The Benefits of Training 💪🏼

Resistance Training

Resistance training improves muscle strength or endurance capacity depending on the training stimulus. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends everyone should take part in resistance training once or twice per week, completing eight to ten different exercises, 10 to 12 reps, one or two sets to maintain good bone and muscle health.

Resistance training improves health by:

  • Control weight – Burn more calories at rest (BSM – Basal Metabolic Rate) – fitter or more active muscles require more calories even when at rest; Improving bone density – bone is laid down in response to stimulus (overcoming resistance and therefore reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

  • Lessen the pain of arthritis – Help improve range of movement (ROM), slow the progression of condition, help gain confidence to regain independence, improve weight control and reduce the chance of de-conditioning the body.

  • Reduce the risk of CV disease and diabetes – Improves the action of insulin (can decrease insulin requirement by 50% in type 1 and in type 2 eliminate the need all together) and enhances blood glucose. Reduced chance of developing complications such as vascular deterioration. Slow twitch muscles give the best results for insulin sensitivity so aerobic exercise should be encouraged. ALL USUAL BENEFITS OF RESISTANCE TRAINING STILL APPLY!

  • Decrease blood pressure – Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the relative risk of developing hypertension by 19-30% - in fact low cardio-respiratory fitness level in middle age has been associated with a 50% greater risk of hypertension, as reported by the American Council of Exercise (ACE). Conditioning the body through CV and resistance training makes general daily activities easier to perform, reducing the daily effort the heart has to make. Exercise also engenders feeling of well-being and confidence that may be lacking following an MI or diagnosis of a serious CV condition.

  • Resistance training can change body shape, improves posture and enhances sporting performance. It clearly improves strength making everyday activities easier and helps stabilise joints reducing the risk of falls and injury.

  • In addition resistance training improves mood and enhances self esteem.

A range of equipment can be used to gain these benefits; water, rubber tubing or therabands, isometrics or body weight, free weights and machines can all be used:

  • Machine weights – Limited balance is required so this makes them a good choice for beginners or the elderly. They are relatively safe and set you into a line of movement.

  • Free weights – Require a greater degree of stabilising effort, making them a good option to improve joint stability and strength. Because they are independent they promote more functional movements and can be more versatile.

Compound vs Isolation Exercises

  • The main part of any workout should always focus on compound exercises

  • Compound exercises involve 2 or more joints moving

  • They create better force balance between muscle groups, which is more functional (most relate to movements in life)

  • They create less stress on the joints and stabilizer muscles due to smaller changes in lever length

  • They are more time efficient

  • You only need 3 compound exercises to train all the prime movers in your body

  • Exercises such as leg press are less functional than say squat but still useful because they are time efficient

  • Isolation exercises use one joint and are less functional and time efficient

  • Some isolation exercises can be high risk due to the force generated at a joint unaided by normal supportive structures e.g. leg extension vs squat; Whilst a leg extension improves the strength of the quadriceps (a desired outcome), it does so without the normal supportive contraction of the hamstrings. When, however, we complete a squat both the quadriceps (knee extension) and hamstrings (hip extension) are active. This provides superior stabilisation and support to the knee joint. Important for people recovering from a knee injury or suffering from arthritis in the knee.

  • Isolation exercises should really only used for body shaping.

Strength Gains From Resistance Training

  • High Intensity – Increase muscle strength and size.

  • Heavy weights and low reps (less than 8) – Strength gains are optimal where heavy weights and low reps are completed.

  • Because of the above the muscle is predominantly using the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP-PC or Phosphate System) energy system.

  • Neuromuscular control and communication – A beginner exerciser will see rapid strength gains, literally from session to session. This can be a fantastic motivator. These rapid gains are due to improved neuromuscular control and communication (neuromuscular gain). As training continues, the cells in the muscle increase in number and size.

Endurance Gains From Resistance Training