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  • Writer's pictureDavid Hurley

Resistance Training. The smart way to train!

Resistance Training


Regular resistance training can improve your strength and flexibility and if you could do just one thing to improve your health, resistance training should be at the top of your list. It involves using singular muscles, muscle groups or groups of muscle groups to perform a specific task, such as lifting a weight, using kettlebells or resistance bands.


Due to the growing body of evidence supporting its many benefits, resistance training has become a fundamental part of most exercise programs. If you’ve ever considered using strength training, you may wonder how it will benefit your life.


Well here we go then:


What is resistance training?


Most people would know resistance training as weight training, lifting weights in a gym to achieve a larger muscle mass. But sports science has moved on massively over the last few years and resistance training now has a completely new look and feel to the old vision of huge body builders grunting and sweating lifting huge amounts of metal.


The general definition of resistance training now, is any physical movement in which you use your body weight or equipment, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, to build endurance, strength, lose weight, tone your body and yes build muscle mass.


The main types of resistance training include:


Muscular Hypertrophy: More commonly known as body building or strength training. This employs moderate to heavy weights with low reps to stimulate muscle growth.

Endurance Training: This refers to your muscles ability to sustain exercise for longer periods of time. Training to increase muscular endurance usually involves high reps using light weights or body weight.


Circuit Training: During this form of full-body conditioning, you cycle through various exercises with little to no rest between them working the whole body in one session.

Maximum Muscular Strength: This type of exercise involves low reps (usually 1 - 4) and very heavy weights to improve overall strength and muscle mass, usually used by Bodybuilders and Power Lifters.


Explosive Power Training: This training combines power and speed and a range of repetitions to improve power output. It’s usually employed among trained athletes across a range of sports to generate more power, distance or athletic explosion.

 

Depending on the type of resistance training you choose to reach your goals, you can use a variety of equipment or in fact just body weight.


Some suggestions:


Body weight: Using your own body weight and the force of gravity to perform various movements (e.g., push-ups, squats, planks, pullups, and lunges etc. etc.)

Free weights: Equipment not bound to the floor or a machine, such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells or medicine balls.


Resistance Bands: Elasticated bands that provide resistance when stretched.

Weight Machines: Machines with adjustable weights or hydraulics attached to provide resistance and stress to the muscles.


TRX or Suspension Equipment: Consists of ropes or straps that are anchored to a sturdy point in which a person uses their body weight and gravity to perform various exercises and movements.

Regardless of the type of resistance training you perform, the goal is to put your muscles under tension to allow neuromuscular adaptations and stimulate muscle growth. With regular practice, your muscles will become stronger.


There are many benefits to strength training that can improve your health, help you lose weight, enhance athletic and sports performance or just make you feel great, below are 12 benefits of resistance training backed by sports science and not just some gobbledy gook from Bob down the pub.

 

1. Makes you stronger: Obvious really, resistance training helps you become stronger. Gaining strength allows you to perform daily tasks much easier and makes you less susceptible to injury. Furthermore, it helps improve athletic performance in sports that require speed, power, and strength, and it may even support endurance athletes by preserving lean muscle mass.


2. Burns calories efficiently: Resistance training helps boost your metabolism in two ways. Firstly, building muscle increases your metabolic rate. Muscles are more metabolically efficient than fat mass, allowing you to burn more calories at rest. Secondly, research shows that your metabolic rate is increased up to 72 hours after resistance training exercise. This means that you’re still burning additional calories hours and even days after your workout has finished.


3. Decreases abdominal fat: Fat stored around the abdomen, especially visceral fat, is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, multiple studies have shown the benefit of strength-training exercises for reducing abdominal and total body fat.


4. Can help you appear leaner: As you build more muscle and lose fat, you will appear leaner, for all of those of you who would love a beach body this summer, this is because muscle is more dense than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body pound for pound. Therefore, you may lose inches off your waist even if you don’t see a change in the number on the scale. Also, losing body fat and building stronger and larger muscles showcases more muscle definition, creating a stronger and leaner appearance.


