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Who can tell me the difference between muscular strength and endurance? Although these abilities are interrelated they do vary.
Muscular strength is the ability to exert maximum force against resistance. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to exert submaximal force repeatedly over time.
Muscular endurance, however, depends on muscular strength. Weak muscles cannot repeat an action several times.To determine muscular strength we would use the one-repetition-maximum (1RM) method. The result of 1 RM will give you and your fitness professional an indication of your current strength level and the maximum amount of resistance you are able to life in a single effort.
Strength training enhances health and well-being. Yet, some people think that strength is necessary only for highly trained athletes, and fitness enthusiasts. In fact, a well-planned strength training program leads to increased muscle strength, endurance, muscle tone, tendon and ligament strength and bone density – all of which help to improve functional physical capacity.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength is a basic component of fitness and wellness and is crucial for optimal performance in daily activities, such as sitting, walking, doing housework and enjoying recreational activities. Strength is important becuse it improves posture, appearance and self-image. Regular strength training can also help control blood sugar. Much of the blood glucose from food consumption goes to the muscle where it is stored as glycogen. When muscles are not used, muscle cells become insulin resistant and glucose cannot enter the cells, therefore increasing the risk for diabetes.
Changes in Body Composition
A benefit of strength training, accentuated even more when combined with aerobic exercise, is a decrease in adipose or fatty tissue around the muscle fibres. The decrease in fatty tissue is often greater than muscle hypertrophy – an increase in the size of the cell. Because muscle tissue is denser than fatty tissue, people, especially women, often become discouraged because they cannot see the results readily on the scale.
Strength Training FIT TIPS
As you prepare to design your strength training program, keep the following in mind:
1.) Select exercises that will involve all major muscles groups: chest, shoulders, back, legs, arms, hip and trunk.
2.) Warm up properly before lifting weights this will increase your body temperature and reduce likliehood of injury.
Make sure you know the appropraite lifting technique
4.) Exercise larger muscle groups (chest, back, legs) before exercising smaller muscle groups (arms, abdominals, ankles).
5.) Exercise opposing muscle groups for a balanced workout. When you work your chest, also work your back. If you work the biceps, also work the triceps.
6.) Breathe! Inhale during the eccentric phase (bringing the weight down) and exhale during the concentric phase (lifting or pushing the weight up) and avoid holding your breath!
7.) Stretch it all out at the end of your workout to help your muscles return to their normal resting length and to minimize muscle soreness and risk of injury.
There is so much to discuss when it comes to strength training: mode of training, resistance, sets and frequency. Tune in next Wednesday when I discuss how much weight you should be using to stimulate strength development.
1.) Delmonico, MJ, Harris, TB, Visser, M et al. (2009) Longitudinal study of muscle strength, quality, and adipose tissue infiltration.
2.) Hoeger, Locke, Lauzon (2009) Principles and Labs for Fitness and Wellness Pages 134-161