Resistance training (RT) is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, power, hypertrophy and/or endurance. The external resistance can be free weights, resistance bands, gym machines, your own body weight or any other object that causes the muscles to contract.
RT is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently your muscles become stronger.
In order to get the most from a resistance training regime, you ideally need to work out two to three times a week. You should also try and change up your routine every six to eight weeks to ensure you don’t get bored and that you keep improving.
General Resistance Training Fitness Benefits
Resistance training is an important part of any workout regimen and has lots of fitness benefits.
1. It Helps Build Muscle
Resistance training helps build muscle. We all know that lifting weights or working your muscles against a force will help build up your muscle mass and, as a result, you’ll get stronger, and your muscles will begin to grow.
2. Resistance Training Will Help to improve Your Muscle Tone
It’s perfect for toning up. As well as growing your muscles, resistance training can also help keep you toned and trim if that’s what you prefer – simply keep the weights lighter but do longer sets.
3. It will Help to Burn off Fat
It’s great for burning fat. People always think cardiovascular exercise is the only way to burn fat, but that’s not the case. Resistance training will still get your heart rate up a little bit, but it will also get your metabolism working harder too – a crucial element of burning calories and, by extension, fat.
4. You’ll get Fitter
Like all exercise, resistance training will help improve your stamina. This means you won’t get tired as easily as you grow stronger. Resistance training will also help make your joints stronger and improve your flexibility, reducing your risk of injury.
Health Benefits of Resistance Training
As well as fitness benefits, resistance training also has several other health benefits.
1. It Will Help Improve Bone Density
The first of these is that it can help you build bone density, meaning you’re less likely to suffer from osteoporosis (brittle bones) in later life.
2. Plenty of Mental Health Benefits
It can also help improve your sense of well-being. Resistance training can boost your self-confidence, your body image and your mood. In fact, exercise of all kinds has been proven to have a positive impact on your mental health as a whole, helping reduce anxiety and depression.
3. Improved Sleep
You’re also likely to sleep better as a result of incorporating resistance training into your workout regime. This will, in turn lead to a happier and more productive daily life, with the enhanced performance of everyday tasks.