Strength Training

Ellie female personal trainer showing the technique to a strength training exercise

Last month we looked at how making just a few lifestyle changes can make a significant difference to our quality of life. This month, we’re going to dial into the first of those lifestyle factors which is exercise and in particular strength or resistance training. 

For years, strength training has previously been the hobby of bodybuilders or athletes but year by year evidence mounts to highlight its crucial role in maintaining our health and quality of life. 

“If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to a great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat.”

Before we go into any detail, let me give you an overview of what physical activity we should be doing. This is from the UK’s chief medical officer…

Adult (19-64) guidelines:

  • Be active every day
  • Adults should do activities to develop or maintain strength in the major muscle groups on at least two days a week, but any strengthening activity is better than none.
  • Each week, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking or cycling); or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (such as running); or even shorter durations of very vigorous-intensity activity (such as sprinting or stair climbing); or a combination of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Be less sedentary 

Why should we strength train?

Strengthening activities are important throughout life for different reasons: to develop strength and build healthy bones during childhood and young adulthood; to maintain strength in adulthood; and to delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density which occurs from around 50 years of age, maintaining function in later life

What should we do?

The advice is that we should perform exercise that causes the strengthening of the muscles twice per week.

Although there is no concrete guidance on what exercise this should be, our priority is to rebuild movement capacity by ensuring what they learn in the gym has carryover to activities of daily life (ADL).
These are called compound (multi-joint) movements. As well as having the great carryover and the ability to improve your quality of life, they also provide the best return for the time spent exercising due to the many joints and muscles used. 

Here are our top four exercises to help you keep moving and maintain strength!

1. The Squat

Being able to sit down and stand back up is a fundamental human movement and one that can quite literally be correlated with longevity. It’s often called the king of exercises as it involves so many muscle groups.

A well performed counter balance squat - perfect to develop mobility at home.
Deadlift Technique

2. The Deadlift

Being able to bend using our hips ensures we can utilise the strength in our lower body muscles when lifting objects. 

3. The Press

Maintaining a full range of movement in our upper body even if we’re to maintain simple movements like changing lightbulbs. 

Press Technique
Row Technique

4. The Row

Pulling movements, like the single-arm row shown below are great exercises to strengthen our back musculature and help us maintain a great, upright posture.

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