What is Resistance Training?
I talk a lot about resistance training and I have spoken at length about the multiple benefits of resistance training in both men and women, but what really IS resistance training.
In this post, I want to briefly discuss what resistance training IS and what it ISN’T, how you can use it, and the recommendations I give to my online health coaching clients in their programming.
Simply put, Resistance training is any form of exercise that requires muscles to contract against an external resistance. An external resistance can include your own body weight, bands, weights, kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, a backpack filled with canned soup, your neighbor’s dog, literally anything that causes the muscle to contract when worked against it.
Resistance training is NOT just lifting weights. This is an important note because lifting weights can be intimidating, especially for individuals who are just beginning their fitness journey. You do NOT have to lift weights to experience the many health benefits of resistance training. You can begin with your own body weight or use bands to begin to build up strength.
A common misconception of resistance training is that it is only weight training and is only used if you want to get stronger or increase muscle size. While resistance training is absolutely used for (and is critical to achieve) the latter goals, it is also used to increase endurance, and power, as well as improve bone density and increase metabolism.
Because it can be used for to achieve so many different goals and has so many health benefits, resistance training is most often included in a well-rounded exercise and movement protocol.
It also means that anyone can begin using resistance training to achieve amazing results regardless of access to a gym or weight equipment. Bodyweight training is an effective method of resistance training that is a great way for fitness beginners to start building strength and improving their mobility which is why bodyweight movements are included in many of my health coaching services.
When it comes to implementing resistance training there are three principles to keep in mind:
1. Specificity. Specificity means choosing the right resistance exercise as related to your specific goals. It is great and beneficial to do lunges, however, if your goal is to improve your pull-ups then all those lunges are not going to help you reach your goal. You want to be sure that you are choosing movements that intentionally relate to your goals so you can achieve maximum results.
Overload refers to gradually increasing the difficulty of your movements over time. This is important because your body is incredibly adaptive. This means that over time, if you continue to perform the same movement at the same weight, the same amount of repetitions, your body will adapt and no longer receive the same amount of benefit from that movement as it did when you first started. In order to continue to get results you need to require your body to continue adapting. In order to do this you need to implement overload as be intentionally and consistently increasing the difficulty of your movements.
Progression is the rate at which you apply overload to your training. This principle is important because if you “jump” too quickly in weight, volume, or intensity, you may open yourself up for injury not to mention frustration. Adaption to overload takes time, patience, and consistency, therefore progressing your overload in a methodical way ensures that you can continue to see the results you want without risking injury or plateaus. I speak more in depth about progressive overload training and the different ways you can progress in this post.
Resistance training is a core pillar of my fitness methodology because of the many benefits for both general health and longevity as well as its effectiveness in producing consistent results for my clients. If you are unsure how to use resistance training to reach your goals, I am always here to help. Book an exploratory call here and learn more about how we use resistance training in our online health coaching services to get our clients fast and long lasting results.