5. Decreases your risk of falls: Resistance training can improve balance through stronger muscle groups and proprioception and thereby lowers your risk of falls, as you’re better able to support your body on movement. In fact, one review including 23,407 adults over the age of 60 showed a 34% reduction in falls among those who participated in a well-rounded exercise program that included balance exercises and resistance and functional training. Many forms of strength training have been shown to be effective, such as Tai Chi, weight training, and resistance band and bodyweight exercises.


6. Lowers your risk of injury: Including resistance training in your exercise routine may help to reduce your risk of injury, strength training helps improve the strength, range of motion, and mobility of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This can reinforce strength and support around major joints like your knees, hips, and ankles to provide additional stability and protection against injury. What’s more, strength training can help correct muscular imbalances. For example, having a stronger core, hamstrings, and glutes takes the load off of your lower back during lifting, decreasing your risk of lower-back injuries.


Finally, adult and teenage athletes that engage in resistance training have a lower likelihood of injury, in fact, one review including 7,738 athletes found strength-training programs reduced the risk of injury by 33%. It was found to lower the risk of injury in a dose-dependent manner, meaning for every 10% increase in strength-training volume, there was a 4% reduced risk of injury.


7. Improves heart health: Multiple studies have shown that regular resistance training exercise can decrease blood pressure, lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improve blood circulation by strengthening the heart and blood vessels, after all, the heart is only a muscle.


Resistance training can help with hormone balance and help to manage your blood sugar levels, high blood sugar levels are a major risk factor for heart disease.


8. Helps manage your blood sugar levels: Skeletal muscle helps increase insulin sensitivity and it also reduces blood sugar levels by removing glucose from the blood and sending it to muscle cells.


As a result, greater muscle mass can help improve blood sugar management. Resistance training may also reduce your risk of developing diabetes. One study following 35,754 women for an average of 10 years showed a 30% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes among those who engaged in regular resistance training compared with those who did not.


9. Promotes greater mobility and flexibility: Contrary to popular belief, resistance training can make you more flexible, yep! I did just say that. Resistance training increases joint range of motion (ROM), allowing for greater mobility and flexibility. Plus, those with weaker muscles tend to have lower ROM and flexibility. In fact, a recent review comparing stretching with resistance training found they were equally effective at increasing ROM but resistance training was better as it increased muscle strength as well. For best results, ensure you’re completing the full ROM of an exercise, in good form, in other words, utilize your full movement potential around a joint. For example, lower yourself into a squat as far as you’re able to go without compromising your form or triggering pain.


10. Makes your bones stronger: Resistance training is crucial for bone development, weight-bearing exercises put temporary stress on your bones, sending a message to bone-building cells to take action and rebuild bones stronger. Having strong bones reduces your risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and falls, especially as you age. Fortunately, you can reap the bone-strengthening benefits of strength training at any age.


11. Boosts your mood: Regular resistance training may boost your mood and improve your mental health. Multiple studies have shown that strength training may reduce anxiety and boost your mood through an improved balance of hormones and sugar in the body.

 

12. Improves brain health: Those who engage in resistance training may have better brain health and protection against age-related cognitive decline. Multiple studies in older adults have pointed to significant improvements in cognitive function, e.g., processing speed, memory, and executive function, after participating in resistance training, compared with those who did not participate. It’s thought that resistance training has many neuroprotective effects, such as improved blood flow, reduced inflammation, and an increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is linked to memory and learning.


Summary: Resistance training provides many benefits, such as a lower risk of chronic disease, better self-esteem, and a reduced risk of injury and falls. Improved athletic performance, increased strength and flexibility and a stronger MSK system. What’s not to like …………………… just get involved!!


The bottom line: If you haven’t tried resistance training, now is the time to start, it provides numerous health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, stronger bones, better brain health and mood, and improved self-esteem.


Fortunately, resistance training isn’t just lifting weights at the gym. You can get in a great shape at home using a simple set of resistance bands and some basic routines, no having to join a gym, no sweaty changing rooms, no having to go out in the cold and dark.


I can provide everything you need to get you started on resistance training, a simple resistance band set, basic routines, regular checks and as you get fitter and stronger, further routines to keep up with your progress.


Contact me now to book a slot to get started 07803 255643.

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