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Resistance Training: Benefits, Risks & Tips

Many people assume that obtaining the benefits of resistance training is a difficult process more suited for the advanced athlete or gym-goer. If you’re one of these people then it may shock you to learn that you’re far from the truth.

While this type of exercise has numerous similarities with strength training, it is in fact slightly different and therefore has a few varied advantages. For example, if you’re looking to boost your brain function or improve the quality of your sleep, then you’ve come to the right place!

We’re going to explain the various resistance training benefits in this guide, along with the following subtopics:

Before you read on, a lot of this information is conducive to a career in personal training, and you clearly landed on this article for a reason, right? 

Why not take a look at OriGym’s personal training courses while you’re here, or even download our latest course prospectus for a quick and easy way to learn more about our courses!

What Is Resistance Training? 

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Resistance training involves the performance of physical exercises that are designed so as to improve your endurance and your strength. It is often interchangeably discussed as strength training, however, they’re not quite the same. We’ll explain the difference later on!

Resistance training refers to any exercise where your muscles contract when you lift or pull against resistance. There are many different ways you can strengthen your muscles, both in the gym and at home. Some different types of resistance training include: 

  • Free weights - such as dumbbells and barbells
  • Medicine balls (these also have their own type of training - find out more about the benefits of medicine ball training here)
  • Weight machines 
  • Resistance bands - giant rubber bands that provide resistance when they’re stretched. They provide continuous resistance throughout a movement
  • Your own body weight - can be used for push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.   

Resistance training commonly uses the technique of progressively increasing the force output of your muscles through increasing the weights that you have to lift, pull, or push against so as to further increase and improve your strength, endurance, and size. 

Everyone would benefit from some form of resistance training. It doesn’t matter what your age, fitness level, or experience is, resistance training has many unique fitness benefits that just can’t be achieved through any other form of exercise. 

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you should perform a resistance training programme a minimum of twice a week. Depending on your fitness goals, practice one set of 8-12 repetitions for muscular strength, or 10-15 reps for muscular endurance.

When properly performed, resistance training can provide significant functional, health, and fitness benefits, which we’re going to be looking at in this article. 

Download our FREE 16 week strength training program to get started on your fitness journey!

Difference Between Resistance Training and Strength Training

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Resistance training and strength training are very similar types of exercise but with a small yet significant difference.

Resistance training actually works as an umbrella term under which strength training falls: whilst all strength training is technically resistance training, not all resistance training can be classed as strength training.

This is all down to the individual’s purpose behind the training. If someone is specifically training only to increase their strength then the bodyweight or resistance exercises will be classed as strength training. If you’re training more holistically, say your goal is hypertrophy or improving muscular endurance, then these exercises will be classed as resistance training but not strength training. 

Strength training typically involves lifting heavier weights in less reps and more sets with a longer rest in between. This is usually recommended as 1-5 reps of each particular exercise for 5 sets, with around 90 seconds to 180 seconds rest gap in between. The larger rest gap is necessary due to the increased workload put onto the muscles; they need the extra time to recover before the next set.

Now we know the distinction between these, what are the benefits of resistance training specifically? Read on to find out! 

17 Health Benefits of Resistance Training

#1 Helps Build Muscle 

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Perhaps the least surprising of the many benefits of resistance training is that by doing it regularly, you are, in fact, going to be building muscle. 

Your goal in resistance training is to challenge your muscles to produce force because that’s what makes them grow. Facing a mass your muscles must accelerate or a resistive force makes it easier for your muscles to produce force. 

The best kind of resistance training for building muscles is bodyweight and weights. Dumbbells and kettlebells give you the opportunity to train the body through a variety of movements and ranges of motion, with very little setup. They’re also joint-friendly movements too. 

As for body weight, managing your body weight is an incredibly valuable tool for your overall fitness. All the dumbbell curls and lifts in the world won’t help your body strength and fitness if you can’t do a pushup or hold a plank for thirty seconds. 

