Bodybuilding: benefits at all levels || Besides muscle building, weight training offers many health benefits

Health benefits

Let's start by putting our finger on a subject that is often a source of debate and questioning: Is bodybuilding in adolescents recommended? Dangerous? It should be understood that strength training is positive in individuals of all ages, including adolescents. A common misconception suggests that weight training could slow growth, that the loads used and muscle development would stop bone growth.

This claim is totally wrong and no serious scientific study has been able to justify it. Indeed, muscle building in adolescents, when used with all due care, has even been shown to be positive for bone and muscle growth in adolescents.

Muscle, when trained, strengthens joints, bones and tendons thus preventing common injuries and prompting the body to grow. In no case is this a source of stopping growth. The interest for the adolescent who practices bodybuilding is above all to strengthen himself. Between 14 and 17 years old it is not necessarily useful to seek muscle mass and it may be inadvisable to use heavy loads which increase the risk of injury. Thus, training for bodyweight, with a set of exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, abs exercises and possibly some exercises with dumbbells is a very good initiative.

At the age of 17-18, it is possible to turn to a more complete training with the use of bars, weights and the various devices available in the gym. The human body reacts extremely well to the efforts associated with bodybuilding, the only obligation is to train progressively and adapted to its age, sporting level and physical capacities. The teenager who begins bodybuilding should under no circumstances place himself, for example, under a squat bar and attempt heavy series. The addition of new exercises, weight and intensity must be slow and gradual, you must acquire the technique and prepare your body for the various efforts by strengthening it. Under these conditions, the teenager is fit for practice and can undertake to build muscles without risk.

In adults: strength training promotes bone health

Thus in adolescents, weight training can contribute to bone growth, but what are its effects for adults? Well, strength training helps prevent the loss of total bone mass in aging men. In fact, as the body ages, it tends to decrease its bone mass, weight training helps counter this effect and therefore has better longevity and better bone health.

In order to effectively contribute to this process it is important to undertake a lifestyle and diet that is also conducive to good health. Have sufficient energy intake, as well as micro and macronutrients. In particular, watch your protein, calcium and vitamin D intake, which are building blocks.

Strength training for better cardiovascular health

A factor often forgotten and yet, bodybuilding is first and foremost a sport like any other. It allows you to exercise physically and work the heart. When training is adequate, strength training can help improve the cardiovascular system.

Strength training can be done with an intensity that promotes significant cardiovascular work and therefore improves health. Among the bodybuilding practices that contribute to it, we think in particular of cross-training (Crossfit being the most famous brand of this discipline) which consists in mixing phases of musculation with cardio phases.

Strength training in long series helps to develop muscular endurance and to a certain extent cardiovascular endurance. Think in particular of the leg work often done in long sets where you are totally out of breath at the end of the series. Apply this long set logic to many other exercises and you are sure to be working out cardio.

Finally, the work in the form of circuit-training with the sequence of many exercises and very short rest times is extremely effective. This is akin to super sets, namely ending a series of one exercise and immediately following up with a series of another exercise. For example, perform a series of pull-ups, immediately followed by a series of dips (back push-ups used to strengthen the arms), then a series of push-ups. Take 1 minute 30 minutes rest and do this circuit again.

Strength training to prevent back pain and injuries
Among the other benefits related to bodybuilding in adults, we can also mention the reduction of back pain. It may seem trivial but it is an evil that affects several million people in France. Whether it is a temporary or recurring ailment, weight training can help prevent it. Indeed, studies have shown that strengthening the abdominal muscles of the abdomen and back muscles (trapezius, dorsal, erector spine) helps maintain the spine and improve posture, thus reducing the risk of headache. back.

Did you know ?

Women with back pain By strengthening the abdominal (lumbar) belt and back muscles, weight training helps prevent back pain and lowers the risk of injury.

It should also be noted that the gains in strength and endurance linked to functional exercises also make it possible to avoid everyday injuries and pains. Functional exercises are strength training exercises that can be linked to movements performed in everyday life (eg picking up something on the ground, lifting something heavy, pulling, pushing, etc.). Among the functional exercises we can notably mention the squat (the action of bending the legs then raising), the bench press (the action of pushing a load in front of you) or the deadlift (picking up something on the ground). All of these exercises improve movement and posture, as well as strengthen the muscles associated with the movement.

Physical benefits: More muscular and stronger

No surprise here, bodybuilding of course allows you to develop muscle mass. Training-induced hypertrophy involves the development of muscle fibers so that they are bigger and more resilient week after week. Adequate strength training is therefore a source of muscle growth and physical development.

