Strength Training: Definition and What it is
Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Strength Training Definition and Meaning
Strength training, also known as resistance training, improves the strength and endurance of muscles by exercising a specific muscle (or group of muscles) against some type of resistance, such as dumbbells, resistance bands, weight machines, or one’s own body weight.
Strength Training Exercises
There are many different ways to strength train. Exercises can be adjusted to one’s fitness level. This includes free weights (dumbbells or barbells), resistance machines (such as leg or chest presses), bodyweight exercises (like push-ups or squats), resistance bands (like banded chest presses or leg lifts), and isometric exercises, which involve static holds (like wall sits or planks).
Benefits of Strength Training
The benefits of strength training extend beyond just muscle building. They include: enhanced bone health and muscle mass (lowering risk of osteoporosis); weight management (burning calories more efficiently); improved balance (reducing the risk of falling); disease management (helping manage conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and diabetes); and better mental health (improving mood and sense of well-being).
Strength Training: A Hinge Health Perspective
As our Hinge Health care team likes to say, movement is medicine. And that includes strength training. Exercise helps you gain strength, flexibility, and energy. When we move, our bodies create substances that help our joints, discs, and even our lungs stay lubricated so they move smoothly. By making muscles and joints work harder than usual, strength training conditions them to loosen and improves mobility and strength. It’s also an important part of any movement routine when you’re trying to heal or prevent musculoskeletal pain.
When you’re in pain, it’s tempting to take it easy and limit movement to avoid further damage. This is unlikely to help — quite the reverse in fact. Not moving enough often causes a cascade of factors that can amplify pain. Movement and exercise encourages blood and oxygen delivery to tissues for healing, keeps muscles strong and limber, and helps reduce pain. Exercise is actually one of the best ways to retrain an overprotective pain system, reminding your body that movement is normal and safe. Another bonus is that exercise releases endorphins, which can actually block pain signals from reaching the brain.
Still, we know it isn’t always so easy to get moving, especially if you’re dealing with pain from an injury (like a sprained ankle) or a chronic condition (like osteoarthritis). Physical therapy can aid in easing pain when you prefer to exercise with some support.
You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.
How Hinge Health Can Help You
If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.
The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.
Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition.
Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.
This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.
How can strength training build healthier bodies as we age? (2022, June 30). National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/how-can-strength-training-build-healthier-bodies-we-age
Strength training builds more than muscles. (2021, October 13). Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles
Witstein, J. R. (2023, August). Starting a Strength Training Program. OrthoInfo - AAOS. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/starting-a-strength-training-program/