Today I want to focus on an aspect of training that benefits more than just runners. Strength training. That horrible vomit-inducing type of training that has been proven to have benefits to pretty much every sporting activity including outliers like horse riding, golf and old man’s marbles bowls. In fact, strength training offers benefits to e-sports as well. After all, pressing buttons harder, for longer should make you win – right?
Well, now that I’ve told you that strength training will help you improve your sporting discipline of choice, I guess it’s worth going into more details of what it actually entails. And better yet, because as you’re lazy like me, you want to avoid that vomit inducing stuff and find an easier way to build some strength into your body. Now, before I begin I want to add a small caveat here – strength training doesn’t imply building muscle – that is something different entirely. So if you want to follow my advice to get biff for a potential suitor, you might be a little disappointed. While strength training will no doubt have physical benefits and is a great fat burner, it’s not designed to make you look ripped, just fitter.
So what is strength training?
Well, it’s training to make your muscles –err, stronger. There is some more technical mumbo-jumbo to it, but I’ll leave that to someone who actually has the time for that and just give you a link to read instead. I think the name explains itself well enough, but it’s the why that most people don’t understand.
The main purpose of strength training is to enhance our ability to move more weight over time. Essentially the more strength you have, the better you can transfer your weight around in whatever motion is needed. So, focused strength training that develops the muscles you need, essentially makes you better at almost any activity. It’s that simple.
However much like a Verimark ad, that’s not all. Strength training doesn’t just mean you can move more, it also means your muscles can expand and contract faster, making you more agile and nimble in many ways. And if I haven’t won you over yet, perhaps consider some of these benefits too:
- Increases bone mineral density
- Increases confidence
- Management of arthritis, and many chronic diseases
- Improving sleep (yes Geoff, you need to do more exercise)
Type of strength training:
This includes exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges and the obvious weight training, but also includes things like speed training where you run as fast as possible for short intervals following by periods of rest or running/cycling up and down a steep hill for a period of time. The best forms of strength training though, are arguably the core exercises that focus on a wider range of movement in your body and don’t just do upper or lower body development. The type of strength exercises you do will probably depend on the sport you want to improve in, but for all-round training I would suggest a combination of push-ups, squats, lunges, planks and burpees in strength sessions interspersed with hill repeats and sprints during one of your cardio sessions.
Okay, so now that we know what strength training is and why you need it, let’s get into the real juice, how to do it in as lazy a way as possible.
Don’t break yourself
Oka, so you’re half-way through reading this article, which is now time to let you know that I lied a bit. There is no way to develop strength without tension which means you are going to need to sweat and work hard. Sorry about that. However, if you ease yourself into it, it’s a lot less painful and more forgiving on your body. If you’ve ever gone to the gym to do some training only to find yourself stiff and in pain because you introduced your body to muscles it never knew it had, then you know what it means to do strength training, but perhaps do too much at once. You don’t need to break your body to build strength. If you don’t normally do push-ups, just start by doing push-ups until you feel strain and then stop. Then do the same the next day, adding one extra push-up each day. It sounds slow, but before you know it you will be doing 50 push-ups and your body will be used to it.
Whatever you do for one side of the body, you must do for the other side. Follow that rule in your workouts and you should be able to avoid injury and muscle imbalances (which just makes you look gross). If you’re doing squats (mainly a quad exercise), also do Romanian deadlifts (which hit the hamstrings hard). Your chest exercises should be balanced with back-training lifts. You don’t necessarily have to do your balance work in the same session, but it should be done in the same week.
Another aspect of balance which is important is to balance it with your regular cardio training, whether it be cycling, running, swimming, etc. Do strength training on the days you don’t do cardio, but don’t try and do too much strength training too quickly. If you are going to do some form of strength training daily, make it push-up or sit-ups and keep your reps low and manageable. Again, the idea is to build strength, not kill yourself.
Keep reps low
To say strength training is as easy as 1-2-3 is not a lie. In fact, some bodybuilders have a reputation for being a bit dense in their upper mental realms and there is good reason for that, they don’t need to do anything complicated. If you can count to ten, you can do strength training. Whether it’s weight training, hill repeats or even push-ups, do them in intervals of ten or less.. That way your body gets sufficient rest between the intense strength workouts, which actually allows you to do more without getting too tired.
Consistency is key
I guess this is self-explanatory, but to go along with your strength training being balanced, it also needs to be consistent. Whether you do it 2 or 3 times a week, just keep doing it on a regular basis. If you’re taking too long a gap between strength sessions, your muscles tend to not develop as much as you would like.
Yes, there are even strength exercises that improve your gaming
And lastly, for those exceptionally lazy people out there –yes you can also do strength training with your hands and fingers to help develop and improve hand muscle and coordination. Here and here are some exercises for developing your muscles and bodies for a better gaming experience. You can thank me later with royalties from your e-sports winnings when you’re rich and famous.
Last Updated: August 10, 2018