What is resistance training?
Resistance training is any form of training in which your body/muscles are working against a certain resistance. The most common form of resistance training you’ll see in a fitness environment is lifting free weights. But all resistance training doesn’t have to require you to lift weights!
An extremely effective form of resistance training is to use your own bodyweight. You can get a great workout in, requiring minimal equipment and not a lot of space. In a lot of circumstances, bodyweight training can be more beneficial to an individual than using free weights, especially if you are new to training. Using your body as the form of resistance requires various muscles to contract at the same time to overcome this resistance (known as a compound exercise). Especially in the early stages, this will help to improve your overall strength, as well as helping to speed up your body’s ability to lose fat (more on this below).
Furthermore, I personally can’t see the point in lifting a weight if you can’t even move/lift your own bodyweight, because pure and simply, surely that’s the overriding reason as to why we should be lifting weight? To improve our ability to perform day to day tasks.
So, keep it functional in the early stages, whether that being to use your bodyweight or free weights, just avoid those pesky fancy looking isolation machines (Abductor, Adductor, Pec dec, Tricep pushdown etc.) and then find the path of which you want to take in your training (bodybuilding, powerlifting, cross-fit etc.). You’ll find your body will react a lot better to this form of exercise.
What does resistance training do to our body?
Putting it simply; when performed effectively, resistance training causes tiny tears in the muscle belly due to them not being able to cope with the load. The way in which these muscles then grow and get stronger and thicker is through how we recover (eating, sleeping, resting, stretching).
Resistance training can also have a great effect on our body’s metabolism (your body’s engine for burning energy/calories in a day). It is suggested that with low intensity steady state cardio, your body’s metabolism will rise for the duration of the session and will then level off as your heart rate comes back down to resting level. Whereas with resistance training, if performed correctly, it can spike your metabolism and is estimated that due to the strain you are putting on your body, your metabolism can stay elevated for up to a whopping 39 hours (bodybuilding.com). Therefore your body can continue to burn fat (if working in a calorie deficit) long after your training session has finished.
Another one of the vast benefits of resistance training is that your muscle mass will increase. As your muscles increase in size, they will require more calories to fuel them…….. therefore you will need to consume more food to keep growing = WIN!
As explained above, resistance training isn’t just all about muscle growth (hypertrophy), resistance training when programmed accurately can be an extremely effective fat burner through the use of super sets/triple sets/giant sets/circuits; or it can be a powerful way to enhance your muscular or cardiovascular endurance.
Due to there being so many exercises you can do on a huge variety of equipment, surely that is better than just trudging away on a treadmill four + times per week? There are so many benefits including: improved muscle definition, improved strength, lose fat faster, improved muscular endurance and most importantly…… strengthen your ticker and lungs….. and these are just to name a few!
There is so much evidence out there now that supports the benefits of resistance training! This article has only just scratched the surface! So don’t be afraid of resistance training!!!!!! You’ll be far better off for incorporating it in to your training programme!!!!
Yours in health