4 Reasons Why Gaining Muscle Is Key To Healthy Aging

As we get older, experts point to scientific evidence that suggests strength exercise as the best antidote to physical and cognitive deterioration. Muscle protects the bones, reduces fat accumulation, helps to lower the risk of diabetes and improves cardiac function. So, it’s time to get over any fears you might have around lifting weights, recognize that it’s important to eat sufficient protein, and take steps to mitigate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

How can I gain muscle with strength training?

According to personal trainer and author Sara Tabares: “One of the keys to promoting muscle mass gain is mechanical tension, which refers to the force generated by the muscle fibers during exercise. The more mechanical tension there is, the closer we are to reaching muscle failure–i.e., not being able to perform a single repetition anymore.” Once you reach the point where it’s more difficult to complete your final reps, you are reaching mechanical tension.

Each exercise during a workout should feel like a considerable challenge to the muscles, but it’s important to be careful and find the optimal stress point without going overboard–this is to avoid injury or overtraining. If you’re new to strength training, consider booking in for a session with a personal trainer to help plan and map out the right workouts for you, and crucially, to make them safe and effective.

Progressive overload: What is it and how do you apply it correctly?

The objective with strength training using weights is to advance, which can be achieved by increasing the load, volume, frequency, or adding in any other alteration that modifies the training routine from the norm. Changes should be gradual and introduced within a plan, explains Tabares: “Without planning there is no order, and without order there are no results.”

Tabares uses the “2 in 2” rule. “If you can complete two more repetitions than the target in the last set of an exercise, in two consecutive training sessions, then the volume of all the sets of that exercise should be increased going forward.”

Volume and frequency of workouts gain muscle mass

In order to gain muscle, there are two other crucial elements to focus on when it comes to training: workout volume, and workout frequency. “Research shows that you can gain muscle mass regardless of how many times you train, but if you want to improve further, it’s the volume [of reps within an individual session] that’s the determinant.”

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