If you want to build your muscle mass, you should aim for training exercises that involve multi-joint motions, such as bench presses, deadlifts, rows, and squats. You can usually move more weight on these exercises than you can on single-joint motions such as lateral raises and bicep curls.

For 23 of the best bicep exercises check out our recent guide.

Facing more resistance and challenging your muscles with bigger weights will undoubtedly help your muscles and body grow in size and strength too. 

If you want to build and tone up your muscles then regular resistance training will undoubtedly be beneficial for you. 

#2 Promotes Weight Loss

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One of the most rewarding benefits of resistance training is that it can help you burn calories and fat, and ultimately lose weight! 

Many people think that cardiovascular exercise is the only way to burn fat and lose weight, but they’re wrong. Resistance training can also be an excellent way of burning fat and losing weight too!

Whilst resistance training may not get your heart pumping to the same degree as cardio will, it’ll get your metabolism working hard, a crucial element of burning calories and fat. 

The higher your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn, and the easier you’ll find it to lose weight and keep it off. 

Try incorporating some of the best metabolism-boosting foods into your diet too.

It’s suggested that building more muscle mass can help burn calories. Estimates suggest that for every pound of muscle, you’ll burn roughly 6 calories per day at rest. Having bigger and stronger muscles also means that you’ll be able to work out for longer, thus giving you the opportunity to burn more calories. 

Incorporating strength training into your exercise routines not only burns calories but also increases your lean muscle mass too, which stimulates your metabolism. 

If you’re looking to lose weight and burn a few more calories than you normally would on your morning jog, taking up strength training as part of your exercise routine could well be one of the best things that you do! 

#3 Improves Bone Density 

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Improving bone density is easily one of the most important of resistance training’s health benefits for sure! 

Strong bodies have strong bones, and resistance training significantly increases bone density. Any weight-bearing exercise in which you’re standing and gravity is lightly pulling down on your body stresses and strengthens your muscles and bones. 

Did you know that l-glutamine is an essential substance for healthy bone density?

Also, every time a muscle contracts, it pulls on the bone that it’s attached to. This stimulates the cells in the bone to move minerals and produce structural proteins, which, yet again, help strengthen and improve bone density. 

A benefit of resistance training making your bones stronger is that it can actually help reduce and prevent osteoporosis too! 

Briefly, osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body makes too little bone, loses too much bone, or both. As a result of this, the bones become weak and may be easier to break from a fall, or in more serious cases, from a bump or a sneeze. 

Osteoporosis is mainly an issue that older people suffer from. 

Resistance training has the ability to not only make your bones stronger but to actually encourage bone growth too, even in the elderly. 

A study in 2014, published in the Journal of Family and Community Medicine, just 12 weeks of strength training increased lower spine and femur bone mineral density by 2.9% and 4.9%, respectively.

This is one of the more effective benefits of resistance training for older adults to ensure that you don’t suffer from weak, fragile bones as you age. We’d highly recommend giving resistance training a try! 

#4 Boosts Cognitive Function 

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One of the psychological benefits of resistance training is that it can actually help boost your brain's health! 

Resistance training can help boost your brainpower across your lifetime, however, the effects are probably the strongest in older adults who are suffering from cognitive decline. 

In 2016, a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics found that when men and women between the ages of 55 and 86, who suffered from mild cognitive impairment, performed weight training twice a week for 6 months, they significantly improved their scores on cognitive tests. 

However, when participants spent their workouts stretching instead, their cognitive test scores declined. 

The key to this boost in cognitive function might be down to the fact that resistance training gets the blood flowing. High-intensity strength training increases the flow of oxygen, blood, and other nutrients to the brain. 

Aerobic exercise provides greater blood flow to the hippocampus, in particular, which is a region of the brain that is crucial to memory.

Cardio and aerobic exercise is also great for boosting brain function.

Whilst resistance training may not have a huge impact on your cognitive function if you’re young and healthy, it will definitely have some sort of positive impact on older adults suffering from cognitive decline!

#5 Reduces Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety 

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Another one of the benefits of resistance training is the exercise’s ability to help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and give your mental health a positive boost! 

