How resistance training is beneficial for you
Resistance training (RT) is sometimes thought to be a type of training for young, strong and athletic individuals. This can make some people feel a bit anxious about engaging in resistance training. Well that idea is false! Resistance training is for everyone. For any age and any ability. We’ll explore how resistance training can be beneficial for you and give you some tips and tricks along the way.
Resistance training, also known as strength training or weight training, is the use of external resistance to contract your muscles in order to improve muscle strength, tone, mass and endurance! You might engage in resistance training, know someone who does or have even seen it on TV. Resistance training causes microscopic tears to the muscle. This muscle breakdown is called “catabolism”. The body then repairs itself, with the muscle regenerating and becoming stronger. This is called “anabolism”. Resistance training can include a variety of free weights, machines, body weight, bands/tubing, medicine balls and the list can continue. Essentially its all about adding a type of resistance to your body to place the muscles under load, which will allow for specific improvements.
Resistance training is known to have a variety of health benefits for all different age groups. Below is a list of some of the scientifically proven health benefits of resistance training:
Improves muscle strength, endurance, tone and mass
Improves insulin response in diabetes (1)
Improves metabolic health and metabolic rate (1)
Improves bone mineral density which can assist to maintain or improve conditions such as Osteoporosis
Improves quality of life, well-being and self-esteem
Reduces anxiety and depressive symptoms
Decreases blood pressure
Decreases cholesterol levels
Assists in the management of pain
Improves balance, which can reduce falls risk
Improves focus and cognition
Makes activities of daily living (ADL’s) less physiologically stressful in order to be more effectively managed (2)
This is just to name a few! Research into resistance training has significantly increased over the past few years where it is now encouraged to be apart of everyone’s exercise regime. The benefits above don’t only fit into one age group, but many. For example, younger populations may want to engage in resistance training to improve their muscle toe and mass, however it can also be significantly important in older populations in order to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
To add to this incredible list of benefits, resistance training can help to prevent chronic diseases from developing in the first place. Research now shows that regularly exercising can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and heart disease, therefore it is important for everyone, of any age to engage in resistance training.
Below are some recommendations and tips for engaging in resistance training. Take a look:
Perform RT 2-3 times per week, with at least 48 hours between training (non-consecutive days)
Perform exercises that target all major muscle groups – arms, back, legs, core
Perform both multi-joint (multiple body joints involved that target more than one muscle group e.g. squat) and single-joint (one-joint involved targeting major muscle groups e.g. bicep curl)
Start with 2-4 sets and 8-12 repetitions
Beginners to RT can try 1 set of 10-15 reps
Start with low intensity initially (60% of your maximum of 10 repetitions) and slowly increase the intensity per week
Allow 2-3 minutes rest between sets to ensure adequate rest
Try to incorporate 8-12 exercises in your session. Or at least 30 minutes!
You need to ensure exercises are being performed correctly. Correct technique will ensure you’re targeting the correct muscle groups and reduce the risk of injury more importantly.
It is also important to note that resistance training in children, adolescents and individuals with any chronic health conditions should only be performed under the supervision of a qualified health professional such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. Exercise Physiologist’s are specialist’s in exercise for special populations such as chronic conditions and children, and will ensure that training is specific, safe and beneficial to the individual.
If you would like to get started with resistance training, or if you have any questions if you’re not too sure, book in with one of our Exercise Physiologist’s who will work with you to achieve your goals and help you every step of the way.
Aevum Physiotherapy – 02 8544 3231
Pesta, D. H., Goncalves, R. L., Madiraju, A. K., Strasser, B., & Sparks, L. M. (2017). Resistance training to improve type 2 diabetes: working toward a prescription for the future. Nutrition & metabolism, 14(1), 24.
American College of Sports Medicine. (2013). ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.