete, pushing a weight sled, running with a vest on on, running up hill, or doing anything really that isn’t running on flat ground can considered a form of strength training. Another example is, baseball players will practice swinging bats that are heavier and lighter then standard bats used in games.
The reason they do this is because it helps them train for more power behind their swing and it can also help increase the bat velocity when swinging.
1. Strength Training and The Mind.
Contrary to popular belief, one of the major strength training benefits is improved cognitive function. For anyone who has given their shot at strength training then you know that throughout the course of a strength training program, typically you are required to exert more effort, more frequently as the program progresses. Each workout, is challenging and unique in its own way.
In this sense, strength training requires deep discipline to accomplish physical benefit. It does so in many different ways:
- You have to consistently schedule time to get to the gym and workout. This alone is a great habit to get into. However, you also have to take the time to get yourself into a focused mindset in order to take full advantage of the workout at hand. This can help you train yourself to get into a focused mindset, quicker.
- An additional way it helps improve discipline is, if you want to get stronger and healthier each workout, you have to push your boundaries of each time. As a result, getting you used to pushing your comfort levels beyond what they once were.
The Mind-Muscle Connection
When you train with weights, one of the most recommended aspects of weight training is to focus on the feeling of contracting the muscle. For example, if you are doing bicep curls, focus on contracting the bicep muscle rather then simply lifting the weight.
When you train this thought pattern into your mindset when lifting weights or using resistance training exercises, you brain calls more high muscle fibers to complete the lift at hand. Subsequently, placing more of the time under tension on the specific muscle group being targeted.
2. You learn by doing.
It common in strength training to completely fail during an exercise. Whether you’re failing because the weight was too heavy, you were trying a new exercise, or you were intentionally training until failure, it’s a common aspect of weight training.
Think of the concept of discovering a new personal best in a lift? The only way to truly know you personal best is to go heavier in weight (safely) until you fail. Failing is literally apart of accomplishment in weight training.
Once you’ve figured out your personal best, then it’s time to devise a game plan so that you can better yourself. Now what happens when you fail to beat your personal best after training to beat it? Do you just say “oh that’s my max forever then”? No! You take a look at where you went wrong, make some adjustments to your training and keep pushing.
But how does this apply to our daily lives? When you think about it, when was the last time you tried something new and failed? Did you walk away and quit or did you keep trying? I hope the answer is you kept trying. If you struggle with discouragement, I’d highly suggest giving strength training a go. For many reasons:
- It teaches you how to approach discouragement with a positive, solution oriented mindset.
- It can build your personal confidence. Not only in your health but also in your confidence when attempting to accomplish difficult tasks.
One thing you learn when strength training is, results come with patience and consistency. If you step into a gym, pick up some weights and expect results immediately, you will be disappointed. While there is such a thing as beginner gains, that doesn’t last two long and is still slow progress.
Really, when you look at those who are extremely successful in putting on muscle consistently, it’s because they approach it from a patient, consistent, and curious mindset. They are always trying to learn what they can do better and patiently put in the work that they know will drive results.
What weight training does is it helps you sit back and take a look at the bigger picture. While you may not be jumping 20 lbs in your lifts each time, you understand it is certainly possible to do so over time, with the right approach.
4. Work Ethic.
When considering all of the above, you realize really we are describing is work ethic. When you take into account working consistently and patiently, while failing and getting back up, you realize it develops a strong work ethic.
Strength training benefits your work ethic through the following:
- It teaches you how to fail.
- You learn how to take a solution-oriented approach to failure and embrace it.
- Taking a calculated approach to strength training is a must. Thus, teaching you how to act with intention throughout your daily life.
- You begin to expand your comfort zone and you get comfortable with being uncomfortable (how are you going to get under that 315lb bar otherwise? )
At the end of the day, you learn valuable skills that can easily extend outside of the gym. However, it will only help you as much as you allow it to help
Not seeing the Strength Training Benefits you want?
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