How To Improve Strength & Flexibility – A Simple Guide For Beginners
Since strength and flexibility exercises help increase muscle strength and maintain bone density, you should include them in your fitness regime. Even if your goal is not to lose weight, regular strength training can still help to improve balance and reduce joint pain.
However, many people don’t understand how to improve strength and flexibility. They think just lifting weights will help improve strength. While this may work for some time, at some point, the strength gains will diminish, or you may end up with an injury.
This article discusses the best way to start strength training for a beginner. We will also discuss how often you should do strength and flexibility exercises. So, if you want to know the benefits of strength exercises and flexibility training, keep reading.
What Are Strength Exercises?
If you are unfamiliar with strength training or strength exercises, they involve forcing the muscles through incremental weight increases. This can be done through either exercises or specific types of equipment to target specific muscle groups.
However, strength exercises are generally associated with lifting weights in a gym.
When strength exercises are properly performed, they can improve overall health, and well-being and increase muscle size and strength. They can also increase tendon, ligament, and bone strength.
If strength exercises are implemented regularly into one’s training regime, they can reduce the chances of injury and also improve a person’s metabolism.
Since many sports require muscles that are resilient to fatigue, and injury, strength exercises are a central part of an athlete’s training plan.
Below are some basic strength exercises performed in the gym:
– Standing overhead dumbbell presses
– Dumbbell rows
– Single-leg deadlifts
– Side planks
Other exercises that can be performed outside the gym include:
– Triceps dips
– Bodyweight lunges
– Bodyweight squats
What Are The Benefits Of Strength And Flexibility Exercises?
There are many benefits of strength and flexibility exercises, these include:
– Increased muscle strength
– Increased muscle endurance
– Increased muscle flexibility
– Increased power
– Elevated mood
– Pain relief
– Improved mobility
– Injury prevention
Other things like weight loss, increased metabolism, and improved mobility are other benefits of strength and flexibility exercises. For most beginners looking to start, you should begin with two muscle-strengthening exercises a week and one to two flexibility exercises a week. This can be done through exercises like:
– Lifting weights
– Working with resistance bands
– Heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling
– Climbing stairs
– Hill walking and running
– Push-ups, sit-ups, and squats
– Foam rolling
– Tai Chi
How Often Should I Do Strength And Flexibility Exercises?
For most beginners, you should start with two sessions of strength and two sessions of flexibility exercises per week. This will allow enough recovery between the strength training to allow for adaptation. As your body adapts to the number of strength exercises you do, you can then increase the amount to three days a week. However, it is important when starting that you allow for ample recovery between sessions so the body can recover.
The strength exercises you do should be relative to the sport you play or the goals you have. For example, squats, calf raises, press-ups, and side planks may all be beneficial for the runner. While, the adapted side plank, spinal extension, and lunges may be more beneficial for the cyclist. Either way, you should focus on strength exercises that can help prevent injuries and make your muscles more resilient to the stress placed on them while exercising.
Flexibility exercises, on the other hand, should be done to improve the flexibility of the muscles to promote better mobility. For a runner, this can help improve their stride and running technique. For cyclists, it can help improve their position on the bike. Either way, regular flexibility training is a must for any serious athlete or fitness enthusiast.
Many health professionals promote strength training and flexibility training, as they both help maintain the ability to perform everyday tasks. They also slow down bone and muscle loss associated with aging. Flexibility exercises can also improve your posture and reduce aches and pains from everyday activities.
Should I Do Aerobic Exercises To Improve Strength?
Even though aerobic exercises primarily improve a person’s cardiovascular fitness, they can also help improve strength. Certain aerobic exercises like running and skiing can help improve muscle strength in the legs and upper body. Other exercises like rowing and even cycling can provide similar benefits.
While these all prove some advantages in building strength, they should always be combined with a regular strength training plan, as it can help improve the strength, flexibility, and mobility of the muscles you use in your dedicated sport.
In short, yes, you should do aerobic exercises to improve strength if you don’t have time to dedicate three days a week to strength exercises. Alternatively, if you have the time, spending two to three days a week doing strength exercises will benefit your aerobic fitness too.
How To Improve Strength & Flexibility – Final Thoughts
Just like any exercise regime, if your goal is to improve your strength and flexibility, make sure you allow adequate recovery between sessions. This will prevent burnout, injury, and fatigue. Which will end up harming your progression in the long run. If you are unsure of what strength or flexibility exercises you should do, reach out to a personal trainer or sports coach. They can both help set you in the right direction and provide a strength and flexibility plan based on your goals or weakness.