Resistance Training

Learn the facts about the benefits of Resistance Training

If you really want to look and feel your best, you will need to incorporate resistance training into your routine. Resistance training will help to increase muscle, improve posture, tone your body, increase your metabolism and allow you to focus on changing the shape of specific areas of your body.

Anytime you pick anything up and set it down or simply move, you are in essence, doing resistance training.  Whether you are moving your body against the force of gravity or moving an object, it requires muscle contractions to complete the task.

Resistance training  is a structured and planned workout routine designed to fatigue your muscles.

 Fatigued muscles adapt to the workouts by becoming stronger. So that the next time certain demands are placed on the muscles they are capable of completing the task without experiencing fatigue. In other words, you’ll be able to complete all of your daily activities with less effort.

The goal of weight training is to improve muscle endurance, muscle strength, muscle growth (hypertrophy), or some combination of those three.

Muscle endurance is your muscles’ ability to perform an activity or movement many times without experiencing fatigue or exhaustion. Think of hiking out of Grand Canyon with a 30lbs. back pack. Not only will you have to take thousands of steps uphill to move the weight of your body but you also have to carry additional resistance (the back pack). If your muscles don’t have adequate muscular endurance to complete the hike, you end up stuck in Grand Canyon (and that’s not good).

Muscle Strength is your muscles’ ability to move a maximum amount of weight a single time.  Rarely do we pick up or move the maximum amount of weight that we’re capable of. If fact when it happens, injuries usually occur. An example of this is when a parent picks up something really heavy (a car) to save their child. The good news is you’ll never have to do anything like that during a workout. That’s because there is a correlation between muscular endurance and muscular strength.

Here’s an example of how that works. Let’s say that you begin a new workout routine and at the beginning you perform an exercise 10 times with 100lbs., but the most you are able to lift for a single repetition is 175lbs. Six weeks later you are able to lift 150lbs 10 times, and 150lbs. was the heaviest weight that you worked out with during the six week period. Now when you re-test your single repetition maximum you can  lift 225lbs. So in this example you increased your strength by 50lbs. by increasing your muscle endurance. Even though you never actually attempted to lift anything over 150 pounds (during your training), your strength gains resulted from your improvements in muscle endurance.

NOTE: There is scientific research on how to gain muscular strength and/or endurance by working out with very specific weight relative to your maximum strength. I didn’t follow that information in my example. I simply chose random whole numbers to keep it simple for you to understand.
Muscle Growth or hypertrophy is an increase in the size of your muscle cells. When you begin a resistance training program you will experience an increase in the size of muscle cells. At first you won’t notice an actual change in the shape or size of your muscles (i.e. the way your body looks). Instead you’ll notice that your muscles are more firm or toned. I like to call this an increase in muscle density, meaning that your muscles are more firm even though they are taking up the same amount of space that they did prior to starting your new resistance training program.
Muscle growth is the primary objective of bodybuilders. When they are on stage being judged for their physiques neither they nor the judges care how much they can lift or how many times they can perform an exercise before failure. It’s all about how they look at that moment. But there is also a correlation between muscular strength, muscular endurance and hypertrophy. So bodybuilders do pay very close attention to weight and repetitions during their training.

Most people do not have the goal of being a competitive body builder. In fact, more often than not, people fear becoming too bulky. What people typically want is to shape their bodies or become toned, firm, and sculpted (ok some guys do want to get jacked). The good news is that muscle development is a slow process. You aren’t going to wake up huge one morning because you accidentally worked out too hard. In most cases people are too bulky because of excess body fat, not excess muscle.

It’s time for a reality check!

If you want to be toned, firm, sculpted, or to reshape your body, you have to first increase your muscle density. And then you have to increase the size of your muscles. Remember the section above on Muscular Growth? Muscular growth is initially an increase in density, then an increase in size of your muscles. So if you have any goals to improve your appearance, you are going to have to adapt some of the training principles that bodybuilders follow. In other words, don’t fear weight training.

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