Resistance training, also known as strength training or weight training, is a crucial component of your overall exercise routine. There are so many resistance training benefits that I have a hard time deciding where to start.
When I suggest (read: encourage) people to incorporate a resistance component into their workout, I often get some of the following excuses: I don’t want to get too bulky! Don’t I need to do cardio to lose weight?? Don’t I need to be in shape before I lift weights?
These questions often make me shake my head so let me quickly answer these questions before I outline some resistance training benefits.
First off, if it was that easy to bulk up then we’d see a lot more Arnold-look-alikes walking around. The fact is we don’t. It is NOT that easy. Our ability to build muscle is LARGELY determined by our genetics and the percentage of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers we possess.
Resistance training helps us improve our overall strength and muscle mass, but very few people have the genetics and time needed to develop the incredibly high level of musculature that so many of us are afraid of. This excuse often comes from women. Remember that males have a significant advantage over females when it comes to building muscle since their testosterone levels are up to 30 times higher. That being said, stop using those 5lb dumbbells because you’re afraid of getting “big.” It just won’t happen!
Secondly, in my opinion, cardio is not the most effective way of losing weight. I don’t want to get too much into weight loss but I do want to highlight one thing. My belief is that resistance training helps you turn your body into a calorie burning machine. Not only do you burn calories DURING the workout, but as you replace fat with muscle tissue, which is a more active tissue, you will start to increase your basal metabolic rate. This will help your body burn more calories even when you’re resting. Now that is what I call efficiency!
Lastly, resistance training NEEDS to be part of your overall workout program. A lot of people underestimate the potential of resistance training when it comes to training your heart. Try a simple interval routine with resistance training exercises and watch your heart rate skyrocket.
So now that I’ve had the chance to clear those up, here are the most important resistance training benefits that you need to be aware of.
Resistance training will help you achieve the following:
- Improves muscular strength and endurance
- Improves core strength and posture
- Improves joint strength which helps reduce risk of injury
- Complements maintenance of a healthy body weight
- Improves bone strength thus minimizing risk of osteoporosis
- Reduces loss of muscle mass due to aging or inactivity
- Improves your strength for cardiovascular exercise
Positive changes in the muscular system via resistance training have a significant influence on our everyday lives. When we impose demands on our muscles and perform physical work that is greater than what the muscles are used to, they get stronger. Since muscle is a very adaptable tissue, adequate resistance training will help muscles grow stronger and larger which will help you perform everyday activities more easily.
I hope you understand the importance of resistance training and how the resistance training benefits can improve your health and overall life.