The human body is a complex system that requires maintenance to function at peak levels. In early human history, the physical rigors of surviving from day to day provided the human body with all the exercise and physical exertion it needed. This forced training helped build muscle and increase stamina. The best friends of modern humans, dogs, also have a complex system that requires exercise and maintenance to function at peak levels.
Whether your dog is simply a house pet, performs physical labor on the family property, or appears in dog shows, strength training plays a critical role in your dog’s life. Providing your dog with exercise and strength training can not only improve its daily life, but it can also ensure your dog is prepared to perform when you want/need it to without any problems.
Why Strength Training Matters to Dogs
When you go to the gym or hit the trails for a run, you are undoubtedly doing so in an effort to improve your overall health. The same holds true for your dog. Strength training’s greatest benefit is the improvement of its overall health. Strength training for your dog can help maintain proper body weight. When your dog maintains a proper body weight, it deals with less stress in its joints.
Consistent exercise, such as strength training, can also help reduce the amount of fat in your dog’s body. Fat is a proven source of inflammation in your dog’s joints. This means that proper body weight through strength training not only reduces the stress of obesity on your dog’s joints, but also reduces the chances of inflammation from fat deposits.
Finally, strength training brings the added benefit of increased muscle mass and overall strength. As a result, your dog’s muscles will be able to better protect and support the movement of its joints and improve its quality of life. In conclusion, consider these other benefits of strength training:
- Stronger muscular and skeletal systems, as well as tendons and other connective tissues that prevent injury.
- Burn calories and increase metabolic rate. This allows your dog to lose weight and fight future weight gain.
- Increased performance in sporting events and working responsibilities.
What is Strength Training?
As the name implies, strength training for your dog focuses on an exercise routine that specializes in helping the body improve muscle mass, strength, and endurance. Strength training for dogs is not much different than strength training for humans. Sure, you probably hit the gym, lift weights, and sneak a peek at yourself in the mirror.
Your dog isn’t going to stand and flex in front of a mirror, but the idea is the same. The idea is to work with your dog to provide progressive levels of resistance designed to stimulate muscle growth and increased strength. Body weight exercises, not including a walk or run, are the primary forms of exercise in a strength training regimen. Walking or running, with no additional weight, is classified as cardio exercise.
Strength Training Options for your Dog
Now that you know the benefits of strength training, and what it is, you’re no doubt wonder where to start. While humans spend thousands of dollars on gym equipment and memberships, you can provide your dog strength training with little financial investments. There are a lot of ideas available to you as you look to improve your dog’s muscle mass and strength, so the following options represent some typical strength training routines that provide a good starting point.
If you live in a neighborhood with hills, or have some nearby, you have all the tools you need to begin your dog’s strength training regimen. Running up a hill with your dog uses gravity as a form of resistance, building muscle tone and improving your dog’s overall conditioning.
A popular choice in recent years, especially among owners of working breeds, is to take dogs for a walk or run with weighted vests strapped on their back. The beauty of a weighted vest is its ability to turn any exercise into a strength training routine. Any items can be placed in the vest to serve as resistance, and the vest can be worn while swimming, walking, running, or jumping around playing in the backyard. The idea is that the weight adds resistance to any movement.
Believe it or not, your dog can perform squat exercises that focus on strengthening its leg muscles. Now, there are a variety of ways this can be done. The easiest approach is to use treats that your dog leaps to retrieve or earn. Begin by telling your dog to sit or lay. Holding a treat above their head, have it jump up for the treat. After three jumps, reward your dog for the behavior, and repeat. Each jump challenges your dog’s leg muscles to grow and strengthen.
Both you and your dog will need to be in good overall condition for sprinting to work. If both parties are in shape, sprinting is a great way to build muscle tone and strength, while also improving overall conditioning. As the human, you’ll need to be out front to lead the sprinting exercise. Make sure your dog is well trained, or this exercise could devolve quickly into play and lose focus on sprinting.
Your dog’s body is just like your human body in a number of ways. Keep in mind that you cannot simply walk into a gym and start bench pressing 300 lbs. or squatting 200 lbs. Your dog needs to be eased into a strength training regimen. It is important to use a progressive scale that increases the difficulty of your dog’s regimen over time.
Bully Max Sponsored Pit Bull Rose loves working with the flirt pole
— Bully Max (@bullymax) September 5, 2014
Bully Max’s top 4 muscle building exercise for dogs:
- Spring Poles
- Flirt Poles
- Weight Pulling
- Dock Jumping
Getting the most out of your dog’s work outs with Bully Max
Without the right diet, building muscle in canines is impossible. Building muscle in humans is 80% diet, and 20% exercise – Dogs are no different. Bully Max contains all of the key nutrients and building blocks that allow your dog to pack on pounds of muscle. To get the best out of your dog, add Bully Max to your dog’s daily diet.