Benefits of Strength Training

Young woman lifting weights in the Monon Community Center.


Step into the Monon Community Center (MCC) fitness center and you’ll see a shift—dumbbells and weight machines are the new hot commodity. Why? Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders anymore! More and more gym goers are catching on to its health perks beyond bulking up. If you’re looking for a fitness routine that will boost strength, metabolism, bone density and even your confidence, then it’s time you join in on this popular fitness trend!  

What is strength training anyway?   

What exactly is strength training? Strength training, also known as resistance training, is any exercise that makes your muscles contract against an outside resistance. And we’re not just talking biceps, muscles make up 40 percent of your body weight! Fitness experts suggest training major muscle groups like chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs, and calves.  

Resistance training can take on a variety of different forms, such as weight machines, free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells), medicine balls, resistance bands, and even your own body weight (push-ups, squats, crunches). The idea is that your muscles will work to overcome the resistance, and when done consistently, your muscles will grow stronger as a result!  


It turns out, muscle matters 

Our muscle mass starts declining three to eight percent each decade after we turn 30. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to start regaining muscle mass! Multiple studies have found that relatively short sessions of strength training, a total of 12-20 exercise sets per day to be exact, can increase muscle mass in adults of all ages. A little goes a long way, taking part in one to two strength training sessions per week can help lower the mortality rate of the average adult by 40 percent. 

Regular strength training is vital to healthy aging and maintaining a high quality of life. We don’t just use our muscles to lift weights or move heavy furniture – we use them to do pretty much everything! Simple, everyday actions that we take for granted like unscrewing a jar, doing yard work, or even getting up from a chair all require some degree of muscle strength to perform.  

Man strength training at the Monon Community Center.

Impressive results – physically and mentally  

Strength training does more than increase your muscle strength. It helps you maintain your flexibility and balance, both of which reduce aches and pains and improve mobility.  

Woman smiles as she lifts weights in Monon Community Center.

And while strength training is known for helping athletes bulk up, it can also help you slim down. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism and the easier it is to burn calories. Coincidentally, getting stronger can reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, fighting insulin resistance, body fat, and high blood sugar.  

Just like every exercise that gets your body up and moving, strength training can improve your mental health by releasing ‘feel good’ chemicals like endorphins and serotonin.  

Try These Exercises! 

Here are a few simple strength training exercises to get you started. If you’re looking for more advanced exercises, consider meeting with one of our personal trainers at the Monon Community Center.  


Push-Up: One set equals 12 reps. Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should rest slightly wider than the width of your shoulders and your legs should be straight so that all your weight is on your hands and the balls of your feet. Bend your elbows and lower your chest until it nearly touches the floor. Make sure to keep your body straight the whole way down!  


Superman Y: One set equals 15 reps. Lay face down, extending your arms overhead in a ‘y’ shape. Keeping your legs straight out behind you, use your back and shoulders to lift your chest and arms off the mat.  


Bicep Curl: One set equals 12 reps. This exercise requires the use of weights. Holding one weight in each hand, stand so your feet are shoulder-length apart. Keep your palms facing upwards your elbows tucked against your body. Lift the dumbbells to your shoulders.  

Whether you train to grow your muscles, slim down, or achieve other mental and physical wellness benefits, strength training is an essential part of anyone’s daily exercise routine. 

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