Four ways bodybuilding boosts your functional fitness
If you think that bodybuilding is 'all show and no go' then you couldn't be further from the truth
It's not just about stepping on stage at the Mr. Olympia. Building muscle size and strength can aid your athleticism and functional fitness in many ways.
1) Personal protection
Growing a muscle involves increasing its cross-sectional area - a posh way of saying 'size'.
True, the biggest guys don't always possess the most pound-for-pound strength. However, in a general sense, the larger a muscle's surface area, the better it can absorb force and impact.
By building more muscle mass, you're directly increasing your durability.
Whether your preferred activities involve rugby, football, MMA or more extreme pursuits, being able to handle physical stress and shock is always a plus.
2) Standing strength
Often, the more difficult you can make an exercise, the greater your gains will be from it.
Lifting free weights such as barbells and dumbbells are particularly beneficial when done standing.
It's estimated that your strength from a standing position amounts to just under half your bodyweight. For instance, if you weigh 80kg, then the most you'd be able to press horizontally in front of you would likely be between 30-40kg.
This pales in comparison to the maximum amount you can press while lying on a flat bench. The secret to developing more standing power isn't necessarily more benching though, but in increasing your bodyweight.
Of course, this is best achieved through overall muscle gain brought about by bodybuilding. Accumulating fat won't do much for your strength nor health.
3) Protect your ticker
Heart disease kills more British men than any other condition. Improving your heart health requires more than simply switching what you butter your toast with.
It also doesn't mean you need to spend all day, every day pounding away at the treadmill.
Bodybuilding and strength-training in general improve your heart health in two main ways. Moving heavy objects burns a lot of calories - more than you think. The greater the resistance of an object, the more energy burned off moving it. Simple stuff.
Also, with specific kinds of bodybuilding such as super-sets and tri-sets, you're combining exercises together.
These increase your anaerobic fitness, muscular endurance and boost your vO2 max - the amount of oxygen you can use while exercising.
4) Death defiance
No one is immortal, but physical activity can help prolong your life and even advance its quality.
The more bodybuilding-style training you do, the greater your bone strength and density - in addition to having bigger muscles. This stays with you throughout life, so long as you stay active.
Those who regularly weight train have a reduced risk of osteoporosis - where bones become increasingly brittle and break.
This has very little to do with the aesthetic side of bodybuilding, but promotes longevity and functional fitness.
It may prove the difference in helping you carry, lift and move everyday objects. You could be 'that guy' that gets asked to help people move or lift stuff. Who doesn't want that?