We’ve chatted about the composition of muscles. Now, we’re going to let you know why you should develop muscular strength and endurance.
Enhanced muscular strength and endurance can lead to improvements in the areas of performance, injury prevention, body composition, self-image, lifetime muscle and bone health as well as chronic disease prevention.
Advantages of muscular strength
Improved performance of physical activities
Increased muscular strength and endurance help with the performance of every day tasks and recreational activities. It leads to the enjoyment that accompanies higher levels of achievement.
Muscular strength and endurance help to protect you from injury in two key ways:
- By enabling you to maintain good posture.
- By encouraging body mechanics during every day activities such as walking and lifting objects.
- Improved body composition.
- Muscular strength and endurance exercise increases lean body mass which raises metabolism and depletes fatty tissue.
- Enhanced self-image and quality of life.
- Muscular exercise offers the benefit of readily recognisable results. Your body will become noticeably strong and firmer and you can easily monitor your progress in terms of the amount of weight lifted and the number of repetitions done.
- Improved muscle and bone health with ageing.
Strength training can prevent muscle and nerve degeneration brought about by ageing and inactivity
After age 30 people begin to lose muscle mass (sarcopenia) which may reduce their ability to perform simply tasks or movement. Ageing and inactivity can cause motor nerves to disconnect from the portion of muscle they control and allow muscles to become slower and less able to perform quick, powerful movements.
The risk of bone loss, or osteoporosis, can be lessened with strength training and increases in muscle strength can also help to prevent falls.
Prevention and management of chronic disease
Regular strength training helps to prevent and manage diseases such as diabetes by:
- Improving glucose metabolism,
- Increasing maximal oxygen consumption,
- Reducing blood pressure,
- Increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing LDL cholesterol in some people.
Assessing muscular strength and endurance
Muscular strength is usually assessed by measuring the maximum amount of weight a person can lift at one time. This single maximum effort is called a repetition maximum (RM). You can measure 1 RM directly or estimate it by doing multiple repetitions with a lighter weight.
Muscular endurance is usually assessed by counting the maximum number of repetitions of a muscular contraction a person can do (as in a push-up or a sit-up test) or the maximum time a muscle contraction can be held (as in a flexed-arm hang).
Creating a successful strength training programme
When muscles are stressed by a greater load than they are used to they adapt and improve their function.
Static versus dynamic strength training exercises
Weight training exercises are generally classified as static or dynamic.
Static exercises (isometric)
In this type of exercise, the length of the muscle does not change nor does the angle in the joint on which the muscle acts, e.g. pushing against a wall. These exercises can be performed with an immobile object such as a door for resistance or simply by tightening a muscle. The contraction should be held for six seconds and five to 10 repetitions should be done. They develop strength only as a specific point in the joint’s range of motion.
Dynamic exercise (isotonic)
In dynamic exercises, the length of the muscle changes, for example with free weights or weight machines. Dynamic exercise involves applying force with movement using either weights or a person’s own body weight as in push-ups.
There are two types of dynamic muscle contractions:
- A concentric contraction occurs when the muscle applies enough force to overcome resistance and shortens as it contracts.
- An eccentric contraction occurs when the resistance is greater than the force applied by the muscle and the muscle lengthens as it contracts.
Want to learn more about how to apply static and dynamic exercises in your exercise routine? Do you want to use this knowledge to help others get the best physique that they can? Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Personal Training Diploma is the ultimate in personal training qualifications to help you to achieve your goal. For more information about this and our other world-class fitness qualifications, visit our website.