Resistance training captures exercises that are done using an external force (resistance).
Whether you’re a fitness beginner, enthusiast, or martial artist, it’s important to include resistance training in your workout at least 2-3 days a week. It doesn’t matter how old you are or even your fitness goal. There are many benefits to this type of training.
The main benefits are:
- Increases muscle mass and allows for greater force production. So basically, you can feel more Hulk. I joke here – but yes when done correctly, resistance training develops your muscles, and with larger muscles things take less effort.
- Strengthens ligaments and tendons. These are the supporting structures of the bones and muscles enabling better movement and workout efficiency. It also reduces the risk of injury.
- Increases bone density and strength. I can’t stress enough how important this is, especially as we age. As we get older, our bones naturally become weaker. Resistance training helps to preserve our bone strength and even increase it by triggering bone-forming cells to get busy!
- Improves sports performance. Think about controlling your kicks at height, hitting a tennis ball, or improving your race time.
Sounds good so far?
Here’s some less obvious perks:
- Postural improvement. Strengthens the core muscles and stabilises the bones and joints.
- Increases metabolism. More muscle percentage in the body needs more calories to be sustained than the needs of fat.
- Body fat percentage decreases. Resistance training continues to work wonders even after the workout by continuing to burn some extra calories. This together with more muscle burning more calories will deplete some of the fat storage in the body.
So, you may be reading these awesome benefits but think that you don’t have weights to exercise with…or that you may not want to lift heavy amounts.
That’s not a problem!
You see, resistance training can be done in many ways, such as:
- Free weights (e.g. dumbbells and barbells)
- Bodyweight (e.g. push ups)
- Fixed resistance machines
- Resistance bands
- Isometrics (muscle contraction against an object that doesn’t move, e.g. wall sit)
When I first started my fitness journey, I spent a year purely on fixed resistance machines that were powered by the air pressure. As a complete beginner, my muscles were underdeveloped and my knowledge of technique was not there to use free weights effectively (and to be honest, I thought the idea of using a barbell in particular was scary).
Here’s a short clip of the room and equipment:
Your resistance training schedule will really depend on your individual needs and goals. Especially for those starting out (but also for others wanting to review their current plan), it’s recommended that you seek advice from a fitness professional. That way, you’ll be getting the most out of your workout plan and that it’s done safely.