Muscular strength is a muscle’s ability to generate force. The purpose of strength training is to increase muscle and connective tissue size, density, and toughness. Bigger muscles and stronger connective tissues are less prone to injury and aid in long term weight management. Muscle tissue also burns more calories than fat when the body is at rest.
Strength training will also improve muscular endurance, or the muscles ability to perform repeated muscle contractions over a prolonged period. Muscle endurance is important for sitting, standing, walking, running, and any other activities of daily living. For example, consider sitting and surfing the web for an hour or more. Your neck muscles hold up your head (which weighs 12-15 pounds) for all that time. Now, that is muscular endurance!
A warm-up is important to increase tissue temperature and flexibility before heavy demands are placed on the muscles. Walk or cycle at a moderate intensity for 5-10 minutes before strength training.
- Mix up your exercises – don’t work the same muscle groups every day.
- Work slowly with a focus on proper technique-this will make you more efficient.
- Strengthening activities can be temporarily painful (typically 24-48 hours later).
- Concentrate on activities that isolate specific muscle groups.
- A gentle progression of stress on muscles will increase muscular strength.
- Moderation is key to avoiding injury
- Perform 2-4 sets of 12-20 repetitions of an individual exercise (i.e. repeat the movement 24-80 times total).
- It is important to rest. Your muscles need time to recover after a workout. When you strengthen, you break down the muscles; however, unlike any machine, the body recovers and becomes stronger in response to the stress.
Want to strengthen your muscles but not sure where to begin? Or worried about aggravating an injury? Contact us to book a physiotherapy assessment and we’ll get you on the right track. EQ Physio is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.