So you think strength training is for people who want to look like Conan the Barbarian or Xena Warrior Princess? Think again. While building muscle might the main goal for some, there are many benefits of strength training that often slip under the radar. And they're not just physical, but mental, too.

In this blog, we'll look at the importance of strength training and why you should include it in your workout routine.

Advice for Beginners

Before we get onto the benefits, let’s start with a little pep talk. If you’re new to strength training, it’s important not to push yourself too hard, too quickly. After all, if you find an exercise an uphill struggle, you’re more likely to give up altogether and throw in the towel. Our suggestion? Start by doing fewer reps, then gradually up the ante as your strength and fitness improves.

Also, it’s a common misconception that weights and resistance bands are the only way to train your strength. But any exercise that requires your muscles to work against a weight or force is considered a strength training exercise. For example, push-ups and squats are great for improving your strength because they require you to work against your own body weight.

Strengthen Your Muscles

Now, onto the benefits of strength training. And we’ll kick things off with the obvious one: improving your muscular strength. This is important for a number of reasons. As well as looking aesthetically pleasing, stronger muscles tire less quickly than weaker muscles, which helps to increase your endurance. And the great thing about increasing your endurance is that it allows you to work out for even longer and burn calories at a faster rate.

Increase Your Bone Density

Strength training puts stress on your bones. While that might sound like a bad thing, it’s surprisingly beneficial. Putting stress on your bones increases your bone density which helps to reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis and other conditions in later life. In addition, having stronger bones improves your balance and posture, reducing the risk of back problems and other injuries.

Strengthen Your Joints

So, we’ve discussed how increasing your bone density can reduce your risk of injury. But bone density alone is only part of the puzzle. If you really want to reduce your risk of injury, you're going to need strong joints, too. The great thing about strength training is that it helps to strengthen the muscles that support your joints. By doing so, it allows your body to operate in a more functional and balanced way, improving your posture and flexibility.

Increase Your Metabolic Rate

Strength training reduces your body fat and increases your lean muscle mass, which helps to improve your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Put simply, if you have more muscle than fat, you'll have a better metabolism and burn calories at a higher rate – even when you’re resting! In addition, strength training helps to keep your metabolic rate at a high level for longer. So, you’ll continue to burn calories long after your workout is over. Pretty cool, right?

Improve Your Mental Health

Like all forms of exercise, strength training releases endorphins – feel-good hormones that help to boost your wellbeing. Benefits include higher self-esteem, greater confidence, and lower stress and anxiety levels. In addition, releasing endorphins helps to combat symptoms of depression. Endorphins also produce dopamine, a chemical that gives you a natural high and improves your motivation. So, the more you exercise, the more motivated you’ll be to stick to it and achieve your fitness goals.

Improve Your Sleep Pattern

Strength training raises you core body temperature which makes you feel more alert – a bit like drinking an energy drink! Thankfully, there’s no risk of a comedown. Instead, your core body temperature will start to drop an hour or two after exercise. As it drops, you’ll start to feel more tired, making it easier to fall asleep. Getting a good night’s sleep helps to improve your mood, increase your concentration, and lower your risk of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.