It isn’t news that most of us need more hours in the day. This is why short and intensive cardio workouts have become so popular. There is evidence that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can give the same results as moderate workouts in one-fifth of the time.
What about those that want to build muscle strength? Is that also possible with only one or two sessions a week?
It isn’t just about looking good in the short sleeves. Strength training improves overall body health and builds resistance against injury. Strong muscles support joints, and that pays dividends both now and in later life.
Like cardio work, strength training has also been shown to reduce blood pressure. That is a bonus for future heart health. Weight training is also weight-bearing, which is needed to maintain and build bone strength.
The studies have been small, but each group of once-a-week trainers really did see strength improvements. It is also reassuring to note that one study group was men over 60, so it is never too late.
Muscles are unlikely to bulk up with a weekly regime, but if this isn’t your goal then you won’t be worried. What you will get is better balance and faster-reacting muscle fibres.
If you can fit in two strength workouts, you really will see benefits. The extra session also reduces the risk of post-workout muscle soreness. Research seems to indicate that a 15 minute workout is the minimum needed.
Twice a week also doesn’t risk over-training. Your muscles will have a chance to recover which is when they really build themselves.
As always, never skimp on your warm up phase however short the workout. For real effect, you need to train to fatigue levels. So once a set of weights gets too easy, increase the reps or up the kilos to maintain benefits.
don't get owt for nowt, as grandpa used to say - but good to know that all sessions are worth the effort.
It's good to know that just a once-weekly weight training session can make a difference - because that's sometimes all I can squeeze in!
Although.... the more often you train the faster and better the results. QED.