Regular strength training helps to preserve your lean muscle.
If you do nothing to preserve or enhance your muscle your body fat will increase. An increase in body fat can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing especially as you age. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two times a week.
Benefits of lean muscle
Lean muscle not only looks better than fat but strength training also helps:
- Increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories and maintain a healthy weight.
- Improve balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.
- Reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes.
- Improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.
Different ways to increase your strength.
Body weight exercises, resistance tubing, free weights and weight machines can help preserve and enhance your lean muscle. There are pros and cons to each style depending on your fitness level and knowledge as well as your goals.
We recently met the founder of X3 Bar and learned about variable resistance training. Power lifters have been incorporating variable resistance training into their workouts for years by adding bands and chains into their lifts. Doing so increases the effort throughout the full range of motion.
If you have no intention of becoming a power lifter, variable resistance training can still work for you. Dr. John Jaquish, founder of the X3 Bar, developed his solution after developing a research protocol for a study on human performance and bone being done by a London based hospital.
Q+A with Dr. John Jaquish
Q: Who gets the most benefit from using a X3 Bar? Those already doing a regular strength program or those just starting out?
JJ: Everyone benefits whether they are new to working out or a power lifter. In fact, a 2008 study of 45 sedentary middle aged women concluded that low intensity elastic band training was found to be at least as effective as weight training.
Q: If someone is new to strength training, is it possible for them to hurt themselves using a X3 Bar?
JJ: There is always a risk of injury with any exercise if not done with correct form. With that said, X3 has a low risk of injury because it gives you more force in the range of motion where you can actually recruit muscle tissue. In your weaker ranges which are often awkward positions, your nervous system system works to protect your joints by limiting the force that can be applied.
Q: How can they learn the correct form to do the exercises? Are there trainers offering instruction?
JJ: We have a free 12 week online program that teaches every exercise, form and technique. It’s a great way to learn how to use the X3 especially if you’re intrinsically motivated. Some trainers are also using the X3 Bar at gyms and have found that it helps their clients achieve better results.
Q: For ideal results, should people continue their strength program with free weights and/or machines?
JJ: Some chose to use X3 as a finishing set to a body part, but if they understand how it works, they will never lift a weight again. Many people have made this shift including some pro athletes. Plus for those who like to workout at home or have to travel frequently, X3 is a perfect solution. It doesn’t take much space to store or use which makes it easier to maintain your workout program.
Q: Why X3 bar? Is it worth the cost?
JJ: With X3 you can double over a heavy duty band and perform an exercise at over 500lbs of force. It’s not safe or comfortable to apply that kind of force if the band is secured to your ankle or wrist. Plus the X3 Bar is made with quality materials to last you a lifetime.
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