A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry back in 2018 found that people with mild to moderate depression who performed resistance training two or more times a week saw significant reductions in their symptoms in comparison to people who did not.

The findings of this study also suggested that resistance training may be even more beneficial for those suffering from more severe symptoms of depression. 

Resistance training has also been found to increase people’s self-esteem. Resistance training has a positive effect on muscle mass and body definition, so it’s unsurprising that people have better body image and belief in their physical capabilities afterwards. Higher self-esteem can also have a positive effect on one’s mental health and wellbeing. 

Additionally, resistance training helps reduce feelings of stress. This is because physical activity of any kind causes your body to release endorphins, aka the happy hormone, which can produce feelings of euphoria. 

Though both cardio and resistance training stimulate your body to release endorphins, your body actually produces more endorphins in a faster period of time when you’re doing resistance training than it does when you're doing cardio. 

Some of the mental health benefits of running include alleviating symptoms of depression and helping reduce stress too, so this could also be a good exercise to try.

For a boost to your mental health and a general feeling of wellbeing, we highly recommend you giving resistance training benefits a try! 

#6 Decreases Risk of Injury 

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Not only will resistance training make you stronger but it’ll also help reduce your chances of picking up injuries too.

Resistance training helps improve your body’s alignment. When your body is properly aligned, it can easily engage in intense physical activity without any issues. However, if your bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles become misaligned to one another, they’ll no longer be able to work together seamlessly. 

Resistance training involves lots of fluid motions and movements that promote excellent body alignment. This will go a long way towards reducing any risks of you getting injured! 

Resistance training also prevents muscle imbalances from happening too. When you’re practising for a specific sport, you tend to work on the muscles that are most commonly used during that specific activity. 

Muscle imbalances happen when a certain muscle group becomes stronger than an opposing muscle group. For example, if your hamstrings become very strong, your quadriceps may become too weak in comparison. Not only could this cause the weaker muscles to get tired quicker, but the intense contractions of the stronger muscles could potentially damage the weaker muscles. 

Muscle imbalances could also lead to injuries, such as torn ligaments and strained muscles. 

Read our guide on how to avoid ACL injuries here - this is vital information for all athletes and exercisers!

Resistance training ensures that your lesser-used muscles stay strong enough to work alongside their opposing muscle groups. A balanced resistance training programme will focus on all muscle groups so as to ensure that you don’t get injured. 

As far as the physiological benefits of resistance training go, being able to help prevent injuries is one of the most important.

Don't forget to download your FREE 16-week training program from OriGym!

#7 Prevents Chronic Diseases

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Another one of the huge health benefits of resistance training is the fact that by doing it regularly you can prevent and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer in the long term. 

For people with diabetes, resistance training helps the body respond better to insulin, lose weight, lower your risk for heart disease, and improve the way it uses blood sugar. Studies have shown that resistance training is as good as aerobic exercise at boosting how well your body uses insulin. Doing aerobic exercise as well as resistance training will improve it even further. 

Resistance training can also be a great help for people suffering from arthritis. When done properly as part of a larger exercise programme, strength training can support and protect their joints, as well as ease pain, swelling, and stiffness too. 

Resistance training can also help lessen your risk of suffering from cancer. Visceral fat is fat that wraps around your abdominal organs. Visceral fat not only increases your risks of developing heart disease and diabetes but can also promote cancer development. It has been shown that visceral fat cells produce high levels of fibroblast, a cancer-triggering protein. 

As we know, resistance training can help you lose weight and burn fat, including visceral fat, therefore lessening your chances of developing cancer. 

Learn more about the different types of body fats in our recent guide so you can discover some healthy weight loss tips.

As for heart disease, this has a range of causes, including inactivity, obesity, and having high cholesterol. Resistance training helps tackle these issues, thus lessening your risks of developing heart disease. 

If you want to lessen your chances of developing any potentially life-threatening chronic diseases, we highly recommend you incorporating resistance training into your regular exercise routine! 

