Physical inactivity is highly associated with chronic health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, atherosclerosis, heart failuire, dementia, depression, chronic pain and even some type of cancer.
In other words, to be healthy we NEED movement, as I have previously explained in this post here.
Today we are going to focus on Resistance Training: what it is, what are its health benefits and how to properly perform it.
(FYI, resistance training is NOT for building muscles only!)
What is “Resistance Training”?
Resistance training is an “umbrella term” that includes several types of anaerobic exercise (i.e. NOT cardiovascular, like running, cycling or dancing).
In simple words, resistance training involves performing a movement against a resistance, that can be applied using for example body weight, resistance bands, or much heavier loads.
The beauty of resistance training is that it can be adapted to each individual and his/her own specific needs.
Resistance training can be divided in three main categorie, according to the goal of the training:
- Maximal Strength
- Muscular Endurance
We will dive deeper into these categories later on (so keep reading!😉).
What are the BENEFITS of Resistance Training?
Wether you have never (regularly) engaged in resistance training or you have been doing it for quite a while but you are not aware of all its benefits, here is a list of reasons why we should ALL do resistance training (at least twice a week!)👇🏻
Proven benefits of Resistance Training include:
- Relieves Stress;
- Strengthens Immune System;
- Improves Blood Pressure;
- Reduces risk of Heart Disease;
- Helps Weight Management;
- Strengthens Muscles;
- Improves Physical Performance;
- Improves Body Composition (reduces fat mass and increases muscle mass);
- Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem;
- Helps prevent and manage Type 2 Diabetes (by improving insulin-sensitivity and insulin swings);
- Decreases “bad” LDL Cholesterol (and increases the “good” HDL one);
- Enhances Cognitive Functions and Focus;
- Lowers risk of Dementia;
- Helps with Depression and Anxiety;
- Keeps Bones healthy and strong;
- Decreases Pain (e.g. chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, arthritic pain);
- Improves Balance and Coordination;
- Increases Metabolic Rate;
- Increases Energy Levels;
- Improves quality of Sleep;
- Boosts Mood (and makes you feel invincible!).
How to Properly Perform Resistance Training?
At this point you might be wondering: “Ok, this is all great. But how do I get started? How many sets and reps should I perform? At what intensity? How many times a week? ”.
Let’s find out together!
As I had anticipated earlier on, resistance training can be divided into three main categories, according to the end goal. This is important to know because in order to achieve a specific goal you need follow the most appropriate training guidelines.
1. Maximal Strength: if your main goal is to increase your muscle strength, you will have to train using very heavy weights, above 85% your 1RM (RM=rep max, i.e. the maximum amount or weight you can lift one time only) for about 1-6 repetitions only each set, taking 2-5 minutes of rest between each set.
For example: if my deadlift 1RM is 100kg, to work on increasing my maximal strength I would have to lift 85-100kg for 1-6 reps each set.
2. Hypertrophy: if your goal is to increase your muscle mass (a.k.a grow your muscles), then things change a bit; in fact, in this case you would want to lift about 67-85% of your 1RM for 6-12 repetitions each set, resting for 1-2 minutes between sets.
For example: if my bicep curl 1RM is 10kg, in order to increase my biceps muscle mass I would need to lift a 6.7-8.5 kg weight for 6-12 repetitions each set.
3. Muscle Endurance: to increase the ability of your muscles to produce force repeatedly for a prolonged period of time, you would want to lift a lower load, equal to 67% or less of your 1RM, for a higher number of repetitions, 12+ repetitions each set, with a 30-seconds break between each set.
For example: if my knee extension 1RM were 100 kg, to improve my quadriceps muscle endurance I would have to lift less than 67kg for more than 12 times per set.
Before we conclude, it is important to remember that in order to reap all the benefits provided by resistance training you need to perform it at least twice a week.
Also, even though you may follow the guidelines to improve (let’s say) hypertrophy, you will also inevitably induce changes in muscle strength and endurance as well (and the other way around too), which in my opinion is a GOOD thing!
Now that you know all the amazing benefits that resistance training has to offer, feel free to share this blog post with your friends and family, especially if perhaps they are not quite convinced on exercise (yet!).
I hope you enjoyed this post!
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Thanks for Reading!
- 21 Proven Benefits of Resistance Training (and how to reap them ALL!)
- Do your Muscles feel “Tight”? Here’s WHY and HOW you can fix that!
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