It’s a common misconception that strength & conditioning-type training is only for the super fit or sports athletes. There is, however, a lot of research which demonstrates how this type of training can benefit people of all ages and skill levels with varying health & fitness related goals. Here are some of the benefits with accompanying studies which reinforce this idea.
- Improved general health: Strength and conditioning training can help improve overall health by reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It also helps improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis as you age. Review this study from Westcott, Wayne L. “Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health.” Current Sports Medicine Reports Vol. 11, No. 4 (2012): 209-216.
- Increased muscle strength: It stands to reason, strength training aids in the development of stronger muscles, which allows you to perform daily activities more efficiently and with less effort. The National Library of Medicine published this 2017 article in which the authors found that higher set volumes in strength and conditioning training were associated with greater strength gains, supporting the importance of training volume for optimal results. Ralston, Grant W., et al. “The effect of weekly set volume on strength gain: a meta-analysis.” Sports Medicine Vol. 47, No. 12 (2017): 2585-2601.
- Better balance and stability: Improving strength and coordination through conditioning exercises can significantly reduce the risk of falls and injuries, particularly in older adults. ACSM outlines the numerous health benefits of incorporating strength and conditioning training into a fitness regimen, including improved muscular strength, bone density, balance, and overall quality of life. Garber, Carol Ewing., et al. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Vol. 43, No. 7 (2011): 1334-1359.
- Enhanced flexibility and mobility: Incorporating strength and conditioning exercises into your routine can help you maintain or regain flexibility and mobility, leading to a better quality of life. This research article presents a study that examined the effects of combined resistance and flexibility training on mobility, strength, and flexibility in older adults. The results of this study showed improvements in these domains, suggesting that strength & conditioning training can indeed enhance flexibility and mobility.
- Weight management: Strength training can help increase your resting metabolic rate, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight if that’s your goal. Furthermore, increasing muscle mass can help counteract the natural loss of muscle that occurs with age, preventing the onset of sarcopenia. This study highlights the effectiveness of resistance training in managing obesity, as it causes significant reductions in body fat and increases in lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.
- Mental health benefits: As fitness professionals, we know this from our own experience. Strength and conditioning training can improve mental health through the release of endorphins, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, accomplishing fitness goals can boost self-esteem and self-confidence. This 2014 study found that exercise programmes improved depressive symptoms & quality of life in older adults. But we know it does this for everyone.
- Increased athletic performance: Whether you participate in recreational sports or just enjoy other physical activities, strength and conditioning training can help improve your performance by enhancing your overall fitness level. We don’t need a study to demonstrate this. It’s the basic principle of all fitness training – adaptation.
- Improved posture: Strength and conditioning exercises can help you maintain good posture, which can alleviate back and neck pain and reduce the risk of injury. Posture is developed at a young age and therefore, the earlier we correct posture, the better. This 2017 study showed that there was a significant improvement in forward head and protracted shoulder posture in the intervention group, providing evidence that strength and conditioning training with a specific focus on posture is effective in improving postural alignment in adolescents. This further emphasizes the importance of incorporating strength and conditioning programs in adolescence to promote good posture and prevent potential issues later in life.
- Injury prevention: Regular strength and conditioning training helps to strengthen muscles, tendons, and ligaments, reducing the risk of injury both in everyday activities and sports. This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed that strength training has a preventive effect on sports injuries, reducing the risk of injuries by approximately 68%.
Strength & conditioning type training is not something we, or our clients, should be scared of. While its introduction to client programmes should be carefully planned, the end results will be extremely beneficial to any client, no matter what their goal.
The TRAINFITNESS Strength & Conditioning course was put together by two of the industry’s leading S&C experts, James Wild & Richard Scrivener. The course is a blended study course which includes online theory and a week-long (Monday to Friday) clinic held in London venue. View all upcoming dates here.