#8 Slows Muscle Atrophy 

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One of the benefits of resistance training for older adults, in particular, is the fact that it can help slow down the rate of muscle atrophy as they get older. 

As we get older, we become more likely to experience age-related muscle decline, also known as sarcopenia. People with sarcopenia experience weakness, loss of stamina, and loss of their ability to carry out physical activities. The reduction in activity then has a knock-on effect, causing you to lose muscle mass over time.

Resistance training, as we know, can help make you stronger and build your muscle mass. Keeping your muscles strong and working on a regular basis can help reduce the risks of you suffering from muscle problems and muscle weaknesses as you get older. 

The more strength training you do and the more work you put in, the less likely you are to develop sarcopenia as the years go by! 

For a little extra help with this condition, you can take collagen supplements too.

#9 Improves Sleep Quality

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Improving your sleep is another one of the benefits of resistance training that we’re sure the vast majority of people are going to be very, very happy about! 

A study from Preventive Medicine Reports has found that adding some strength training into your daily routine can actually help improve the quality of your sleep! 

Researchers looked at 23,000 adults in Germany and collected data on how often they do strength training and their sleep quality. They found that sleep following any muscle strengthening exercises tended to be better than sleep on days when resistance training wasn’t used. 

Another link between resistance training and having a healthy sleep pattern is related to healing. Sleep, as we know, is a necessary phase for the body to repair its cells and grow and develop new tissues. These processes are governed by fluctuations in the levels of different hormones in the bloodstream. 

Evening workouts can help you sleep better. This is because the microscopic damage is done to individual muscle fibres during muscle training, which also boosts muscle growth, elevates the levels of some of these hormones, preparing your body and mind to drift off into a natural sleep. 

If you’re still struggling with tiredness then taking some of the top vitamins to combat fatigue can give you a much-needed boost.

It’s also been found that increasing the length and intensity of your strength training can also have a greater effect on your sleep quality, due to the greater demands placed on your muscles. Therefore, your body needs a longer and deeper period of rest to replenish and repair.

The long and short of it is, the more strength training you do, the better you’ll sleep. We reckon that’s a fair deal, don’t you? 

OriGym has some other great training guides, so check them out too!

#10 Boosts Cardiovascular Health 

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Whilst building and maintaining muscle mass is a big part of strength training, perhaps one of the most important benefits of resistance training is how much it can help keep your heart healthy. 

Studies have suggested that resistance training has a direct impact on your heart. In 2013, a study found that young men who regularly take part in resistance training have better functioning HDL cholesterol than those who didn’t utilise this exercise program. HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol because it helps remove other, more damaging, forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream. 

It has also been found that resistance training helps improve your blood pressure and triglyceride levels in a similar way to how cardiovascular exercise does. However, resistance training actually has greater benefits on HDL than cardio does! 

Having high blood pressure means that you are 3 times more likely to die from heart disease. Improving your blood pressure not only lessens these chances but it decreases your chances of a stroke too, as well as protects your kidneys and increases your lifespan too. 

Did you know that drinking green tea can also help reduce your blood pressure?

One of the best ways to look after your heart and to ensure that you don’t suffer from any potentially life-threatening heart issues later on in life is to incorporate strength training into your weekly workout routine. 

#11 Improves Mobility and Flexibility 

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If you’re interested in improving your mobility and flexibility, then these next resistance training benefits will be of particular interest to you for sure! 

Consistent resistance training through a full range of motion actually improves flexibility, even more so than static stretching does in fact. 

In a study comparing resistance training and static stretching, it was found that resistance training improved both joint mobility and body flexibility just as effectively as stretching. 

Static stretching improves your flexibility by increasing stretch tolerance and decreasing the pain you feel when reaching a specific muscle length. It doesn’t change the muscle, it just means that you can stretch your muscle more before your brain tells the muscle to tighten. 

Resistance training, on the other hand, increases flexibility by changing the structure of the muscle itself. 

