If you are regularly engaged in sports activities or you start to think of doing so in the future, you have probably found yourself in the middle of discussions about how strong your muscles should be to meet up with new workout challenges and what is the best way to improve their strength.
Among the few major aspects of physical fitness and health such as cardiovascular preparedness, body flexibility, stamina or muscular endurance, and body composition is muscular strength as a significant component.
Muscular strength not only provides the essential power in your body for performing various types of physical activities, from daily tasks such as lifting and carrying heavy objects, but it is also important for your overall health.
Strong, toned muscles are something both professional athletes and gym beginners aspire to because they have direct and indirect benefits to physical health.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that the level of the strength of your muscles is distinguished from their endurance. In other words, muscular strength and muscle endurance are two different, though equally important, components of physical fitness.
If you want to understand how muscle strength works, what are the ways to improve it and what are its benefits, just read on!
What Is Muscular Strength
Muscular strength refers to the maximum amount of force a muscle can produce in a single effort for a short period of time. In practice, this means that if you do fewer repetitions with more weight, you will boost your strength levels.
The level of muscular strength, though, depends on genetics, age, sex and physical preparedness.
On the other hand, muscular endurance may be defined as the ability to repeat movements over an extended period of time without feeling fatigued or burnout. For example, doing 100 squats in a row to a rhythm or skiing down a hill for a longer period of time.
At the gym, or while creating your home exercise plan, you will encounter a variety of strength and endurance workouts that you can incorporate in your exercise routine. The most effective activities of this type simultaneously build the strength and the endurance for getting you in a balanced physical shape.
How to Improve Muscle Definition and Strength
Regardless of your age or abilities, you can also dedicate and work on improving your muscle strength by doing strength training. This will provide better workout performance, flexibility, mobility and it will reduce the risk of possible injuries.
Fitness experts recommend doing strength training for 2- 3 times a week through full-body workouts or exercises that will target specific body areas that you feel is a need for improvement.
Remember to begin each training with a quick warm-up in order to set your body in an action mood and prevent soreness of muscles and injuries.
Warming-up is a super important element of any workout routine so make sure you spare 10 minutes to stretch and do short intervals of cardio exercises such as jumping jacks, squats and reverse lunges.
Here is a suggested exercise program of 6 exercises that will activate and improve muscular areas but also strengthen and define your body.
- Get down on all fours
- Place your hands a bit wider than your shoulder length
- Strengthen your arms and legs
- Lower and press your body to the floor
- Push yourself back and repeat
2. Burpee with Push-Ups
- Stand with your feet slightly apart
- Squat deeply, place your hands on the floor and kick back as if you were doing a push-up
- Do a push-up
- Bring your legs back and jump up with your hands above your head
3. Single-Leg Toe Touches
- Stand on your right leg and place your left leg slightly behind by raising it off the floor
- Place your arms out to your sides in shoulder length
- Bend your right leg at the knee and lean over to touch the right foot with your left hand, then rise up again. Keep your leg in the air and don’t place it on the ground
- Do the same with the other leg. then repeat one more time
4. Mountain Climbers
- Place hand and knees on the ground
- Place the left foot near your left hand and extend the right leg behind
- Switch legs in your own rhythm. Back and forth twice. Taking your leg close to your hand.
- Keep arms in the same position
5. Single-Leg Hip Raise
- Lie on your back and bent one leg at the knee but leave it on the floor
- Raise the other leg and keep it in line with the rested leg
- Push your hips up and keep your leg elevated
- Pause for several seconds then return to the initial position
- Switch the leg and repeat
- place and bend your arms at your elbows
- balance body weight on your forearms
- tighten your abs and glutes and keep your body in a straight line
- hold as long as you can and repeat 2- 3 times
Do these 6 exercises for a minute each in a single set, rest for a minute and repeat 2-3 times. Do this workout 3-4 times a week in order to achieve maximum results.
How to Measure Muscular Strength
In order to measure muscular strength, you can do simple strength exercises that will test your muscles.
Try doing as many push-ups as you can. If you can do more than 12, way to go! If you stop at anything lower than 7, you need to enhance your strength training.
Another physical challenge that may test your strength is squatting. You can use the restroom to perform this and see how long you can hold a squat position. If you do more than 30 seconds, well done! If you can barely count to 15, you should probably focus on this muscular area in the future.
Finally, try out the good, old crunches and do as many as you can without taking a pause. If you reach 20 or go beyond, cheers to you! If you do less than 12, you might want to consider more dedication to your core in the future,
Benefits of Building Muscular Strength
Strength training provides a wide array of health benefits as strong muscles will keep your body toned and enable you to do regular everyday activities like exercising, lifting, and carrying heavy objects or move in a balanced and controlled way.
If you do strength workout regularly, you will feel more confident to do any sports and recreational activities like skiing, jogging, and playing football or volleyball as these require strong muscles and increased stamina.
This will reduce the risk of injuries and falls and also provide you with stronger legs, abdomen, core, chest, buttocks, back and shoulders but also bones, ligaments, and tendons.
Moreover, a well-built muscular strength will maintain healthy body weight, give you a good posture that will ease your daily movements that are often hindered by a sedentary lifestyle that increases the risk of back pain, weak joints, and arthritis.
Although some men and especially women might feel worried to “bulk up” by training with heavy weights, this shouldn’t worry you as weight and strength pieces of training have proven to be beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.
Studies have shown that men’s genetic predispositions make them develop more muscle mass through heavy lifting whereas women lack certain levels of testosterone to pump up muscle to an overly high extent .
In other words, building more muscles is a good thing for any healthy individual. The more muscles you have, the more calories you will burn and shred those extra pounds step by step while feeling strong.
Finally, if you enhance muscle strength and endurance, you inevitably reduce fatigue and physical weakness and thus, improve your athletic performance and work capacity.
The Bottom Line
Apart from getting a good- looking and toned body, if you improve muscular strength, you will positively affect your health and the ability to perform and complete the tasks of your everyday schedule.
Nevertheless, if you are a beginner, don’t forget to consult a professional trainer that will advise you on the type of training that would best affect your muscle and strength. Remember that building muscles takes time and requires diligence, so try to stay motivated and focused on your training until you notice the initial benefits and results.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced sports practitioner or a professional athlete you ought to consider occasional follow-up of the levels of your stamina progress that will indicate if you need to challenge your body strength with a different training pace and dynamics.
Also, consider consulting your doctor or healthcare specialist that would suggest a proper diet that will, nonetheless, affect the progress of building muscle mass in a proper way. Don’t forget that the best fitness programs promote healthy, versatile nutrients, regulated sleep cycles, and an adequate workout regimen.