Resistance training is often only thought of as lifting heavy weights, which is a form of the training but only a small part.
In reality we can create resistance by moving our bodyweight, resisting against gravity or using equipment to increase the load. Resistance training helps increase muscular fitness and has some surprising benefits that cardio training doesn't share.
Here are 3 reasons why you need to be doing resistance training.
Resistance training helps improve bone density.
This is super important as we age. Part of the ageing process is loss of bone density, which means higher likelihood of injury from falls. While training our muscles grow, and our bone density increases meaning we are less likely to hurt ourselves because we are more durable.
To combat loss of bone density, resistance training is the secret weapon that we should all be using. Simple movements like bodyweight squats, lunges and push-ups are considered functional movements because they simulate movements we do in real life. A squat is the same movement as sitting and standing from a chair, a lunge is climbing stairs, and a push-up is needed to get off the floor from lying down. Training these movements regularly will allow you to enjoy moving for many years to come.
Get better mobility. What?
Did you know weak muscles are short muscles? When a muscle is weak it needs to shorten to find tension. The stronger the muscle is the longer the position it can be in while maintaining tension. If we have poor mobility in the muscles, we are more likely to get hurt when moving about in the unusual ways our lives demand.
Most of us spend large amounts of our days sitting and staring at screens, usually we then think about being tight (think of that tension in your neck and shoulders) which is true.
What often we don't consider is that we also have weak muscles pulling us into far from ideal positions. Your weak chest and mid back muscles leave you hunched forward, so your neck and shoulders are forced to work harder leaving them sore and tight.
To improve mobility through resistance training you can start with bodyweight movements. The focus is to maintain tension in the greatest range of motion possible. If we were to use a lunge as an example, the goal is to get from standing to knee on the floor maintaining tension and control in your whole body. If you can't control to the floor yet you start with where you can control and then try to add 1cm.
As your strength and mobility improves you will be able to control deeper positions or greater load. You could stand on a step and try to control the knee down to the floor below or hold a weight while maintaining control. If you are just starting out, we highly recommend finding a coach who can help you to understand tension and guide your exercise selection to best suit your needs.
Burn more calories than doing Cardio!
When you do cardio training you only burn calories during the time you are working. Whereas with resistance training your body continues to burn calories up to 48 hours after you have finished training! So, the total calories burned overtime is much greater after a resistance training session.
Now I'm not saying you don't ever need to do cardio. Cardio is important for your heart and lungs, but if we were to prioritise between the two, I would suggest 3-4 resistance training sessions in a week then adding cardio sessions depending on what is happening in your life. This prescription may change depending on your goals, but prioritising resistance training will have greater health benefits than cardio and a greater calorie burn.
If these facts were new and now you are wondering how to start resistance training, we have loads of amazing exercise videos on our Youtube page.
Are you interested in training with us in person or online? You can apply from our Training Page.