Each muscle is divided up into fibres that sit in line with one another. Resistance training results in a certain amount of muscle growth, which allows more fibres to sit in the same place. Because each fibre in that space has the same flexibility potential as the fibres that were there before, the muscle can be stretched further! 

Increasing your flexibility will also give you a greater range of motion and improved mobility. Improved mobility will see you at a much lower risk of getting injured, experiencing faster recoveries, and will see improvements in your form too during weight-lifting exercises!

When you have optimal mobility you’ll be able to get into better positions, and from those better positions, you’ll be able to generate greater power and strength, which will see you get stronger. 

This is another one of the physiological benefits of resistance training that helps both exercise and everyday activities. If you’re looking for further tips on how to improve your flexibility then check out our recent blog post!

#12 Reduces Aches & Pains

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One of the particularly important health benefits of resistance training is that by doing it regularly you could potentially relieve yourself of any chronic pains that you’re currently suffering from. 

Resistance training is particularly effective when it comes to relieving back pain. This may sound odd, but the aim of resistance training to relieve back pain isn’t to bulk up your muscles, it’s to develop strength, or to be more specific, back strength. 

The muscles in your back help keep your spine moving as it should, so the stronger they are, the more likely your spine is to move as it should, thus relieving any back pain. If you have a weak back or weak abdominal muscles, you could be prone to back strain. 

But don’t think that it should be just your back that you strengthen. It’s crucial that you strengthen other parts of your body too, including your leg muscles and core too. 

Overall body strength can not only lead to less back pain but could make everyday activities, such as lifting, much, much easier to do. 

To lessen any arthritis induced pains, resistance training is yet another great option for you. When properly done, strength training can help support and protect your joints and ease stiffness, swelling, and pain too!

However, it can be difficult to start exercising when you already have joint pain: try investing in items such as knee compression sleeves to help gradually relieve aches and pains beforehand. 

So if you’re suffering from any form of chronic back pain then this is one of the benefits of resistance exercise that will help you the most!

#13 Improves Endurance 

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Another one of the impressive benefits of resistance exercise is the fact it can actually help improve your endurance, meaning you’ll be able to keep working out at a higher intensity for longer than you could before.

Many endurance athletes believe that strength training will make them too big or bulky, will lead to injuries, and have no place in their weekly workout schedule. However, contrary to this common belief, a couple of sessions of strength training every week can actually lead to significant gains in endurance performance.

One way that this is true is seen in endurance athletes who do participate in resistance training may recover faster from injuries, reduce muscle imbalances, and prevent overuse injuries more so than an athlete who doesn’t. 

A study from 2012 found that cyclists who performed 12 weeks of heavy resistance training, as well as regular endurance training, were able to improve their performances by up to 7% compared to cyclists who only participated in endurance training. 

Another type of training that can build your endurance is calisthenics training.

Strengthening your muscles will also play an important role in helping you improve your endurance, something we know for a fact resistance training does. The stronger your muscles are, the longer you’ll be able to work out at a higher intensity. It’s as simple as that! 

#14 Improves Balance 

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One of the more important benefits of resistance training for older adults is the fact that it can help you develop better body mechanics, such as your balance, posture, and coordination. 

One study found that strength training reduced the risk of falling in older people who are at a higher risk of falling by up to 40% compared with individuals who did not participate in strength training exercises. 

Older people being more susceptible to falling over and having poorer balance is due to the aforementioned sarcopenia, which can lead to muscle weakness as we get older. 

Working out with one of OriGym’s best-reviewed Bosu balls can help improve balance fast.

Balance is dependent on the strength of the muscles that keep us on our feet and standing up. The stronger those muscles are, the better our balance is going to be. It’s really as simple as that! 

So if you want to work on your balance then forget the tightropes and balancing balls, and get started on reaping the health benefits of resistance training! 

#15 Potentially Prevents Dementia 

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We’ve already mentioned the fact that resistance training can help improve your cognitive function and mental health, but did you know that it can also stave off the progression of dementia in older adults too? 

Briefly, dementia is a condition associated with the ongoing decline of brain functioning. It is a general term for loss of memory, language, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. 

