Why You Should Not Skip Strength Training

Why You Should Not Skip Strength Training

Walk into most gyms and you’ll find an array of cardio equipment, treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, stair steppers and all the rest. These are for the most part the most popular machines in a gym or even for home fitness, especially in the last year, sales of treadmills, pelotons and bikes have gone through the roof. Cardio for most people is the king of exercise, this is because it's simple, it's natural, and for the most part everyone knows how to run. What most people miss out on is the other side of fitness, strength training. 

To this day there is a back and forth which is better cardio work, or strength training, people are on the cardio side or the strength side. For most it is what they like to do, or it’s their competition realm, that's fine but it does not mean you should completely ignore the other.

When most people start out an exercise program for themselves and their goals they go in the cardio direction, it might work for a couple weeks then the results start to fade, the intensity doesn’t increase, the stimulus stays the same so there is no progression in the program. When there is no progression the system will slow down and do minimal.  What people are missing out on is strength training.

The human body is built for survival, it will use what it needs to adapt and survive in an environment, on the contrary if the body does not use certain aspects of it i.e. muscle tissue, brain cells, the atrophy process occurs. Muscle is lost, with inactivity and as we age muscle decreases 3 to 8% after 30 and can increase as we get older, average about half a pound a year.  We are seeing muscle mass decline even earlier now with inactivity and poor dietary choices. With the loss of muscle comes the loss of mitochondria, the power plants of the body and as those numbers decline our metabolism takes a hit, it slows down, the bodies process of turning over energy slows and this leads to fat gain, which leads to metabolic dysfunction and  obesity,  and a slew of health issues, type 2 diabetes and cancers. 

Strength training reverses all of the above, it tells the body to increase hormone production that increases muscle mass, which leads to healthy mitochondria and can increase metabolism. The ability to keep the mitochondria healthy is a huge precursor to staying healthy. Strength training impacts genes and has been shown to reverse the aging process by helping the body handle oxidative stress to tissues better.

Strength training should be performed in a full body manner, hitting the big muscle groups to get the full benefits and use the most muscle mass possible. Programs that just are isolation movements are not the best. The big movements should be squats, deadlifts, upper body push, bench press/ push ups, rows, lunges and chin ups. There are many variations of these movements that can be used.

Start to think of strength training as a base of your training program, the ability to have muscle tissue function at the highest capacity will allow your cardio work to increase. All systems in the body need balance and it is time to look at your training programs in a different way. Look to strength training to compliment your cardiovascular work and vice versa. 


  1. Westcott, Wayne L. PhD Resistance Training is Medicine, Current Sports Medicine Reports: July/August 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 4 - p 209-216

doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8 

2.Mitochondrial reticulum for cellular energy distribution in muscle. Glancy B, Hartnell LM, Malide D, Yu ZX, Combs CA, Connelly PS, Subramaniam S, Balaban RS. Nature. 2015 Jul 30;523(7562):617-20. doi: 10.1038/nature14614. PMID: 26223627.

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