Strength Training Benefits | 110+ Stats & Facts | Research Review

Posted on 11 September, 2021 by Nicholas Rizzo

We've read and analyzed thousands of scientific articles regarding how regular exercise benefits you, with hundreds of which being focused on the overall benefits of strength training. The top strength training benefits we uncovered from the research that stresses the importance of strength training include:

  • Increased strength, muscle, and power
  • It makes you run faster, jump higher, and be quicker
  • Improves overall athletic performance
  • Keeps bones strong and joints healthy
  • It burns calories, increases metabolism, and burns fat
  • Improves overall body mechanics and functional movements
  • Effective for overall health, from cardiovascular health to diabetes
  • Helps your brain maintain and support healthy cognitive functioning 
  • A strong aid in helping mental health
  • Known to help you live a longer and decrease physical age

Benefits of strength training for increasing strength and muscle mass

One of the most obvious benefits of resistance training is the increase in muscle mass and overall strength of participants. 

On a study comparing high- and low-frequency strength training sessions, it was determined that

  • Both are effective in increasing lean muscles mass by 1.9% and 2%, respectively
  • HFT chest press is more effective in improving strength by 11%
  • LFT hack squat strengthens the lower body more at 24%

On study regarding muscle strength, it suggested high-frequency strength training:

  • Is more effective when you want to gain muscle strength
  • Strength training done 3x a week, with two sets per session, lessens muscle fatigue but still provides strength gains

Based on a 12-week study done on medically healthy adults, strength training 

  • Increased overall muscle strength by 38.6%
  • Reduced percent body fat by 3%

Regardless of the intensity of strength training, it resulted in:

  • Stronger muscles
  • Heightened physical fitness
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced anxiety

Benefits for athletes and athletic performance

Strength training is usually associated with competitive bodybuilders, but decades of studies have shown it can help athletes improve their game.

Strength training helps you jump higher 

There are several types of strength training exercises, but not all are suitable for people who want to improve their vertical jump. Deadlifts, a type of strength training, have been found effective in increasing vertical jump height by 4% to 7.4% after 10 weeks of training.

According to a study done on handball players who did strength training 2 times a week for 6 weeks, there was an increase of:

  • 6.1% in squat jump height
  • 3.8% in countermovement jump height 
  • 6.8% in 40 consecutive jump height

Kettlebell training has been found to be effective in improving vertical jumps as reported by a 6-week study, with strength training done 2 times a week. After the training period, it improved

  • Vertical jump performance by 2.17%
  • Back squat 1RM strength by 4.5%

In another study, it was revealed that Olympic weight training was most effective in improving lower body function. After the training period, it was noted that 

  • Squat jump performance by 9.5%
  • Countermovement jump by 7.1%
  • 10-meter sprint was faster by 3.7%

Benefits of strength training in running speed and endurance

Running uses muscles of the lower legs and the core muscles for stability. Thus engaging in strength training that targets those muscle groups can help improve running performance.

In a 6-week study that involved core strength training routine, participants reported:

  • An 11% improvement in balance
  • Running 47 seconds faster during a 5,000-meter run
  • A 176.4% improvement in running speed that those who did not do core strength training

Distance runners who replaced endurance training with strength training for 8 weeks manifested improvements in 

  • 1RM by 33.2%
  • Rate of force development by 26%
  • Running economy by 5%
  • Time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic speed increased by 21.3%

Benefits of strength training for other athletes

Competitive swimmers who added strength training to their workout routine for 8 weeks logged:

  • 5.7% - 10.7% faster time during the 100-meter sprint
  • 12.5% - 14% increase in stroke frequency

Adolescent male basketball players who did 10 weeks of resistance training experience an increase of:

  • 12.5% in squat jump performance
  • 10.2% in countermovement jump
  • 10% improvement in vertical jump
  • 9.5% in drop jump
  • 7.65 in the seated medicine ball throw

For soccer players, strength training for 6-12 weeks, and increasing 1RM squat by 15% to 26.8% can improve:

  • Sprint performance by 2%
  • Countermovement jump by 6.8%
  • Jump squat by 6.8%
  • Jump ability tasks by 6.2%
  • Change of direction speed by 1.3%
  • 10-meter sprint speed by 1.9% to 2.4%

Handball players who did 6 weeks of strength training, twice a week, noticed: 

  • An increase of 2.1% in lean body mass
  • A reduction in fat mass by 15.7%
  • Lowered body fat content by 16.4%

Benefits of strength training for bones and joints

Muscles aren’t the only ones affected when you strength train. Resistance training increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures. Strength training also positively impacts the joints, helping it stay flexible and even reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