A literature review published in 2013 reviewed the effects of different types of exercise undertaken by elderly people. The review looked at aerobic exercise (such as walking), balance and stretch classes, and resistance training. It found that those that participated in resistance training produced the best results for improved cognition measurements and memory. 

Though resistance training can’t eradicate or cure Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the results of this study have shown promise in delaying the onset of the disorder. 

Incorporating eggplant into your diet can also help reduce the effects of cognitive disorders.

As previously discussed in point 4, resistance training can have a positive effect on the cognitive function of older adults who suffered from minor cognitive impairments. 

Whilst resistance training isn’t a cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s, the results are definitely promising and a step in the right direction in terms of tackling the disorder. 

#16 Improved Metabolic Rate 

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As we’ve already touched upon previously, one of the many health benefits to resistance training is that it can actually help improve your metabolic rate! 

The truth is, the speed of your metabolic rate is largely down to many elements that are quite simply out of your control. Your basal metabolic rate (i.e. the calories you burn for energy) is driven by a variety of factors, including your genetics, sex, and age. 

The largest determiner of your metabolic rate though is your total body mass. The more cells in the body, the faster your metabolic rate is. While you can try to eat some of the top metabolism-boosting foods, resistance training can be just as effective. 

Building muscle mass is something you can do to increase your metabolic rate, and could see you burn more calories than you normally would. For example, if you add 10 pounds of muscle and lose 10 pounds of fat, you’ll burn 40 extra calories per day. Though this doesn’t sound like much, it can be particularly beneficial in the long term. 

Your metabolism also stays elevated after a strength training session due to a process called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This is also known as the after-burn effect. This means that you’ll continue to burn calories, even after your workout has finished. 

Ultimately, whilst building muscle through resistance training may not boost your metabolism a huge amount (it’ll be secondary to most of the other health benefits you experience in strength training), but it’s still worth giving a go, even if it is just to make yourself feel healthy and strong! 

#17 Increases Lifespan 

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As far as health benefits for resistance training go, surely they don’t get much more lucrative than the fact that strength training can actually help increase your lifespan! 

Whilst strength training won’t grant you eternal life, there is a link between having stronger muscles and living longer. 

Research from the University of Michigan, for example, found that people with low muscle strength are 50% more likely to die earlier than those with stronger muscles! 

They also found that it’s your grip strength that’s most important. Researchers discovered that our handgrip strength declines as we get older, and this is bad because our hands are important for being able to live independently as we age. 

The researchers came to the conclusion that maintaining muscle strength, in our hands particularly, especially in later life, is incredibly important for longevity and ageing independently. 

As previously discussed, as we get older, we get weaker, and as we get weaker, the more susceptible we are to falls and not being able to look after ourselves properly. Therefore maintaining healthy, strong muscles is a vitally important part of growing old.

So, whilst it may not keep you alive forever, the benefits to resistance training will undoubtedly give you the opportunity to stay strong and healthy for a much longer time than those who don’t do strength training exercises. 

What Are Resistance Training Exercises?

There are numerous exercises that fall under the term resistance training so whatever your goals, age, or ability, there will be a workout for you. We’re going to provide a few examples that are effective for beginners and advanced.

#1 TRX Workouts

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TRX training is a programme that uses specialised training bands to perform TRX exercises, such as the TRX clock press. This type of training offers unique advantages in that you have to change your centre of gravity to perform some of the exercises. 

It’s an incredibly simple and accessible training method with many of the same benefits as the resistance training benefits that we discussed above, as well as several additional benefits that make it worthwhile taking up. 

If you want to find out more about it then read more in our exercise guide on TRX training.

#2 Use Resistance Bands 

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Similar to TRX training, adding resistance bands into your regular workouts can easily turn your normal training into resistance training. 

There are a few different types of resistance bands, including resistance tubes and figure 8 bands, but ultimately they all offer similar benefits. As well as being cheap and versatile, they offer full-body workouts and improved muscle tone. 

