Over the past decade or so, a quiet revolution has taken place. Strength training has moved out of the dungeon and into the forefront of the push for health and wellness — for men and women, young and old.

Ryan Hudson of Level 5 CrossFit Sisters has helped to lead the charge in his hometown. He’s seen his weightlifting classes change. There are always plenty of women involved, and these days some regular classes look like seniors classes because so many older folks are engaged in lifting heavy things — for the health benefits and for fun (see related story, this page).

Strength training is critical to retaining bone density, and it improves basic function in day-to-day life.

Cody Tweeten who recently moved from Wyoming to take a position as a trainer at Sisters Athletic Club, says “I do try to steer people toward strength training because it has so many added benefits.”

For clients who don’t like weights or find them intimidating, he finds resistance bands a good substitute. The key is to get some resistance going to build up strength. And that’s not just for athletes. It’s about the quality of daily life.

“People don’t realize what strength training does for them on a daily basis,” Tweeten said.

Tweeten recalls a client back in Wyoming who had a very simple and prosaic motivation for strength training:

“Her mom couldn’t squat down to pick up her kids. She didn’t want that to be her… Family is usually a pretty good motivator.”

Hudson emphasizes that your physical condition when you start training isn’t the key factor. The most important thing is that you’re mentally prepared to work hard, to keep applying yourself. Because to be effective, strength training must be challenging.

“You’ve got to be up for this mentally,” Hudson said. “I don’t care where you are physically. When people come in, I tell them this is a place where people work really hard and get really good results.”

A lot of intimidation and stigma around weight training has fallen away — the notion that it makes you “musclebound” or that women who train with weights will bulk up. Women don’t have the same testosterone levels as men.

“You don’t really see that bulking you see in men,” Tweeten said.

What you do see, as Hudson can attest, is women lifting amounts they would never have thought possible and looking and feeling more fit than they ever have in their lives. You see men getting stronger and encouraging others.

And you see older folks staying strong enough to pick up their grandkids — and keep up with them in all the activities Sisters has to offer.