In a 2-year study of people with early-onset rheumatoid arthritis, it was discovered that strength training done 2-3 times a week helped increase:

  • Muscle strength by 19-59%
  • Bone mass density in the femoral neck by 1.64%
  • BMD in the spine by 5.34%

Based on several studies on people who suffer from osteoarthritis, 8 weeks or more of strength training:

  • Reduces joint pain
  • Increases strength in the lower extremities
  • Improves range of motion and mobility

Benefits of strength training for weight loss and metabolism

The key to weight loss is increasing muscle mass. Studies have shown that muscle tissue burns more calories compared to fat tissues. Thus, strength training activities that help tone and bulk up muscles can be used to control weight gain or weight loss.

In an 18-month study done on older adults, it was discovered that diet with weight training is more effective than diet alone or diet+aerobic exercise. 

Strength training with proper diet results in

  • Body fat mass loss of 19%
  • The least lean muscle mass loss at only 1.5%
  • Knee extensor strength gains of 15%

Benefits of strength training in improving body mechanics

Strength training has different effects on muscles. Muscles can shorten or lengthen, depending on the type of workout done. When the muscles of the back become fatigued or lengthen too much, it results in poor posture. 

Based on a study of women aged 65 to 82 years, strength training for 12 weeks resulted in:

  • Balance improvement by 75.8%
  • Increase lower limb strength by 51.7%
  • Increased endurance by 21.4% based on the 2-minute step test

Several studies have also shown the relationship between strength training and posture which include:

  • Activating deep muscles which are made up of slow-twitch fibers that are responsible for maintaining posture
  • Fixing kyphosis, or rounded back, by doing resistance training workouts that target the shoulders and upper back
  • Reducing lordosis by doing weighted hip thrust exercises

Benefits of strength training for overall health

Intense physical activities, like strength training, get your heart pumping faster. And when done regularly, like any muscle in the body, gets stronger the more you do resistance training.

12 weeks of resistance training combined with aerobic exercise increased cardio-respiratory fitness by 13.3% and also resulted in the reduction of: 

  • Bodyweight by 1.6%
  • Body fat by 2.6%
  • Abdominal fat by 2.8%
  • ApoB48 level by 32%

Based on a study on elder women on the effects of resistance training, after 11 weeks of regular training, HDL level increased by 21.9% and also logged lower:

  • Total cholesterol by 5.8%
  • LDL by 17%
  • Triglyceride levels by 25.5%

In a different study among men, 8 weeks of weightlifting resulted in:

  • Increased HDL by 13.7%
  • Muscle mass gain by 14.2%
  • Higher VO2max by 8.8%
  • Lowered LDL level by 8.3%
  • Decreased fat percent by 9.3%

In a 9-year study of asymptomatic men, it was discovered that strength training lowered the risk of incident metabolic syndrome by 

  • 39% in men who are overweight or obese
  • 44% in men with normal body weight

In a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, it was concluded that people who did resistance training experienced a reduction of:

  • 4.08 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure
  • 1.39 mmHG in their diastolic blood pressure

Strength training benefits for prevention and management of diabetes

People with diabetes are advised to do strength training as the increase in muscle help use up excess blood sugar, and also aids in insulin regulation.

A study focusing on the effects of strength training in people with diabetes, 4-6 weeks of resistance training can: 

  • Increase glucose disposal rate by 48%
  • Reduce A1C from 8.75% to 7.6%
  • Up muscle glycogen storage by 31%
  • Lower fat mass by 2.5%

 

An 18-year study of the effects of resistance training shared that 150 minutes or more of strength training per week resulted in the:

  • 34% reduction of risk developing type 2 diabetes in general
  • 60% reduction of risk developing T2D in people with BMI ≥ 30
  • 40% reduction of risk developing T2D in people with no familial history of the disease

Benefits of strength training for brain and mental health

Like other forms of physical activities, strength training has been proven to improve the mental and emotional health of people too.

In a study of people with mild cognitive impairment who did 18 months of resistance training:

  • 48% of study participants showed normal ADAS-Cog scores
  • Improvements in executive functions reached 74%
  • Global cognitive functions increased by 48%

Based on several studies we’ve curated, resistance training:

  • Significantly reduces depressive symptoms
  • Lowers symptoms of anxiety
  • Improves mood
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Lessen alcohol consumption
  • Reduce chronic fatigue
  • Improve sleep

Benefits of strength training for sleep 

Strength training has also been found effective in improving sleep and sleep quality. After 8-weeks of low-intensity resistance training:

  • Those who suffer from poor sleep quality reportedly improved by 30%
  • Poor sleepers were greatly reduced from 66% to 26%

Benefits of strength training for women

Strength training is not only beneficial to men but to women as well. Though there is a connotation that resistance training makes women look less feminine in terms of body shape, that is not always the case.

