Strength training is obviously how to build muscle mass but it’s a whole lot more. It’s what stabilizes your whole body and powers you through your day, in the gym and out of it. There are all kinds of options for strength training. Here is a quick guide to the main ones.
Body-weight exercises are a good option if you want to build strength without significantly bulking up. They’re also useful for when you can’t get to the gym or just want a change of scenery. The fact that you just use your own body’s weight means that they can be done anywhere you can stand up and/or lie down.
If you do have space and budget for equipment, a pull-up bar is a great investment. It will really open up the range of exercises you can do. You can even get pull-up bars that can be installed without drilling so renters needn’t miss out.
Resistance bands essentially up the game on bodyweight exercises. They can’t deliver the same benefits as proper weights. On the plus side, however, they are budget-friendly and pack away to practically nothing. This means they are a great option if you’re working out in a small space, heading outdoors, or going off on your travels.
Grip strengtheners, also known as hand strengtheners, do exactly what their names suggest. They won’t build much muscle on their own. They will help you develop a strong grip which will help you perform other exercises safely, for example, throwing around kettlebells.
Dumbbells and barbells
Dumbbells may look like undersized barbells. In reality, however, the two types of weights serve very different purposes. The fact that dumbbells are so much smaller and lighter than barbells means that they can be used to target muscles very precisely. In fact, you can even use them to target single muscles.
The fact that barbells are so much bigger than dumbbells means they have pretty much the opposite effect. You can load them with a lot more weight and hence really work on your overall strength. This makes it possible to do explosive lifts like snatches which are generally totally impractical with dumbbells.
If you go to a gym then the best solution is often to use a combination of dumbbells and barbells. If you’re working out at home, on the other hand, barbells may not be a very practical option. You may, therefore, want to look at kettlebells and/or medicine balls instead.
Kettlebells and medicine balls
Since the pandemic began, kettlebells have surged in popularity and it’s easy to see why. A kettlebell workout mainly trains strength but it can also deliver a decent amount of cardio. What’s more, it can do so in a small space. Medicine balls aren’t as widely known or appreciated but they still have a lot to offer.
Both kettlebells and medicine balls train multiple muscles at a time and allow you to practice explosive exercises. The big difference between them is that kettlebells have handles so you can swing them as well as carry and throw them. That said, kettlebells aren’t true spheres so you can’t play throwing games with them the way you can with medicine balls.