Strength and Fitness - The Impartial Guide to strength, fitness, endurance and nutrition

Muscle And Strength Training

Muscle or strength training is an extremely important part of any overall fitness program. Strength training has been shown to have a number of key benefits including: improved muscle strength, improved muscle tone and size, enhanced muscular endurance and fatigue resistance, increases bone density, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, increase your metabolic rate and enhance weight loss, can be useful in the management of raised blood pressure, helps to protect against the age associated loss of muscle (sarcopenia), and may be useful in the management of type II diabetes.

 Strength training has proven to be highly beneficial for professional athletes, looking to improve performance, in a range of sports including, athletics, swimming, cycling, running, football and rugby.

What is Strength Training?

Strength can be defined as the ability of a muscle, or group of muscles, to apply force in order to overcome resistance. Therefore, strength training involves the use of specific training techniques that improve the ability of a muscle, or group of muscles, to apply force. The idea of using a structured approach to strength training dates back to ancient Greece. Today strength training is recognised as being of great importance in the development of peak athletic performance. However, some coaches and athletes - particularly in endurance sports - still overlook the benefits that can be gained from strength training. In addition to the benefits to sporting performance strength training has many health benefits.

Benefits of Strength Training

  • Enhances muscle strength  
  • Improved muscle tone and size  
  • Enhances muscular endurance/Strength endurance
  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Increased bone density
  • Reduced risk of injury & reduces lower back pain
  • Preserves muscle mass in the elderly
  • Reduces resting blood pressure, glucose levels, LDL cholesterol and improves mental function

Strength and Athletic Performance

An athletes strength depends on three main factors:

1) Muscle Potential - is the amount of force that could be generated, if all of an athletes muscle-fibres were recruited at the same time.

2) The Use of Muscle Potential - refers to the athletes ability to recruit muscle fibres at the same time. The greater the amount of muscle fibres recruitment the greater the use of the athletes full potential.

3) Technique - refers to the level of co-ordination between different muscles during an activity. The greater the level of co-ordination the greater the use of the athletes potential.