10 Benefits of Resistance Training

If you are interested in health and well-being, you’ve likely been told that resistance training is the one thing to include in your routine.  But what is it, and why should we be doing it?

Let’s take a look. 

What is Resistance Training?

Resistance training is a form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness.  It’s any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, power, growth and endurance. The external resistance can be dumbbells, bands, your own body weight or realistically any other object that places a load on your muscles.  It’s based on the basic premise that when you load a muscle, trauma occurs, and it grows back bigger and stronger.  

Many people worry that lifting weights, or doing resistance training will make them big and bulky, but for anyone who has attempted to build muscle, you’ll know how difficult this actually is! 

Resistance training should be included in everyone’s routine, for a number of reasons. 

  • Reversing Muscle Loss

Numerous studies have demonstrated that relatively brief sessions (e.g., 12 to 20 total exercise sets) of regular resistance training (two or three nonconsecutive days per week) can increase muscle mass in adults of all ages through the 10th decade of life. 

  • Contributes to Energy Balance Management

Resistance training causes tissue microtrauma that requires relatively large amounts of energy for muscle remodelling processes that may persist for 72 h after the training session.  What this means is that calories are still used even after your workout which can help you manage your energy balance.  

  • Helps Tackle Body Fat!

Research has revealed significant reductions in intra-abdominal fat in older men and women who have carried out resistance training.  It’s believed that resistance training results in an increased resting metabolic rate and improved insulin sensitivity which may reduce fat stores!

  • Slows Down Ageing!

In one study, nursing home residents (mean age = 89 years) performed one set of six resistance machine exercises, twice a week, for 14 weeks. At the end of the training period, the participants increased their overall strength by 60%, added 1.7 kg of lean weight, and improved their functional independence measure by 14%.

In addition, another study found that standard resistance training showed a reversal in mitochondrial deterioration that typically occurs with ageing.

  • Prevent the onset of Diabetes!

Researchers have concluded that resistance training may be an effective intervention approach for middle-aged and older adults to counteract age-associated declines in insulin sensitivity and to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

  • Support Cardiovascular Health 

Researchers have suggested that resistance training is as effective as aerobic endurance training in reducing major cardiovascular disease risk factors.

  • Lowers Blood Pressure 

One study demonstrated that individuals who resistance trained twice a week significantly reduced blood pressure readings.

  • Enhance Cholesterol Profiles

In a study with elderly women (70 to 87 years of age), resistance training significantly improved triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol profiles.

  • Improved Bone Density

A 2-year study indicated that resistance training resulted in a 3.2% improvement in bone mineral density compared with the control group. However, studies show that termination of the resistance training program leads to reversal of BMD gains.

  •  Supports Mental Health 

The mental health benefits of resistance training for adults include:

  • reduction of symptoms in people with fatigue, anxiety, and depression,
  • pain alleviation in people with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and low back issues,
  • improvements in cognitive abilities in older adults,
  • improvements in self-esteem. 

One study demonstrated that 10 weeks of combined resistance training and aerobic activity significantly improved physical self-concept, mood, depression, fatigue, feelings of tranquillity, and tension.  

How Much Resistance Training Should I Do?

  • ​​Non-consecutive days/weekly
  • One set of 8-12 reps for healthy adults
  • 8-10 major exercises targeting major muscle groups
  • Frequency:
    • novice 2-3 days/ week,
    • intermediate 3 days/week;
    • advanced 4-6 days/week

It’s clear that resistance training boasts a range of benefits.  If you would like to include any resistance training in your routine, check out the range of programmes we have on offer and don’t forget to reach out if you have any questions on getting started.