Based on several randomized trials of pre-menopausal women, it was discovered that full-body resistance training 2 times a week resulted in:

  • 35-37% increase on overall strength
  • 14% improvement in dynamic balance
  • 1.2kg increase on total body muscle mass
  • 27% increase in overall physical activity outside of resistance training
  • 1% gain in bone mass density in the femoral neck and lumbar spine

These women also experienced:

  • The most fat loss with insignificant lean muscle mass loss
  • Maintained total bone body mineral content
  • Improved balance
  • Decreased health risks diabetes and heart diseases

Other benefits of strength training programs for women include:

  • Reduction of type 2 diabetes risk by 30%
  • Lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases by 17%

Benefits of strength training for cancer and mortality

Decades of studies have shown that resistance training is more effective than cardio workouts in preventing some forms of cancer.

Strength training sessions can reduce the risk of developing at least 13 types of cancers, including

  • Kidney cancer by 48%
  • Bladder cancer by 36%
  • Colon cancer by 25%

Based on several studies, 2 sessions of strength-promoting exercises per week has the potential to lower:

  • All-cause mortality by 23%
  • Cancer mortality by 31%
  • All-cause mortality in cancer survivors by 33%

In older people who underwent surgical repair of osteoporotic hip fracture, strength training helped decrease:

  • mortality by 81%
  • nursing home admission 84%

FAQ about strength training

What is strength training?

Strength training is any exercise that strengthens your muscles by forcing your muscles to contract against some form of a resistance.  It can be done using free weights (such as dumbbells), machines, body weight, or other methods. 

What are the benefits of specific strength training exercises? 

Each individual strength exercise provides some of the overall benefits of strength training while also providing unique pros, cons, and benefits.  Can read more about other forms of exercise we have researched here: 

What is HIIT strength training and how do I do it?

HIIT strength training consists of combining the high intensisty concepts of HIIT with strength exercises or by combining the benefits of cardio workouts in-between strength exercises. This is one way to maximize the benefits of HIIT for weight loss, as strength training is a potent means to burn fat and increase lean body mass. 

Are there any forms of cardio that can help build strength?

By increasing the intensity and resistance of the cardio you are doing, it can become beneficial for building strength and even muscle. 

What's a great strength training program for beginners?

Nick Rizzo, the Fitness Research Director also has a background in competitive powerlifting. In his experience and opinion, the best strength training program for beginners is Stronglifts 5x5 Workout. By focusing on the most essential movements, full-body workouts, and consistent progression, it allows you to improve strength significantly for beginners. 

Why is it important to strength train?

Despite some misconceptions, strength training is not just about being muscular. It is essential to maintaining your overall health, functional strength, natural movement, prevents injury, and much more. Even the benefits of strength training for golf are immense. In addition, it's impact quality of life, ability to be functionally independent, and help in fighting the overall aging process can't be understated. That's why the benefits of resistance training for seniors and older adults are so immense

Conclusion

Strength conditioning exercises are good for people who want to improve their muscle build and strength. These types of workouts also deliver other benefits like improving jumping and running benefits for athletes.

Resistance training also improves the overall function of the body as it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, some cancers, and even reduce all-cause mortality.

But despite the many benefits offered by strength training, it should be done with proper form and care to reduce the risk of injury.

About RunRepeat

RunRepeat is a sneakerhead’s haven. It hosts a plethora of shoes ranging from athletic footwear to lifestyle and casual kicks. You can find user and expert reviews, which can help you decide which trainer to get.

There are different types of strength training workouts and the type of training shoes you wear can mean hitting your personal record, or getting injured. If you tend to do a lot of squats or you do Olympic weightlifting, weightlifting shoes with heels will help keep the back of your foot firmly planted on the floor.

Meanwhile, if you tend to mix your workouts, you can wear CrossFit shoes. These trainers have sole units that do not bounce a lot which helps keep lifters stable doing snatches or power cleans. Another option is to use minimalist training shoes as it helps with proprioception. If you are unsure what shoes you should be looking for, feel free to read our guide on the best training shoes and our comprehensive guide on  how what you wear on your feet impacts your lifting

Use of content

  • If you enjoyed reading the benefits of strength training and want to know more, you can reach out to Nick Rizzo at nick@runrepeat.com. Nick is also available to do interviews.
  • Feel free to use the data in this article in any online publication. We only request that you link back to this original source.

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Author
Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.