For more information on the benefits of resistance bands check out our article!

They’ve become a hugely popular piece of equipment in the exercise industry which means that they’re readily available online and in a lot of fitness shops, as well as some supermarkets. 

OriGym's FREE 16-week strength training program is perfect for building on your strength!

#3 Bodyweight Exercises 

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As we mentioned above, bodyweight exercises are classed as strength and resistance exercises as your body acts as the weight or ‘resistance’ that it has to move.

These exercises include the classics, like squats, push-ups, chin-ups, planks, and lunges, as well as the variations and progressions of these exercises. 

Take a look at our exercise guides on how to do the Aleknas exercise and oblique crunches and variations for some more interesting resistance exercises!

How To Get Started With Resistance Training

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You might think that it will be complicated to start resistance training, but fortunately, it is actually pretty easy! 

As we explained above, a lot of the resistance exercises are the typical bodyweight movements that pretty much all gym-goers and athletes use already, so starting off couldn’t be simpler. Even just incorporating squats, planks, and push-ups into your regular workouts will work towards resistance training. These simple exercises are the best way to start resistance training for beginners.

If you’re more inclined to use weights in your workouts then it’s best to start off with a lighter weight than you think you can lift and then gradually increase the weight as you progress. This allows you to practice the proper form of the exercises with less risk of injuring yourself.

Once you are comfortable with the basic exercises it is recommended that you move on to progressions or more difficult exercises to continue building your fitness and strength.

How Often Should I Do Resistance Training?

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This is a highly debated topic that has resulted in little to no definitive answer. Some people will recommend resistance training 5 days a week whilst others will strongly disagree.

While that has probably confused you instead of providing sound advice, ultimately the answer all depends on your individual goals, abilities and time. 

If you’re looking to build muscle and strength at a faster rate then you should aim to do resistance exercises more often than someone who might be taking more of a relaxed approach.

Regardless of your goals, the key to any successful training program is to find the right balance between exercise and rest. Your body needs time to recover from any workout, so to feel the health benefits of resistance training make sure you incorporate enough rest days into your training regime. For more advice on this, read OriGym’s guide on how many rest days you need

In terms of training frequency, our article on strength training offers more detailed advice on how often to train depending on your ability so if you need more information then read the section there. 

Risks And Disadvantages Of Resistance Training

As with all forms of exercise, there are certain risks and disadvantages that come with resistance training. However, these are few and far between, so don’t let them put dissuade you from trying out this effective form of training!

Risks

#1 Muscle & Joint Strain

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The most obvious, and most common, risk with resistance training is damage to muscles and joints. 

As with almost all forms of exercise, the potential for muscle strains or tears is always present, especially for beginners or those that don’t practice proper form and technique before attempting progressive exercises. 

#2 Resistance Bands

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Whilst resistance bands are generally a safe and effective piece of equipment to exercise with, there is always a minor risk that the bands could snap or you could lose your grip and snap them. This probably isn’t going to cause any major injury but it will definitely hurt!

Try to invest in good quality bands and keep a strong grip on them at all times. Take a look at OriGym’s best resistance bands for some inspiration!

#3 Equipment Use

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In a similar fashion to the risk of snapping resistance bands, there is always the risk of dropping workout equipment and causing injury. Unfortunately, this one is a bigger risk as these can cause some serious damage if handled incorrectly.

Always ensure that you can lift the weights, whether that’s dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells, before using them in a workout as this will reduce the likelihood of you dropping them. This will also reduce the chances of injury as you’ll know that your muscles won’t be overworking to lift the weights. Additionally, asking someone to spot you will increase the safety of your equipment.

Disadvantages

#1 Can Get Complicated

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As we now know, resistance training is a term that encompasses a vast range of exercises and workouts. Due to this broad term, it can be more difficult to recognise and incorporate the right exercises and movements into a specified resistance workout, and the further you progress the more complex it is likely to become. 

To further exacerbate this disadvantage, you’ll have to learn the right amounts of reps and sets in order to build an effective training programme, and this again can quickly become confusing.

