Resistance training basics

Resistance training basics

As soon as we see someone fit and in shape, the question is : Are you going to gym or Do you train ? resistance training used to be a luxury, a special set of exercises used by rich and by models and top actors. Today it is accessible to common man. And sooner or later, everyone is looking to do weight lifting to get back in shape. Experts and beginners, both must know and remember the basics of resistance training. You probably have heard, experts do the basics better than others and 'no pain, no gain'. Lets try to understand what works and what doesn't.

What is Resistance training ?
Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance (i.e. resistance to being pushed, squeezed, stretched or bent). Exercises are isotonic if a body part is moving against the force. Exercises are isometric if a body part is holding still against the force. Resistance exercise is used to develop the strength and size of skeletal muscles. Properly performed, resistance training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being.

Why is it good ?
According to the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), The goal of resistance training is to "gradually and progressively overload the musculoskeletal system so it gets stronger." Research shows that regular resistance training will strengthen and tone muscles and increase bone mass. Resistance training should not be confused with weightlifting, powerlifting or bodybuilding, which are competitive sports involving different types of strength training with non-elastic forces such as gravity (weight training or plyometrics) an immovable resistance (isometrics, usually the body's own muscles or a structural feature such as a doorframe). Full range of motion is important in resistance training because muscle overload occurs only at the specific joint angles where the muscle is worked.

Resistance training also helps to maintain muscle mass that would otherwise be lost with age and inactivity. This makes it easier to perform many daily tasks (e.g. carrying groceries, snow shovelling, etc.) throughout life. In addition, resistance training helps building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends performing:
   1. At least one set (8-12 repetitions)
   2. Of 8-10 exercises that work all the major muscle groups
   3. 2-3 days per week (You should not do resistance exercises for the same muscle groups on consecutive days.)

Fine points
For the first 4 to 6 weeks of resistance training, chose weights or resistance levels that allow you to complete 12-15 repetitions of an exercise with minimal fatigue. During this time, your muscles will be adapting to resistance training; a lot of resistance is not necessary for these early adaptations to occur. Lifting too much too soon will make you quite sore, increasing the time you need for recovery between workouts and slowing your progress.

After 4 to 6 weeks, you can increase the level of resistance. Select a weight or resistance level at which you feel fatigue after 8-12 repetitions. If you cannot perform 8 repetitions of an exercise, the resistance is too great and should be decreased. If you can easily perform more than 12 repetitions, the resistance is probably not adequate and needs to be increased. Adequate resistance is necessary to enhance muscular fitness and improve body composition.

Types of resistance training

Circuit training
Circuit training is a type of interval training in which strength exercises are combined with endurance/aerobic exercises, combining the benefits of both a cardiovascular and strength training workout. The circuit training format utilizes a group of 6 to 10 strength exercises that are completed one exercise after another. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a prescribed time before moving on to the next exercise. The exercises within each circuit are separated by brief, timed rest intervals, and each circuit is separated by a longer rest period. The total number of circuits performed during a training session may vary from two to six depending on your training level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), your period of training (preparation or competition) and your training objective

Hydraulic resistance training(H.R.T)
Hydraulic Resistance/Equipment, typically makes it possible for a person to perform strength training as well as cardiovascular training at the same time. Hydraulic resistance can involve exercising in water, where each effort is opposed by the viscosity of the water; or utilizing cylinders/equipment where resistance is a function of speed; the faster the movement, the greater the resistance. Unlike stack weights, gravity neither helps nor hinders the workout. H.R.T offers incredible results without the soreness associated with other methods. That is because muscles always experience resistance during contraction, not during the stretching phase. H.R.T...exercise without pain!

Elastic/resistance band/training (E.R.T)
The elastic resistance band is a portable alternative to weights for strength training. A variety of exercises have been devised to target specific muscle groups. The secret to elastic resistance exercise is a simple one. As the elastic band is stretched, the resistance increases. This resistance provides a progressive stimulus to the muscle to build strength and help increase muscle mass. Elastic resistance training (ERT) can work single or multiple joints at one time, making exercises more functional and efficient. Research proves that ERT provides as much benefit in strength gains as those achieved on expensive and cumbersome weight-training equipment.