Have you ever considered strength training? There’s a long-standing myth that strength training is just for athletes and bodybuilders with big muscles. In fact, strength training is practical and useful for all ages, body types and abilities! It can drastically improve your quality of life, reduce your risk for disease and even help you live longer. 

Think about it: What can you do without strength? We use our muscles for almost everything on a daily basis. We carry groceries inside the house. We lift our suitcase into an overhead bin on an airplane. We play games with our kids outside. We throw a tennis ball for our dog to fetch. So, as we improve our strength, we improve our ability to live and interact well.

The benefits

Member enjoying an exercise class

Strength training will make you stronger, of course, but it also has many other benefits. Incorporating strength training into your workout routine reduces your risk of injury by strengthening the bones and muscles you use for everyday tasks. From greater mobility and flexibility to improved posture, small gains in muscle make a big difference. Strength training also helps you maintain a healthy body weight, a strong heart and sustainable blood sugar levels. In combination with these things, strength training helps burn calories efficiently and encourages endorphins so you can feel good both physically and emotionally. Are you having issues with sleep? "Strength training causes fatigue within the muscles and triggers a recovery response," says the Y’s Director of Healthy Living, Elizabeth Boles. "The recovery response involves various chemicals and hormones that can cause drowsiness and promote better sleep."

On the wellness floor

At the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, we have plenty of ways for you to incorporate strength training into your workout routine. On the wellness floor, some of our strength training equipment includes plate-loaded machines, pin-loaded machines, kettle bells, dumbbells and resistance bands. Whether you plan to lift, bench-press or squat, rest assured that we have the tools you need to build muscle!

Group exercise classes

We also offer year-round group exercise classes that are included in your membership. With unlimited classes at your disposal, we have offerings for all ages and abilities. Some of our most popular strength-focused classes are Les Mills BODYPUMP, Total Strength, Barre, and Plates and Weights. If you’re looking for a lower-impact class, we also offer H2O Cardio classes that naturally build strength as you work against the water’s resistance. Our group exercise classes not only help you to build strength—they connect our members to community, which leads to increased accountability, new friendships and that extra support you need to reach your goals. Each class is designed to help you become stronger at a pace that is comfortable to you. Learn more about group exercise class offerings here.  

Personal training

If you don’t know where to start or need some extra motivation to jumpstart your wellness journey, try a consultation with one of our personal trainers. YMCA Personal Trainers help hold you accountable to your fitness goals and provide extra encouragement to reach them. Ready to get started? Take advantage of our 3 sessions for $99 deal for new personal training clients! You will get three hour-long sessions with one of our nationally-certified trainers to work on your unique wellness plan-of-action. You can sign up at the Welcome Desk at your local center or online here

No matter where you are on your strength journey, the Y is here to help. Visit your local YMCA of Middle Tennessee center and start improving your strength—and your quality of life—today.