Many people have huge goals when they start resistance training. Whether it be to lose weight, change their body shape or add a serious amount of muscle, the goal drives them to show up consistently and achieve the best possible outcome for themselves.
Yet it is not all about the aesthetics. There are several other physical benefits that you will notice along your journey that you may not have thought on before you started. These benefits are not minor either, they can be life-changing to a certain degree and can impact the way you do so many things.
So, what are these physical benefits? And how can they have a positive impact on the quality and longevity of your life?
One of the biggest differences you should notice is how much weight you can lift week on week. Building strength takes time and it’s not going to happen overnight, but you will notice that a certain weight becomes comfortable to lift and that you can gradually increase it, the more consistent you are with your training.
However, if your training is sporadic and of poor quality, it will be very difficult for you to improve in this area. You must keep showing up for every single session and look to get better – this is where progress lies. Of course, executing the exercise well should be the priority before increasing weight, but once you do, you will be in a much better position to make improvements every week, particularly on compound lifts. This is a huge sign that you are making great improvements with your training.
Many people get aches and pains because they are not strong enough in key areas of their body. It can be common for people to start training ‘abs’ because they want them to be more visible, but then often complain of lower back pain and are more susceptible to injury, especially when playing sport.
If your muscles are not strong, areas such as your lower back tend to take more of the workload in the positions you get into. As a result, most pains come from poor posture due to not having strong enough glutes, quads, hamstrings, shoulders and back. So, training these muscles in isolation will strengthen them and shift the pain away from areas, such as your lower back, that are unable to take the pressure being placed upon them.
This is an area that also ties in with the first two benefits. Many people like to play high-impact sports or do regular cardio outside of their sessions. However, injuries are common due to the body not being strong enough to withstand collisions and repetitive impact on the body. As a result, progress can stagnate, and it can affect a person mentally just as much as physically.
When you build muscle through resistance training, you have more protection for your bones, joints and ligaments. This means that when you have a collision, particularly when playing sport, you are going to have a better chance of coming through that impact unscathed. This also related to other exercise such as running, where people suffer joint problems from a weak lower body not being able to withstand the repetitive impact of a run, especially on harder surfaces.
Another area you will notice progress in is flexibility. Many people who begin their training journey are not very flexible and end up placing a lot of strain on their lower back due to an arched spine and poor posture. This can lead to a poor quality of life and even stints in hospital. By repeatedly doing movements that involve lots of knee and elbow flexion (bend), you will find your flexibility improving over time, meaning less stiffness, less pain and more confidence. This does take time but it should be something you work on as the weeks go by.
When people start their training journey, there is often a lack of stability and balance, particularly in the lower body. This is mainly due to these areas not being trained and therefore not having any strength to provide a stable base. However, once you start resistance training you will find that you have more stability from having a stronger body. This will give you more confidence and have a positive impact on other areas of your life.
So, while you may have started resistance training to change your body shape, you will also notice some huge physical benefits as you progress through your journey such as increased strength, less pain, injury prevention, more flexibility, and more stability. These changes are ones that you may not have expected but will be huge in helping you live a higher quality of life.
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