If you’re interested in resistance training, read this first…

People who want to stay active go out for a jog or do some exercises at home but if you’re going to take a step forward and toughen things up, then resistance training is the next step. People often have different purposes for doing these exercises, but the primary goal remains the same; to strengthen yourself up.

Some people hire personal trainers while others hit the gym and workout on their own. In this article, we give a comprehensive guide to what resistance training is all about and the best ways to approach it.

What is resistance training?

Resistance training can be defined as exercises done to improve the strength of the body, make you more powerful and give you  improved durability of your muscles. The key feature of resistance training is that it is done by lifting and working out with weights. In simple terms, you train your body to deal with increasingly heavy weights by using them for set amounts of time.

What are its other names?

Resistance training is known by many names, but they all mean the same thing. Some of the common names are as follows;

  • Strength training
  • Weight training
  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Bodybuilding

Why do we need it?

It is essential we keep your bodies healthy and fit. In modern times our bodies have become used to staying idle for long periods. Eventually, when we grow older, our body loses its strength and agility. If we work out properly and make it a habit, our muscles will retain their mass, which otherwise is lost.

What are the types of resistance training?

Most people think that they have to visit the gym if they want to do resistance training. However, there are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, be it at home on your own, or with a personal trainer, or at the gym.

Weights – The most common way of doing weight training is using tools such as barbells and dumbbells.

Balls and bells – People can also do these exercises by using kettlebells and weighted bags.

Weight machines – The most modern way of working out where people use devices with different weights attached that can be adjusted accordingly.

Resistance bands – A more natural way of exercising by attaching the bands around your body and using the resistance felt when the body stretches. The bands can be adjusted accordingly and suit people of all body types.

Suspension – Another way of training that’s gaining popularity is through using suspension equipment, where gravity is used alongside body weight to perform various resistance exercises.

Body weight – The most convenient way of working out where people can use their own body to perform strengthening exercises such as squats and push-ups.

Which is the best way for me?

It is a sensible idea to keep things simple at first. Start by staying gear free and use your own body to perform the exercises. Humans can only tolerate as much weight as their body allows, so starting by using your own body is an excellent way to get accustomed to what you can handle. Move on to lighter training with equipment when you feel your body is ready to lift heavier weights. Different weighing machines are available that allow you to gradually build up to the required body mass you want to achieve.

How to build up gradually?

In the beginning, doing exercise everyday can actually have adverse effects on your body as it isn’t used to such extreme amounts of activity. Many experts suggest that you should start with 2 to 3 days a week for a couple of weeks, then gradually add one more day every seven days.

Similarly, the amount of time you spend on your daily exercise matters a lot too. Your first activity time should be around 20 minutes. You will feel the need to work out more eventually so then add ten more minutes at a time, gradually aiming to take the daily workout time to an hour.

How to go about resistance training?

You should have a strategy on how you will go about doing the exercises, so you get the best results.

Warm-ups – Telling your body that it’s time to work out is very important, and a warm-up session achieves this task.

Pairing – Once you have become a pro in resistance exercises, you may decide to have upper body and lower body days. But an excellent way to start resistance training is to pair an upper body exercise to lower body. Usually, personal trainers recommend a full body workout.

Frequency – It’s good practice to start with 15 repetitions for each exercise and to do them in sets of three. There should be a break after each set so that you can get your breath back. Once it feels less of a challenge, add more weight or more repetitions to the workout session.

Which muscles to focus on

Upper body – Chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, upper back and abdomen.

Lower body – Lower back, thighs, core and obliques.

What are the health benefits?

Improved strength – If you have followed everything according to the recommended schedule then the most significant improvement will be in your overall increased body strength and you will start to be able to perform the daily tasks with ease.

Improved posture – One of the major benefits of proper training is that your body positions start becoming corrected. Issues such as stiff backs, bent walking, and rounded shoulders can be addressed quickly.

Burning calories – Working out means you are burning calories and that will improve your overall metabolism as well.

Resistance to illness – When the body is active, it develops a stronger immunity  against various health issues such as flu, fever, cold and body aches. The risk of several severe health problems is also considerably reduced.

Hopefully, you have learnt a little more about resistance training by reading this article and are ready to make a start. But beware, everybody is different; if you’re not sure if your body will be suited to resistance training then consult a doctor before starting on your programme.