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STRENGTH TRAINING. THE MINIMUM NEEDED TO GET RESULTS

STRENGTH TRAINING. THE MINIMUM NEEDED TO GET RESULTS

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?

WHY DOES STRENGTH TRAINING MATTER?

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.

WHAT CAN I ACHIEVE WITH A WEEKLY STRENGTH WORKOUT?

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.

WHAT ABOUT TWICE-WEEKLY?

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.

ANY OTHER TOP TIPS?

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.

 Strength training doesn’t need to be daily to reap rewards. With a flexible gym pass system, it’s easy!

the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

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