Body building gets a bad reputation now-a-days. Functional fitness is the fad and the media feeds on functional fitness competitions and races. Although many of these functional fitness brands have successfully ruined body building in many people's eyes, we take a more scientific view. Let's take a step back, away from the media and the biased opinions, and observe body building training with a scientific eye.
First, let's make some observation about what body building really is:
1) Body building is a form of resistance exercise.
2) Body building focuses on "building the body" into a stronger, more sculpted version of itself. The goal is often to be a lean and muscular as possible.
3) Body building typically uses isolation-type exercises to target specific muscle groups.
4) Body building typically includes weight training and cardiovascular exercise.
5) Body building can be done with free-weights or machines with guides movement paths and indirect movement of weights through a system of cables and pulleys.
Second, where is body building used?
1) Body building is used in a traditional gym setting where people are all trying to get stronger and leaner. This is what most people picture, the meat heads walking around hogging equipment while they stare at themselves in the mirror more than they lift weights and carry their protein shake around with them.
2) Body building is used in sport specific training programs for athletes to focus on specific muscle groups to prevent imbalances and injuries.
3) Body building exercises are used as a small part of functional fitness programs to help maintain balance in joints and muscle groups.
4) Body building exercises are used in physical therapy and rehab sessions to help get exercise and develop muscle without aggravating an already existing injury.
Seems like the observations are growing the perspective for the use of body building a little bit...
Third, what are the physiological benefits of body building? (That a science term for how does it make your body function better?)
1) Resistance training is good for bone health as it stimulates your body to build and maintain bone mass.
2) Raising your heart rate for 15-30 minutes out of a body building training session is great for your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar control.
3) Building muscle helps make normal tasks outside of the gym easier.
4) If planned and trained well, body building can maintain good muscle balance and prevent injury.
5) The exercise during the session burns plenty of calories, but the muscle being built after the workout increase your metabolism for the long run.
Seems like, scientifically, there can be some REAL benefits to body building training in a traditional gym. Now, the goal of this article is not to point out any negatives. At VFC, we like to just try to be as unbiased as we can. Body building isn't all that bad. If it fits your goals and your preferences, you can get some serious health benefit from it!