Virtual Reality · Workouts · Apr 04, 2023
Strength Training Benefits: 6 Reasons to Add Strength to Your Routine
If you want to maximize your health and build the ultimate workout routine then that means sometimes you have to put down your boxing gloves and pick up the dumbbells. That’s right, we’re talking about strength training, what it looks like, and why you need it.
And now you can strength train at home with Litesport VR thanks to the launch of Strength, our newest workout. Learn more and dive into the benefits of strength training with this quick guide:
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training (also called resistance training) is a form of exercise that helps your body get stronger by placing resistance or stress on your muscles. And while you might assume it involves dumbbells or barbells, that’s not what defines the exercise. Resistance can come in many forms like bodyweight, resistance bands, weight machines, medicine balls, free weights, and more.1 2
For example, flowing through a yoga sequence is a form of strength training. So is repping out push-ups, throwing punches, or lifting a dumbbell. Although the exercise and equipment might vary, the goal is the same: putting a healthy amount of stress on your muscles to build strength, muscle mass, and endurance.
Strength Training vs. Cardio
Cardiovascular exercise (or cardio) is any exercise that increases your heart rate and gets you breathing heavier than usual. It includes things like running, biking, or boxing. It’s important for your health because cardio challenges your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, helping strengthen your heart, blood vessels, and lungs.3 This decreases your risk of stroke and heart disease and lowers your blood pressure, among many other potential benefits.3
Strength training might get your heart rate up, but it’s different from cardio. Strength training is any exercise that forces your muscles to contract against resistance or force placed on the body.2 And, like cardio, it also has a ton of benefits.
Strength Training Benefits
Strength training is about more than just getting ripped, it’s actually an incredibly important part of your workout routine. And that’s because strength training has a ton of benefits for your body—like building stronger bones, helping prevent injury, supporting weight loss, and boosting body confidence. And if you’re a serious athlete, it can also help improve your athletic performance by giving you more speed, power, and strength.4
Here are some of the top benefits of strength training:
Preserve and boost muscle mass
If getting swole is the goal, strength training can help you on your way to building muscle mass or hypertrophy. But even for those who aren’t looking to build muscle, strength training is still important. Healthy and strong muscles have real-world applications, like lifting heavy grocery bags or moving bulky furniture.
And as you age, your muscle mass continues to decline. With strength training, you can preserve and even build your muscle mass.1 2 This will make it easier for you in older age to perform simple tasks like getting out of bed or walking down the stairs. These might seem easy to you now, but they require the use of important muscles, like your core. And when it comes to your muscles, if you don’t use them, you lose them.
Build stronger bones & joints
When it comes to strength training, a lot of the focus goes on the muscle. But it's not just your muscles getting stronger! That stress you’re putting on your body as you drop into a squat or lift a dumbbell also builds stronger bones and joints.
By placing stress on your bones, you help increase your bone density and reduce your risk of bone-related health concerns like osteoporosis or bone fractures.1 2 You also increase the stiffness of your connective tissues, which is critical to healthy movement patterns and reducing your risk of injury and arthritis.2
In other words, with strength training, you are quite literally training your body to react better to stress. And this has real-world implications. For example, instead of missing a step on the stairs and falling to the floor, strong core muscles engage to help you stabilize and stay balanced on your two feet. Or, as you get older and start to lose bone density, strength training can help prevent broken bones from bad falls. This is especially important for postmenopausal women who lose bone density at a rate of 2% per year.5
Protect you from injury & illness
Reducing your risk of falls is a major perk of strength training, especially as you get older. But strength training could also help reduce your risk of many chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, joint pain, back pain, and more.1 6
And believe it or not, strength training also helps improve your range of motion and mobility in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In one study on middle-aged and elderly women, researchers found that resistance training increased flexibility. And several studies on men found similar results.7 Life is much better when major joints like your hips, knees, or shoulders aren’t feeling tight or painful. And with greater mobility, you help reduce your risk of injury.7 8
Lastly, strength training can help improve muscular imbalances that might be causing you pain or discomfort. A common example of this is back pain. Many of us experience back pain because of weak core strength. Your back is bearing the brunt of work that your weaker core muscles should be handling, resulting in lower-back injuries. With strength training, you can strengthen your muscles so that you’re recruiting and using the right ones.9
Sharpen your cognitive thinking
Some studies also share that strength training can help sharpen your mind. In one study on older adults, high-speed resistance training helped improve their cognitive function and physical performance.10 Another study found similar results, with an elderly group experiencing a 19% improvement in cognitive capacity after 12 weeks of resistance exercises.11
These and other studies show that strength training can not only help fight against bone density and muscle mass decline as you age but cognitive decline as well. Things like processing speed, memory, focus, attention, and other executive function skills require training just as much as your muscles. And regular exercise proves to be a great tool for training the mind.1
Support weight loss and weight management
Although cardio is everyone’s go-to weight loss workout, strength training plays a pretty important role too. Like cardio, strength training is hard work. This means you’re burning calories as you’re doing it. But the biggest weight-loss benefit is that strength training replaces body fat with muscle mass.
And the more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate.12 Your resting metabolic rate is how many calories you’re burning at rest.13 And because muscles are more metabolically efficient than fat this means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day by incorporating strength training into your routine.
But it's not just exercise you need for weight loss. The real key is nutrition. The combination of a consistent workout routine (consisting of both cardio and strength training!) with nutritious foods is the key to losing or maintaining a healthy weight.
