Many people, at the beginning of any exercise or weight-training program have one common question: how long will it take for me to get stronger? The answer varies, of course, depending on age, gender and current activity level but there are several common factors for everyone.
Strength Gain – Skill and Muscle Memory
At the start of any training program, your technique is typically subpar. Most of your time is spent in learning the skill. Whether it is walking properly for fitness, rollerblading or even strength training, you first need to learn how to perform the actions and movements associated with that skill correctly. Once you’ve learned the skill, which typically takes only a short time (few weeks), all your energy is put into that exercise’s performance. The more you participate in any form of exercise, the more quickly your nervous system becomes familiar with the movements. Once you’ve learned how to lift weights properly, for example, your muscles ‘know’ what they are supposed to do. It takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks for your muscles to gain some strength. But the strength gain during this period is mainly due to enhanced technique, skill and muscle memory and not because of muscle growth.
Strength Gain – Muscle Growth
Only after 10 weeks of training your muscles begin to grow. You must know that muscle growth is due to the increase in size of muscle fibres and not because of increase in muscle cells. In general, after about 10 weeks of training you can expect to gain strength anywhere between 7% and 40%. To get this, you will need to exercise focusing each muscle group at least 2 times a week. It’s also good to know that larger muscle groups will grow faster compared to smaller muscle groups. Your chest and back muscles (large muscles) will grow faster than your smaller muscles, arms and shoulders.
Body Shape and Type
Every person has different body type and shape. Exercise and strength training won’t give you a new body shape but will make you look fit and toned. Women, in particular, shrink from lifting weights thinking they will become bulky and broad when this just isn’t the reality. The female body does not have the same muscle mass as a man’s, nor does it have high amounts of the strength hormone, testosterone.
Gaining strength won’t happen overnight by any means. Work at it diligently and you will definitely get bigger, stronger and sexier.