Great strength training results don't always depend on lifting heavy weights or high-intensity training. You can get the same benefits without putting too much pressure on your tendons and joints. Low-impact strength training is an ideal choice if your goal is to build strength without exerting extra stress on tendons and joints.
Low-impact strength training exercises can be done without any equipment but can be equally as challenging as high-impact exercises. It all depends on the type of training you choose.
In this article, we explore low-impact strength training, the science behind it, who can benefit from it, and what are some of the best low-impact strength training exercises.
What is low-impact strength training?
Strength training is generally considered lower-impact, but traditional strength training exercises can take a toll on joints. It can be especially difficult for people who are coming back from a physical injury, older people, or if you are someone experiencing soreness in the joints. That's why modifications to strength training are made to make it a low-impact workout.
Low-impact strength training is a variation of the general low-impact exercise. It does not involve any form of plyometric forces, such as jumping or running, which put excess stress on joints or tendons.
One of the characteristic traits of a low-impact strength exercise is that one of your feet is in contact with the ground at all times. These workouts are easy and gentle on the joints and tendons. You will often come across low-impact strength training for seniors because most rehabilitation programs use these exercises. But it also leads to a common misconception that it must be for older adults if it's low impact. Low-impact strength training is for everyone; you must choose the variation depending on your goals.
A low-impact weight training will generally avoid putting pressure on sensitive areas such as the hips, ankles, knees, shoulders, and wrists. There is discomfort, but that's a good sign that indicates your body is working harder to get stronger.
Who should do low-impact exercises?
Anyone looking for an easier way to build strength and muscles instead of heavy lifting should opt for low-impact exercises.
With low-impact exercises, you can quickly increase your heart rate without stressing other sensitive organs or locations on the body. For older people, it is the best way to stay active without putting too much stress on their bodies. These exercises are also suitable for keeping joints healthy while minimizing pressure. Walking, cycling, swimming, etc., are low-impact exercises. Another reason most physicians recommend low-impact strength training for seniors is its rehabilitating benefits for several conditions such as arthritis, aches, mobility problems, and pains.
That being said, low-impact strength training for beginners is also highly recommended. Most people cannot see through their fitness routine because they start with high-impact strength training that tires their bodies. Instead of witnessing benefits, some may end up with an injury or worsening pain.
As a beginner, your focus should be on easing into strength training. For this purpose, total-body low-impact strength training is the best strategy. Low-impact exercises gradually boost your physical ability to support muscles and provide enough blood for high-intensity workouts. The LIT Strength Machine is a great exercise machine to start low-impact resistance training at home. It's an all-in-one rower, Pilates reformer, and strength trainer with unique Dual Tank Technology. The LIT Strength machine offers 500+ low-impact exercises, including rowing, cardio, Pilates, and more.
Another area of application of low-impact strength training is for post-injury recovery. Experts and scientists agree that low-impact exercises are essential for post-injury rehabilitation. Clinical studies suggest that poorly managed injury is the most significant risk for re-injury.
Whether accidents, sports injuries, or after-surgery rehabilitation, low-impact training benefits in all scenarios. You cannot rely on any other form of exercise because doing too much too fast can cause re-injury. It can also inhibit the healing process and prolong recovery time. With low-impact workouts, you can encourage the healing process as these programs help restore the proper function of a specific body area, whether it's rebuilding strength, increasing range of motion, or improving flexibility after any injury to the musculoskeletal system. Even in professional sports, rehabilitation through low-impact strength workouts ensures full recovery, prevents re-injury, and minimizes time off from sports.
5 Benefits of low-impact strength training
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, regardless of age and gender, adults must strength train twice a week. Regular strength training is essential to maintain muscle mass, stronger bones, better balance, weight management, and joint flexibility. But it is not mandatory to do high-intensity workouts. A modification can help you manage your health and well-being without roughing your tendons or joints.
1. Most suitable strength training for people without muscle strength
When new to exercise or returning after a long hiatus, you don't want to stress your joints or tendons. You need to build strength to support strength training. When you start low-impact strength training, you gradually break and heal the muscle fibers that make them stronger. As you take it slow, your body does not need as much time to recover. This is important because if you feel too sore or in pain at the beginning, you will most likely quit exercising. With low-impact strength training, you will work out more frequently and can easily stay consistent with a routine.
2. You are protected against any muscle loss
We need to improve our balance and muscle mass composition as we age. A low-impact training program is most suitable to get there. A study published by the Current Sports Medicine Reports found that depression, arthritic discomfort, and functional dependability in older adults can be reduced with consistent strength training.
3. Promotes joints stability and muscle building
Mayo Clinic suggests that with low-impact strength training, you can build muscles and improve joint stability simultaneously. That's what isometric exercises are for. These exercises contract muscles without changing the position of the joint around those muscles. The plank is an excellent example of an isometric exercise. Such exercises can build muscles, strengthen the core, and promote joint stabilization.
4. Low-impact strength training helps in active recovery
In professional sports, low-impact resistance training is combined with high-impact workouts for maximum benefits. If you want to gain serious muscle mass, you will have to lift weights, but you cannot do such HIIT every day of the week. For the rest of the week, you can use low-impact exercises like Pilates, resistance bands, and foam rolling to keep muscles active while allowing them to recover from the toll of the lift days.
5. Can prevent and treat joint pain
Counterintuitive but true, by working out the joints or areas where there is pain due to weakness, like the knee, you can improve the symptoms. Joint pains occur because the muscles joining the two bones are weak. With such a knee, you cannot do squats or lunges, but there are low-impact exercises that can target the muscles around the affected area to improve the strength of the muscles.
Three low-impact strength training modalities
It is a set of exercises focusing on maintaining correct posture, core strength, and high repetitions. While as challenging as any high-intensity workout, Pilates is more doable because of the way the movements of the exercises are designed. It is one of the best low-impact strength training workouts that require no heavy weights or jumping. You can target any muscle group you want. The LIT Strength Machine is an excellent Pilates reformer for beginners, adults, and seniors.
2. Bodyweight strength training
Low-impact resistance training is possible without any external weights. All you need is to use your body weight effectively. Bodyweight strength training is one of the best low-impact resistance training. Here is a list of great bodyweight strength training exercises; choose one that fits your requirements. Please note that you must avoid jumping jacks and burpees and stick with basic low-impact exercises like squats and modified push-ups.
3. Resistance band training
Tube resistance bands offer a varied level of tension to target a particular group of muscles. Resistance band training is another excellent low-impact strength workout. It is easier to target small muscles like those in the shoulders and hips with low-intensity resistance training. The LIT Strength Machine entirely transforms into a resistance trainer with little adjustments. You can use our machine for low-impact as well as rehab exercises.
The LIT Strength Machine: Most Versatile, Low-Impact Strength Trainer
With the engineering and research we have put into the LIT Strength Machine, we can confidently label it as the ultimate strength trainer on the planet.
Any low-impact strength training workout demands that your is always balanced and in control of weights. Traditional strength trainers are impossible as they are not based on adjustable water resistance. We have replaced conventional weight systems with a water-resistance mechanism for the LIT Strength Machine. This novel approach allows beginners, seniors, or injured adults to maintain a sustainable, low-impact routine for increasing long-term strength, power, and stability.
We call it the most versatile strength trainer on the planet because it offers 500+ workouts for low-impact strength training at home. Cardio, barre, Pilates, strength training, rowing, or any other workout regimen, the LIT Strength Machine supports them all.
Low-impact strength training is excellent for improving your strength or recovering from an injury that caused physical strength loss. If you wish to protect your joints and tendons while building strength and muscles, there is no safer and more effective alternative to a low-impact workout.