Builds body confidence & boosts your mood
But more important than weight loss is how you feel in your body. And strength training, to put it simply, makes you feel good both inside and out. Strength training is a confidence and mood booster, especially strength-building exercises like boxing that also have the added benefit of releasing stress and tension. There’s something powerful about watching your body get stronger or accomplishing a new strength goal. Not to mention all those mood-boosting endorphins that release as you exercise.
And this isn’t just us saying it! It’s backed by research. In one study, researchers found that women who strength train reported greater positive feelings about their bodies than those who don’t.14 In another study on female college students, most reported that they felt healthier and stronger after 12 weeks of strength training, and had higher body image scores as a result. That’s because research shows that your physical competence or strength is tied to your self-esteem and body image. In other words, the stronger you feel, the better you feel about yourself.15
But it’s not just body image that improves with strength training, but your mood as well. In one meta-analysis of over 30 studies, researchers confirmed that strength training can boost your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.
How Much Strength Training Do You Need?
Given the health benefits of both cardio and strength training, it's important to add both to your workout routine. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio per week. They also recommend that you add moderate or high-intensity strength training to your routine at least two times per week.16
But this doesn’t mean you need to be spending hours in the gym! Aim for two 20 or 30-minute strength training sessions a week and rotate between exercises that target your major muscle groups like your legs, core, chest, shoulders, and arms. Start with lower rep counts and less weight and build up as you get stronger. It won’t take long until you’re seeing results and experiencing the benefits.
For most people with busy schedules, the most efficient way to check off both is to choose exercises that combine them. Activities, like boxing, that get your heart rate up while building muscle are perfect for maximizing the benefits of both in far less time.
Brand New on Litesport VR: Strength
And now, it’s not just boxing or boot camp workouts that you can do with Litesport VR! Starting March, we’ve launched Strength workouts for Litesport VR premium and basic members.
In Strength, you’ll grab your dumbbells and work out alongside our Litesport Trainers. Throughout each class, they’ll coach you through correct form and technique on exercises like bicep curls, squats, overhead presses, push-ups, and more.
Unlike our Total Body or Boxing workouts, Strength workouts are less about cardio and more about building muscle so you can show up even stronger in the ring. But instead of doing strength training exercises solo or figuring out your own workout plan, you’ll have our Trainers right there with you in your living room encouraging and guiding you through every rep and set.
With the addition of Strength plus our Total Body and Boxing workouts, you have even more options to maximize your workout with Litesport VR (and reap all the benefits of cardio and strength training!).
- Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier. (2021, May 15). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/strength-training/art-20046670
- Penn State College of Medicine Research. (2021, August 11). Introduction to Strength Training - Penn State College of Medicine Research. https://research.med.psu.edu/oncology-nutrition-exercise/patient-guides/strength-training/
- Cardiovascular Training Vs. Strength Training. (n.d.). Beaumont Health. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.beaumont.org/services/weight-loss/cardiovascular-training-vs-strength-training-for-weight-loss
- Thomas, M., & Burns, S. (2016). Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training. International Journal of Exercise Science, 9(2), 159–167.
- Benedetti, M. G., Furlini, G., Zati, A., & Mauro, G. L. (2018). The Effectiveness of Physical Exercise on Bone Density in Osteoporotic Patients. BioMed Research International, 2018, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/4840531
- Krzysztofik, M., Wilk, M., Wojdala, G., & Gołaś, A. (2019). Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(24), 4897. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244897
- Leite, T., Costa, P. B., Leite, R. D., Da Silva Novaes, J., Fleck, S. J., & Simão, R. (2017). Effects of Different Number of Sets of Resistance Training on Flexibility. International Journal of Exercise Science, 10(3), 354–364.
- Mcleod, J. C., Stokes, T., & Phillips, S. M. (2019). Resistance Exercise Training as a Primary Countermeasure to Age-Related Chronic Disease. Frontiers in Physiology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00645
- Gordon, R., & Bloxham, S. (2016). A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain. Healthcare, 4(2), 22. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare4020022
- Yoon, D. Y., Lee, J. Y., & Song, W. (2018). Effects of Resistance Exercise Training on Cognitive Function and Physical Performance in Cognitive Frailty: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nutrition Health & Aging, 22(8), 944–951. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-018-1090-9
- De Carmargo Smolarek, A., Ferreira, L., Mascarenhas, L. P. G., McAnulty, S. R., Varela, K., Dangui, M. C. A., De Barros, M. D. M., Utter, A. C., & Souza-Junior, T. P. (2016). The effects of strength training on cognitive performance in elderly women. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 749. https://doi.org/10.2147/cia.s102126
- MacKenzie-Shalders, K., Kelly, J. T., So, D. K. C., Coffey, V. G., & Byrne, N. M. (2020). The effect of exercise interventions on resting metabolic rate: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38(14), 1635–1649. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2020.1754716
- McMurray, R. G., Soares, J., Caspersen, C. J., & McCurdy, T. H. (2014). Examining Variations of Resting Metabolic Rate of Adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(7), 1352–1358. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000000232
- Tucker, L. A., & Maxwell, K. L. (1992). Effects of Weight Training on the Emotional Well-Being and Body Image of Females: Predictors of Greatest Benefit. American Journal of Health Promotion, 6(5), 338–371. https://doi.org/10.4278/0890-1171-6.5.338
- Sani, S. K. H., Fathirezaie, Z., Brand, S., Pühse, U., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., Gerber, M., & Talepasand, S. (2016). Physical activity and self-esteem: testing direct and indirect relationships associated with psychological and physical mechanisms. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Volume 12, 2617–2625. https://doi.org/10.2147/ndt.s116811
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. (2022, July 28). www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
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