While all forms of exercise can add value to your health, strength training definitely packs a ton of amazing benefits.
From improved strength and flexibility to better bone health and controlled body fat, strength training (like lunges, squats, push-ups, and arm curls) will make you look and feel your absolute best.
“My personal favorite strength exercises are deadlifts or something explosive such as power cleans,” says BODi fitness expert Amanda Lopez. “I also love to incorporate anything that challenges balance, whether that means using unstable equipment such as a stability ball or performing any exercises single-legged or single-armed,” she adds.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a strength-training program to help you get started, check out Sure Thing with Megan Davies.
Megan’s 8-week program is a science-based approach to fitness called “type training.”
You alternate weekly between endurance and power-based strength training plus cardio conditioning to target both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Top Benefits of Strength Training
1. Improved Sleep Quality
According to the Sleep Foundation, building muscle and strength training can “improve the quality of sleep, and it can also help you fall asleep faster and wake up less frequently throughout the night.”
“Better sleep quality in itself has a ton of benefits in a person’s overall wellness,” Lopez says.
These benefits include lowered risk of diseases, improved mood, and weight management, among others.
2. Reduce Stress
One great way to combat stress is with strength-training exercises.
“Exercise endorphins lead to relaxation,” says Lopez. It can also help reduce anxiety symptoms and stabilize your overall mood.
3. Builds Your Brain
Meathead? More like brainiac. “Lifting weights ads more than just muscle. [Studies show] it can actually stimulate connections in the brain and enhance cognitive function,” says Founding Celeb Trainer, Joey Thurman, CES, CPT, FNS.
4. May Lower Risk of Dementia
“According to a recent study, resistance training appears to help thicken the gray matter in a part of the brain that is often affected in early Alzheimer’s disease and it also appears to help build brain cells,” says Thurman.
If you know dementia and Alzheimer’s runs in your family, strength training may be especially beneficial for you.
5. Improves Endurance
You might not think cardio and strength training necessarily go hand in hand, but gaining stronger muscles “will actually help your cardio sessions be more efficient by way of more force production and work economy,” explains Thurman.
Don’t skimp out on those bicep curls, squats, and deadlifts, runners.
6. Better Posture & Injury Prevention
The benefits of strength training also include better posture and even preventing injury, because it increases the strength in the body’s tendons and ligaments (a.k.a., your connective tissues), Lopez explains.
If you sit hunched over at a desk all day long, this might be especially beneficial for you.
7. Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis
While there are benefits of strength training for both men and women, “as women get older and reach menopause, their levels of estrogen decrease, and because of this, their chances of osteoporosis are much higher.
Strength training throughout their lives can increase bone density and keep women’s bones strong,” says Lopez.
Also, many women believe this myth they’ll become bulky if they practice strength training.
“Women don’t have nearly the same amount of testosterone as men do and therefore can not really gain size in their body but rather just look toned and defined,” she adds.