Cardio is king! But there are tremendous advantages to weight training as well. Surprisingly, many of the weightlifting benefits may be psychological.

In our last couple of posts, we’ve talked quite a bit about the health benefits of anaerobic and aerobic training. The main point: studies show that these types of training will help maintain overall heart health and miscellaneous health markers that indicate increases in human longevity. Translation: exercises like metabolic conditioning workouts have the greatest impact on heart health and help you live longer.

It’s no secret, the fitness pyramid puts metabolic exercise at the foundation of fitness (well, just above good quality nutrition – lack of nutrition is a non-starter).

Without metabolic conditioning, which stimulates the three metabolic pathways we will lose the ability to respond to the unknown and unknowable. Specifically, the ability to respond with a fight or flight response.

Ok, so we went there in the last post. So what is the counter point of weight training?

Weight Training will increase or maintain adult muscle mass

As we age, particularly starting at 40 years of age, humans lose about 5% of their muscle mass (and some bone density) every ten years. This loss assumes that you are still reasonably active.People  living  a sedentary  existence  after  40  will  see  a steeper  decline.Heavy Clean

Studies have shown that, with continued strength and resistance training, the rate of loss can be slowed, staved off entirely, or in some cases reversed with an actual muscle mass gains.

From a health perspective, for people dying of “old age”, the end is usually kicked off by an injury, and that injury is normally caused by a fall. Most falls in the elderly are the result of loss of strength and balance. Both of which, are as you may have guessed, improved through strength training.

Weight Training motivates people to continue exercise

In a study published through the New York Times recently, a large study group was asked to strength train as part of a program for 6 months. After 6-months, the study was ended, but the group was encouraged to continue to strength train “on their own” through fitness facilities in their area.

Squat Snatch on the Beach

Member Ed Kampelman showing that you can always find a location for some strength training.

After a year, researches checked back in and 50% of the study group was still strength training. The anticipated result of the study was that they would have seen about 30% still exercising. The conclusion? Strength training provides confidence and challenging goals that help keep a person motivated to exercise.

I’m still a fan of equal parts mono-structural, gymnastic, metabolic and strength work. The study hasn’t changed my thinking there, but the fact that strength training provides motivation to stay in an exercise routine is encouraging, and it supports the comments we received after a brief test of higher cardio training this fall.

If having a daily strength cycle in programming at CrossFit St. Louis is what it takes to help people keep exercising, then we need a strength cycle almost daily.


*Pictures in this article are of current and former members of our community.