I’m not Hercules. I’m not an Olympic weightlifter, and I’m not one of those World’s Strongest Woman competitors who could rip a phonebook as if it were a napkin.
But I also don’t have to be. And you don’t either. That’s because strength training isn’t always about pushing yourself and pushing yourself until you can lift the barbell loaded down with all the weights in the room.
Sometimes you do strength training for wellness, not because you want to add tons of muscle. That way you can focus on feeling well, living well, and doing well by your mind and body to keep them healthy no matter your age.
Here’s a closer look at what wellness strength training means, what you gain from doing it, and what workouts you can do to master it like a champ.
What Is Strength Training for Wellness?
Like most other things in life, fitness is about goals. You know where you want to be, and then you start doing the things that help you get there. And with strength training, your goal can be to bulk up, and that’s that. This is the workout journey for a lot of people, but it’s not the only kind of strength training in town.
There’s also strength training that focuses on overall wellness. With this, your goal isn’t to bulk up. Instead, it’s to do everything from burning stomach fat and improving heart health to strengthening your bones and staying young with improved mobility and flexibility. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It all depends on your goals and where you want to be.
The Benefits of It
As I just said, you can do a lot with this kind of strength training. And if done right, the benefits — which, if listed entirely, would be as long as my arm — are nothing short of incredible. Check out these few that I’ve picked out and have experienced time and time again in my gym.
1. It keeps you young.
What do we mean when we say, “I wish I felt younger?” Besides escaping the bills, mortgage payments, and other headaches (and backaches) of adulthood, most of us mean that we to move easier or just get around better.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do to help make those things happen. Along with helping you boost energy levels, slow the aging process, and prevent injuries, strength training for wellness can help keep you young and on your toes — literally.
As certain exercises take your joints through their full range of motion, those exercises increase that range more and more over time. In turn, this gives you better movement, because you’ve developed the range to do it.
2. It elevates your metabolism.
Metabolism is an industry — especially weight loss industry — buzzword that many people use but don’t really understand. In fact, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times before. Nearly every weight loss ad and late-night infomercial talks about how their “new, scientifically proven once-a-day pill” can “boost your metabolism for good!”
But ads aside, the most basic explanation is that it’s how your body burns calories and then uses them as energy. So when you increase your metabolism, you’re making the calorie-burning process more efficient and your body more able to handle the demands of weight training.
This metabolic process also keeps going even when you’re resting, sleeping, or reading blog posts. That’s because strength training, even with small weights, stimulates your metabolism and keeps it elevated long after you’ve left the gym.
3. It keeps your bones healthy.
I hate being the bearer of bad news, but as you get older, your bones become more fragile. Along with losing muscle mass, this part of aging makes strength training for women as well as men more important by the day.
Strength training makes your bones more dense, which makes them healthier and able to carry more weight. So whether it’s your legs, hips, or wrists, this training gives your bones the strength and stability that leads to better wellness and overall health.
Workouts That Get the Job Done
Here we are. My favorite part. Now that I’ve touched on a few of the benefits of strength training for wellness, I’d love to break down some workouts that I’ve found to be amazing for nearly everyone who does them either at home or in the gym.
Let’s get into it.
Lunges, whether done while walking, standing in one spot, or going side to side, are some of the most popular yet effective workouts in the game. After all, they work your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings all at the same time. No wonder they help strengthen your back and legs, help you lose weight, and improve your balance and stability.
You remember the old children’s song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” right? Well, it turns out that it could’ve been describing planks and what parts of your body this killer workout targets. The insane results you get for your core alone are worth talking about.
But there’s far more to it. Holding yourself up off the ground with your forearms, elbows, and toes improves your posture, back pain, and coordination — all of which combine to help bring you lasting mental and physical wellness.
3. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Targeting your traps, chest, deltoids, and triceps, the dumbbell shoulder press involves lifting two dumbbells (one in each hand) up over your head as you extend your arms and bringing them back down at shoulder height. And even better, you can do this seated or standing up.
It’s important to remember here that with this training, we’re not going for bulk. Use what dumbbells work for you and your goals, and leave those 50-pound ones for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
4. Resistance Band Hip Extension
I’ve shown you some workouts that require no equipment and one that involves dumbbells. Now I’d like to highlight one that involves a resistance band.
A simple yet highly effective resistance band can do wonders for just about every part of your body. Seriously, the variations are endless. But for the sake of not keeping you here for hours, I’ll say that using your band for your hips, glutes, and legs is a great place to start.
Just put your feet together, and put the band around your ankles. Then bring one leg back at about 45 degrees, and hold it there for a few seconds. Bring that leg back to where you started, and do the same with the other leg. 10-15 reps each will have you toned from the waist down in no time.
The Big Takeaway
There’s a ton you can do for your wellness. Do yoga, drink more water, get good sleep, go for a relaxing walk. You know the list. It’s never ending. But in my mind, strength training for wellness is at the top of that list for very good reasons.
The benefits are phenomenal, the exercises are simple, and the results are nearly indescribable. I see it every day in my gym, and I know that you’re more than capable of getting to work and crushing your goals no matter what they are.
So if you’re ready to get started, just check out my class calendar, and we’ll do it together like always.-