Resistance training (also known as strength or weight training) has many benefits. And the best thing is, anyone can do it. You don’t need to spend a tonne of money on expensive equipment or a gym membership.
Read on for a beginners introduction to resistance training.
What exactly is resistance training?
Basically, resistance training is any action or movement by your body that requires your muscle to contract in order to overcome the resistance.
The health benefits of resistance training are enormous, decreasing your chances of degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis, increase your joint stability and strength, improves your balance, which in many cases decreases our risk of injury.
It also improves posture and enhances functional strength, making the things we do in everyday life much easier. That should be everyone’s goal.
Resistance exercise comes in many different forms – free weights, body weight, resistance bands, machine weights, hydraulics, medicine balls and the list goes on…
If you’re a beginner don’t be intimidated, the good news is you require very little to get started! Your own body weight and a resistance band will get you off and running!
Biggest muscles first
A good tip is to start with your biggest muscle groups first, our legs and backside.
Simple squats and lunges using your own body weight are a good start. Focus on good technique in the beginning, rather than weight .
For your chest, do some push ups on your toes or knees. If this proves too hard, try standing and pushing away from a wall.
It’s important to then do the opposite muscle group – your back – with a ‘pull‘ exercise. This is vital for your posture! A seated row with a resistance band is the perfect exercise.
Many personal trainers believe that rowing is one of the most effective exercises that you can do at home and we have reviewed the best rowing machines should you wish to graduate to a dedicated home device.
You can then do a shoulder press with a resistance band (this is a ‘push‘ exercise), followed by a Lat (latissimus dorsi) pull down (a ‘pull‘ exercise, working the lats in the back) with your resistance band. You simply need an anchor point to throw the band over.
Note the emphasis on push and pull exercises, it’s really important for posture.
Engage your core
And we like to finish a training sessions with exercises that engage our core: A simple abdominal curl followed by an alternate superman for the opposite muscle group is an awesome exercise.
This is an effective and easy way to start resistance training, just remember to have 48-72 hours rest between sessions.
Listen to your body, if you are still a bit sore go for a brisk walk instead.
And remember, if you’re not sure about some of the exercises or techniques ask a fitness professional for help. That is, after all, what they are there for…