TOVI's Science Communicator, Ashley Miller-Dykeman, M.A.
The Ins and Outs of Strength Training
Curious about strength training? In this article, we’ll tell you more about strength training, including what it is, what it can do for your body, what exercises counts as strength training, and what to expect when you start strength training.
What Is strength training?
Strength training, also known as resistance training, is a type of exercise that focuses on your muscles.
Specifically, using some kind of resistance or weight (including the weight of your body) to help you strengthen specific muscle groups.
The benefits of strength training
When people think of weight training, they usually imagine bodybuilders with huge muscles. In reality, weight lifting is beneficial for everyone and doesn’t necessarily lead to the growth of big muscles.
Why do you need it?
As you age, your body naturally loses muscle. Strength training can help you maintain (and grow) the muscle you have, while also helping prevent or manage conditions like osteoporosis (a condition where your bones lose strength and become prone to fracture), heart disease, and diabetes.
Strength training can also help with weight management and improve balance and coordination.
What counts as strength training?
Don’t worry about lifting 100-pound weights at a gym.
Strength training is just a fancy way of referring to any exercise that puts resistance on your muscles, and that doesn’t have to include large amounts of weight.
Just doing squats, push-ups, or lunges is a form of strength training because you’re working against the weight from your body and gravity!
HIIT (high-intensity interval training), pilates, walking uphill, and more traditional weighted workouts are all forms of strength training.
Confused about cardio versus strength training?
Cardio training is exercise that works your heart and the rest of your cardiovascular system. That means exercise that gets your heart pumping faster than normal counts as cardio, while exercise that focuses on working your muscles counts as strength training.
Both cardio and strength training are important for your body. The great thing about many forms of exercise is that they don’t just fit in one category, giving you more bang for your buck!
At the end of the day, the important thing is that you’re doing exercise that you enjoy!
What to expect with strength training
Strength training is great for your body, but if you’re just starting out with it, there are a few things to keep in mind!
You might feel sore or “tight”. Soreness is just a sign that your muscles have been worked and need to recover. Normally, it goes away within 24-48 hours, and light movement and stretching are both helpful when you’re sore.
Your body is speaking to you. If you feel any sharp or constant pains, it might be a sign something is a little off. In this case, we recommend stopping your workout regime and seeing a doctor or medical professional that can help you make sure all is well.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. When you start exercising, it’s normal to want to see a change right away. Unfortunately, exercise takes time to produce external benefits. Instead of worrying about seeing immediate change, focus on enjoying your exercise and finding the things that work for you.
Ready to go?
Exercise can be intimidating, but if you start slow, you can reap the benefits. The TOVI app will help you make it happen. Download the app today. It's free!
Reviewed by:Dr. Tara Coletta, Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry