Well-developed muscles don’t just change the way people look; muscle growth also benefits the body internally. Strong muscles take oxygen and nutrients from the blood much more efficiently than weak ones, meaning that all your activities require less cardiac work and less strain is placed on your heart.
On days you can’t get to the gym, try this simple strength-building exercise at home:
- Place a chair with armrests up against a wall.
- Sit in the chair and put your feet flat on the floor.
- Lean forwards while keeping your shoulders and back straight.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands on the armrests of the chair, so they are in line with your torso.
- Pressing down on your hands, lift yourself a few inches by straightening your arms.
- Raise your upper body and thighs whilst keeping your feet in contact with the floor.
- Rest and repeat the set, aiming for 8–12 repetitions.
Feeding your muscles the right amount of protein is essential for developing strength; your protein needs increase when you are carrying out intense training. The recommended daily allowance is around 1.7 - 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day (as apposed to 0.8 grams for those not training). If this need is not met through diet then your body may start to draw upon its own muscle tissue and your progress will suffer.