Resistance training, weight training, strength training, gym or even home workouts. It does not really matter what name you put on it, what it matters are the benefits and adaptations driven by challenging movement against resistance. As simple as a workout may seem, movement triggers complex reactions and pathways leading to great benefits to our systems, tissues and structures. Lets breakdown the benefits of strength training.
1. Function and joint mechanics
Our body is meant to move in certain ways. Its anatomic structure defines optimal ranges of movement and function. From a biomechanical standpoint, structure dictates function (G.Roskopf). The skeleton structure is attached, bone to bone, with ligaments and whereas all this complex architecure puzzle defines how joints will be able to move and be functional, what does really make the structure mobile are muscles. Without the muscle system, bone and ligament strucutre integry will fail.
The complexity of anatomy is as beautiful as interesting it can be leading exercise professionals to find out that the challenge of movement, injury and discomfort lies not in the structural architecture, if it has not been damaged, rather on the whole muscle system function.
Optimized muscle function leads to flawless joint mechanics. Resistance training does not only contribute to gain strength, contributes to mechanically protect structural integrity meanwhile providing the right motion and performance in joints and therefore in consequence overall body mechanics.
2. Bone, soft tissue and muscle mass health
Moving and exercising at a certain intensity triggers and act as valuable stimulous in all our biological systems. From a structural point of view the good amount of mechanical stress and tension of physical activity, exercise and even sport helps stimulate bone health increasing bone mass density and decreasing bone fragility. Mechanical stress at the joints activate pathways that allow ligements to strenghthen an renew its stucutre growing them thiker and stronger. Proper exercise stimulus, progression and mechanical function over the years, specially during growth, reinforces joint cartillage preping them for further use and demand. The last but not least, muscle mass plays a very crucial role, not has only been proven to be a contributing factor for decresing all cause mortality and a health indicator, it allows functional capacity and movement. It provides autonomy and besides incresing physical performance when trained and current aesthetics social trends of bodybuilding, muscle mass acts as an organ providing valuable health regulators.
3.Impacts and regulates metabolism.
As far as we know we are born to move, otherwise our whole anatomical structure would not be as it is. Considering this thought from an evolutive standpoint our abilities and capacities do match with what we have.
It is clear that resistance training can improve body function mechanics and bone, soft tissue and muscle mass health but that is not all of it.
In a plain way metabolism is the energy spend to keep an organism alive. We spend energy to be alive, and our systems continuously exchange biological currency to keep life, build up structure or get rid of it.
From one side and being aware of the modern life paradigm where sedentarism is takeing over population daily living, resistance training is a useful tool to positively impact overall health and metabolic body function. On the other hand, resistance training provides a platform to improve our multiple biological capacities of energy production and tolerance to exercise. Resistance training into a physical exercise program is able to target any variety of phyisical effort ultimately preparing readiness and improving performance to whatever goal is set.
4. Improves fitness performance and injury risk.
Resistance training plays a part for the whole. From an Strength & Conditioing perspective is crucial that physical exercise serves to delibaretely improves and maintain a biological adaptation for an specific purpose. Resistance training is a methodology that can simultaniously contribute to health and performance. At indvidual relative conditions, if its either for pre/post injury or sport pefromance, the goal to increase fitness or individual readiness prevails.
From an overall perspective the ultimate goal is to improve function, capacities and abilities. When all comes around, improved function and joint mechanics, structural health (bone, soft tissue and muscle) and maintained or improved metabolism builds up an escenario of optimized function to decrease injury and health risk.
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About the author:
Albert Piñol – MSc in Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology. Specialized in exercise physiology, hypoxia, neuromuscular system and motor skill development. IG: @albert_pinol