Resistance training, what is it and why do we do it you ask?
According to ACSM, “resistance training is a form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance”.
Free weights – classic strength training with dumbbells, kettlebells, med balls, etc
Resistance bands – giant rubber bands
Suspension equipment – something like TRX
Your own body weight – can be used for squats, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges..
This is separate from aerobic exercises which according to ACSM is ,” an activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously and is rhythmic in nature, examples include cycling, dancing, hiking, jogging/long distance running, swimming and walking.
The reason why we do both is to have a well-rounded fitness program that includes strength training to improve joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercises.
Here are the basic principles of resistance training to understand how variety plays a big part in it:
Program – your overall fitness program is composed of various exercise types such as aerobic training, flexibility training, strength training and balance exercises
Weight – different weights or other types of resistance (dumbbell vs rubber band)
Type of exercise –
repetitions or reps – refers to the number of times you continuously repeat each exercise in a set
Set – is a group of repetitions performed without resting, for example, two sets of squats by 15 reps would mean you do 15 squats then rest muscles before doing another 15 squats
Rest – you need to rest between sets. Rest periods vary depending on the intensity of exercise being undertaken
Variety – switching around your workout routine, such as regularly introducing new exercises, challenges your muscles and forces them to adapt and strengthen
Progressive overload principle – to continue to gain benefits, strength training activities need to be done to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition. The aim is to use an appropriate weight or resistant force that will challenge you, while maintaining good technique. Also, regular adjustments to the training variables, such as frequency, duration, exercises for each muscle group, number of exercises for each muscle group, sets and repetitions, help to make sure you progress and improve
Recovery – muscle needs time to repair and adapt after a workout. A good rule of thumb is to rest the muscle group for up to 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.
PS: These principles are deeply rooted in the writing of your workouts here at Body One!
Lastly, here are the 3 main benefits of resistance training:
Improved muscle strength and tone - reduce the risk of injury
Maintaining flexibility and balance - By challenging your muscles to move in different directions, in ways it's not used to, and weight bearing/ against a force, allows your body to adapt and respond to learn different ways it can protect and grow stronger.
Increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis
We encourage you to try and hopefully enjoy all types of movement!