What is resistance training? Should you be adding it to your fitness program? Well, with the many benefits you can get from it, the answer is a firm yes. Learn some of the basics of resistance training from this article and make sure you train correctly for the best results!
What Is Resistance Training | A Beginner’s Guide
What Is Resistance Training?
Resistance training (strength or weight training) is a form of training that uses resistance (strain or some type of force) to encourage muscular contraction for strength improvement, anaerobic endurance increase, and skeletal muscle growth. It’s grounded on the principle that our muscles, when subjected to resistance, can overcome it when required to do so. In effect, muscles are worn out after exerting effort to perform the movements. The body repairs the damaged muscle fibers by fusing them together forming new (and stronger) muscle strands.
What Are the Benefits of Resistance Training?
It strengthens your muscles. Muscle damage, proper nutrition, and rest are required for muscle growth. When you subject your muscles to force or loads that resists movement, you acquire greater muscle damage. The body repairs such damage and forms larger muscles that can withstand greater resistance. Thus, you’ll notice how as you progress in your training you get stronger to lift heavier weights.
It aids in weight loss. Although you don’t burn as many calories as you do when doing aerobic exercises, strength training workouts aid in weight loss because it improves one’s resting metabolic rate. When you’re just going about your day, this is the rate at which the body uses energy while you’re resting. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Obesity found that people who do strength training four times a week for a year and a half lost the most weight versus those who solely rely on diet plans and those who did only aerobic exercises.
What Are the Forms of Resistance Training?
The different forms of resistance training include free weight exercises, the use of weight machines, the use of resistance bands, and the use of your own body weight.
Using free weights like dumbbells and barbells are a fantastic way to isolate specific muscle groups. Although they require much more attention to detail, the benefits of using free weights are tremendous. One of the advantages of the use of free weights is the involvement of stabilizing muscles during lifting. This, according to the American Council on Exercise, results in greater strength and power.
Weight machines are relatively easier to use than free weights. For one, they usually have instructions on how to properly use them. For another, they’re engineered in such a way a person will automatically perform the exercise in a good form. Like free weights, using weight machines can also isolate specific muscle groups. For example, if your hips and core are already fatigued after doing several squats but you still want to work on your quads, using a leg press or leg extension machine can target your quads alone.
With the use of resistance bands, one can do chest and shoulder presses, rows, bicep curl, tricep extensions, and even squats (and a lot more strength training exercises!) without the need for machines or free weights. You’ll be surprised how a reinforced rubber band can be beneficial for your health.
Body weight exercises are cost-effective, easy, and effective. You don’t need to have a gym subscription or any equipment to perform these exercises since your body will act as your resistance. Body resistance training exercises are more forgiving, so you can easily adjust these exercises based on your level.
What Exercises Should I Include in My Workout Plan?
Exercises involving two or more joints (compound exercises) are best for building strength and muscles. These types of exercise include squats, deadlifts, along with bench and shoulder press workouts. This is because muscles attached to these joints either contract or lengthen when performing such movements. When more muscles are included, you can lift more weight, thus giving greater stimulus for muscle growth.
How Long Should a Typical Strength Training Workout Last?
An ideal strength training session can last for 20 minutes to an hour. Training past that can be counterproductive as studies show that the body’s stored fuel for exercise (glycogen) is normally spent after 60 minutes.
What Is the Ideal Number of Sets Per Exercise?
As a beginner, you can start a set by doing some warm-ups to rehearse the movement and warm up your muscle tissues, making them more elastic. This won’t count as part of your total set. The literature on resistance training says that doing 3 to 4 sets of a given exercise is the most ideal, although doing even just one will give you some benefit. You can calibrate the number of sets you do per exercise based on your fitness goal and how long you want a session to last.
Why Is it Important to Strength Train Even If I Only Want to Lose Weight?
You gain more muscles when you strength train. Since muscles are more metabolically active than adipose tissue (body fat), your body will burn more calories at rest when you have more lean body mass. Doing cardio and strength training result in faster and more effective weight loss.
What Will Happen If I Suddenly Stop Strength Training?
If you were to suddenly stop strength training, your body will enter a stage of muscular atrophy. This is defined as a decrease in mass of the muscle due to lack of physical activity. If you stop exercising for some reason, your muscles will lose firmness but won’t turn into fat (a common misconception). Results will vary based on one’s level of fitness and muscle maturity. For example, if you’re in great shape it’s likely that your experience with muscle loss may be entirely different from someone completely new to strength training.
For warm-up tips and tricks, watch this video below:
With consistent training, proper nutrition, and ample rest, you’ll gradually notice changes in your physique—improved strength and power, and greater lean mass. Now, this is important: your gains will come to a halt if you repeat the same exact workout every week. For continuous progress, try to lift heavier loads or do more reps to add to the strain your muscles need for growth. Don’t stop ’til you get that body you can be proud of!
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