Resistance training, also known as weight or strength training, involves exercises that challenge muscles. It can include free weights, machines, and elastic bands with varying levels of resistance. It may also involve exercises using one’s own bodyweight.
It has been shown to increase muscle mass, thus boosting the resting metabolic rate (RMR). This results in increased fat loss, and sculpts a more toned physique.
Improved Body Composition
Resistance training involves the use of weights or other forms of resistance to exercise muscles. It’s a key component in any fitness routine, regardless of age or gender. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends resistance training consisting of eight to 10 exercises for the major muscle groups, performed with a maximum of 12 repetitions per set (to fatigue) two to three times a week. If you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer to learn proper technique.
When compared to endurance-based exercise such as running and cycling, resistance training has been shown to result in lower body fat percentages. It also increases both muscle mass and strength.
Researchers have found that when muscles are loaded, they release a chemical messenger that sends a signal to fat cells to start burning calories. As a result, resistance training helps reduce total body fat and visceral fat levels in both men and women.
Enhanced Fat Loss
Resistance training, also known as strength or weight training, exercises the muscle against a load and has been shown to improve muscular fitness, strength, power and hypertrophy. It can also help improve bone density, joint function and ligaments and tendons.
Unlike endurance exercises such as running or cycling, which decrease muscle mass, strength training promotes muscle growth and fat loss. That’s because when muscles contract, they secrete myokines that send a signal to fat cells to break down. This can lead to a reduction in visceral fat and an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
You can start resistance training with body-weight exercises, like squats and push-ups. Or you can use dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands or even weight machines at your gym. However, he suggests starting with very little external resistance to minimize risk of injury and focus on movement patterns, then gradually increasing the amount of resistance as you become stronger. It is also important to progressively increase both the number of sets and reps as you get stronger.
When people think of resistance training, they often think of pumping iron at the gym, but it’s more than just lifting free weights. The term relates to any form of resistance exercise that helps build muscle strength, size or endurance. It can include using free weights (such as dumbbells or barbells), weight machines, kettlebells, resistance bands or even your own body weight with basic exercises such as push-ups or crunches.
In addition to boosting muscle development, resistance workouts can also help people lose weight by changing the way their muscles talk with fat cells, says Dr. McCarthy. The result is that muscles signal to fat cells to start burning fat.
If you are new to resistance training, start with basic exercises that use your own body weight so you can get accustomed to the movement and focus on your form. Then gradually add external resistance to your workouts as you become more comfortable with the movement.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Resistance training increases muscle strength, muscle size and endurance by exposing muscles to an external demand. This could be using a barbell, dumbells, machines, kettlebells, power bands or even your own body weight as resistance.
As resistance training increases your muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate goes up which burns more calories at rest. This is a great way to help reduce body fat, particularly abdominal fat.
Studies indicate that when properly performed by qualified instructors, age-appropriate resistance exercise and weightlifting is safe for youth. In fact, injuries attributed to youth resistance training are most likely due to lack of professional supervision which may result in poor exercise technique and inappropriately heavy training loads.
High-intensity resistance training (HIIT) is the most effective at generating both short-term fat burn and the long-term after-burn of muscle glycogen. HIIT also has the added benefit of lowering cardiovascular disease risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure. HIIT is best done in combination with other aerobic and/or endurance exercise.