For that, it is important to start a program which is adapted to your sporting level and your objective. It's about finding the right balance and frequency of training in order to stimulate the muscle enough to cause it to grow bigger, while still giving the body enough rest between sessions so that it can recover effectively and not be in a situation of overtraining.

Each workout should also be thought of with a muscle gain lens, meaning that the number of sets and reps should match the search for hypertrophy. Working very heavy being more favorable to the strength and working light more favorable to muscular endurance, it is necessary to privilege, for a muscular development, the use of medium and heavy series (between 6 and 15 repetitions generally).

The number of workouts and their intensity should take into account your availability and your bodybuilding experience. If you are just starting out and this is your first year of training, you cannot apply the same routine as an advanced practitioner, no matter if it is the strongest in your gym or your bodybuilder. prefer.

On the contrary, you will start with a simple program, preferably in full body, about three times a week. The full body consists in working all the muscles of the body at each session by mainly selecting the large weight training exercises that stimulate many muscles. At the top of the list: the squat, the thigh press, the row, the bench presses and dumbbells or the pull-ups.

Muscles to lose weight

To lose weight effectively and especially sustainably, there is no better alternative than building muscle. Every pound of muscle in your body takes a lot of energy to maintain. This is how muscle mass keeps metabolism at high levels. Metabolism is your energy expenditure at rest, that is to say the amount of energy (calories) that your body needs to support the proper functioning of your body. Metabolism increases as muscle mass increases. See our reports How to increase your metabolism and burn more fat and Strength training, an effective way to lose fat.

Thus the work of bodybuilding for men and women leads to the creation of muscle mass and thus the elevation of the metabolism. This causes more energy expenditure each day and therefore promotes fat loss. Diet methods advocating a significant drop in your food intake and little bodybuilding work are therefore to be absolutely banned. By raising your metabolism through weight training, you do not have to significantly reduce your food intake. Thus the results of weight loss are sustainable, as long as you maintain regular sports work which allows you to maintain your muscle mass, or even create more. In short, the more muscle you get, the more you can eat.

A way to improve your athletic performance

Power, strength, sheathing and muscular endurance

For some time now, scientific research has proven the value of bodybuilding work in addition to serious sports practice. Each sport requires a specific work of strengthening, work of power, balance and strength that can be supported by weight training. Indeed, if once the technique took precedence over the physical aspect, today these two factors are taken extremely seriously at the highest level. Combat sports obviously but also team sports, racquet, ball ... have all made the transfer to an adequate physical and athletic preparation which includes weight training.

Let us take the concrete example of the boxer: his objective will be to work on his power and muscular endurance, namely to become stronger at the same weight, faster and more enduring. It will therefore be of great interest to work in bodybuilding to develop these aspects. On the other hand, if its objective is not the gain of muscle mass, this will generally deviate from the work in hypertrophy which promotes the gain of muscle volume, which is not necessarily desirable because this can slow down the movements of the patient. boxer.

In the same way, the sprinter will seek the development of his explosiveness, that is to say the capacity of his muscle fibers to contract as quickly as possible in order to produce a great deal of power and energy in a very short time. Do not wonder any more why the athletes who run the 100 meters have the looks of bodybuilders (Maurice Green, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell ...). Strength training is among the most effective in increasing their performance.

Of course, the technical aspect of running is always essential: repeating the same gestures, the same races, the same grip, stride length, knee climbs, etc. thousands of times. But combining this technical work and increasing muscle power is undoubtedly the most efficient work and the little extra needed to be among the best in your sport.

Building muscle to avoid injury

Finally, in experienced athletes, as in Sunday runners, muscle strengthening helps prevent injury. In fact, strengthening critical areas of the human body makes it possible to avoid the most frequent injuries, in particular by strengthening fragile bones. The work of the back and lower back has an incredible impact on the maintenance of the spine. Strength training of the hamstrings (back of the thigh) and quadriceps (front of the thigh) has a positive impact on the knee joints. Strengthening the pectorals, shoulders and trapezius muscles provides good support for the shoulder joint.

Thus bodybuilding is not reserved only for people wishing to become bodybuildées. It is recommended for everyone, regardless of age, athletic level and goals. On the other hand, it is important to follow the program adapted to your profile and what you are looking for so as not to waste time and possibly risk injuring yourself.

In the best case, start by consulting the advice of a sports professional, your gym's sports coach, a home coach or an online coach to get feedback on the type of training and exercises you need.

If you want to start with yourself, remember that it's your progress that matters most. Start with an intensity that you are sure you have mastered, take your time and gradually work your way up to a higher frequency and intensity. Those who do the most early on don't have the best results, but those who focus on the long term and persevere, while minimizing the risk of injury and overtraining.

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