You are now aware of several convincing reasons to get involved in a strength training program. You may feel, however, that the people who participate in strength training studies are somehow different from yourself. You probably assume that they have a pretty high fitness level to start with, right? Not usually. In fact, most of the 1,132 adults who have participated in our strength research programs over the past five years were previously inactive, overweight, and out of shape. Yet, on average, after just two months of training, they added 2.4 pounds of muscle, lost 4.6 pounds of fat, and increased strength by 43 percent. They also lowered resting blood pressure by 4 percent and increased joint flexibility by 16 percent.
All of these outcomes help make everyday tasks requiring physical effort easier to do and participation in recreational activities more successful. For example, a large group of golfers averaging 52 years of age improved their driving power by four percent after completing our strength training program. Many of these were former athletes who had become too busy to exercise, sliding into a sedentary lifestyle. But after seeing the results of the strength training program, they assured us that this would never happen again.
We hope you are now convinced that regular strength training can help you look better, feel better, and function better. Yet, you may still have concerns about the safety of strength training. After all, isn’t weight lifting a high risk activity? Not if you apply the training principles and follow the exercise procedures we’ll present in the following chapters. In fact, the injury rate among our adult strength training exercisers is extremely low, and as long as you remember not to do too much too soon, you’ll probably fare well, too. To reduce the chances of injury, we’ll provide special guidelines for those starting with low strength. Simply look for the boxes that say “For Lower Strength Levels.”
So, should every adult buy a set of barbells? That is one option, but you may prefer the efficiency of well designed strength training machines. We’ll show you how to exercise properly with both free weights and resistance machines as
well as some other training alternatives. And for you who have strength trained in the past, we will present productive programs for safely regaining your muscular fitness.