While we can’t detail all of the reps and sets for every resistance training workout, we can offer you a quick and easy home workout builder that can help get you started!

#2 Can Become Expensive

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This is much the same with the majority of training types: you can quickly get caught up in the targeted products and equipment that will supposedly increase your efficacy and make your workout better. While there are a few key pieces of equipment that you probably need, most of these products are just gimmicks or unnecessary items. 

That being said, as you progress with your resistance training it can be more difficult to find the right equipment and weights to further your training, which is where the expense comes in. Adding weights to your workouts can increase in price. Plus, if you need or want to use more specialised equipment or machines then finding them (either in gyms or for purchase) can end up costing you a small fortune. 

Conclusion

If you’re looking to build muscle, get some better sleep, or even add a few years onto your life then resistance training could be the best exercise for you! It’s relatively easy to start and practise, it’s beneficial for everyone and can be incorporated into a number of different fitness regimes. 

While it may become a little bit more complicated in the future, this shouldn’t be a huge concern as you don’t necessarily need to do the most advanced or complex exercises to reap the health benefits of resistance training. Just start off easy: squats and push-ups will get you on the right path in no time!

Learning and practising the various types of training is one of the key parts of being a personal trainer. If you’d like to learn more and impart that knowledge to others then sign up for OriGym’s level 3 personal training course today! Our range of REPS and CIMSPA accredited courses is broad enough that you’ll find the perfect one for your career goals.

Download your FREE course prospectus for all the information on our courses and services.

Sources:

  1. American College Of Sports Medicine (n.d.). Physical Activity Guidelines Resources. [online] www.acsm.org. Available at: https://www.acsm.org/read-research/trending-topics-resource-pages/physical-activity-guidelines.
  2. Bennie, J.A. and Tittlbach, S. (2020). Muscle-strengthening Exercise and Sleep Quality among a Nationally Representative Sample of 23,635 German Adults. Preventive Medicine Reports, 20.
  3. Bherer, L., Erickson, K.I. and Liu-Ambrose, T. (2013). A Review of the Effects of Physical Activity and Exercise on Cognitive and Brain Functions in Older Adults. Journal of Aging Research, [online] 2013, pp.1–8.
  4. Bird, S.R. and Hawley, J.A. (2017). Update on the Effects of Physical Activity on Insulin Sensitivity in Humans. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, [online] 2(1), p.e 000143.
  5. Cadore, E.L., Rodríguez-Mañas, L., Sinclair, A. and Izquierdo, M. (2013). Effects of Different Exercise Interventions on Risk of Falls, Gait Ability, and Balance in Physically Frail Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Rejuvenation Research, 16(2), pp.105–114.
  6. Gordon, B.R., McDowell, C.P., Hallgren, M., Meyer, J.D., Lyons, M. and Herring, M.P. (2018). Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training With Depressive Symptoms. JAMA Psychiatry, 75(6), p.566.
  7. Hansen, E.A., Rønnestad, B.R., Vegge, G. and Raastad, T. (2012). Cyclists’ Improvement of Pedaling Efficacy and Performance After Heavy Strength Training. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 7(4), pp.313–321.
  8. Mavros, Y., Gates, N., Wilson, G.C., Jain, N., Meiklejohn, J., Brodaty, H., Wen, W., Singh, N., Baune, B.T., Suo, C., Baker, M.K., Foroughi, N., Wang, Y., Sachdev, P.S., Valenzuela, M. and Fiatarone Singh, M.A. (2016). Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(3), pp.550–559.
  9. Morton, S.K., Whitehead, J.R., Brinkert, R.H. and Caine, D.J. (2011). Resistance Training vs. Static Stretching: Effects on Flexibility and Strength. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(12), pp.3391–3398.
  10. Science Daily (2013). When It Comes to the Good cholesterol, Fitness Trumps Weight. American Physiological Society.
  11. Shanb, A. and Youssef, E. (2014). The Impact of Adding weight-bearing Exercise versus Nonweight Bearing Programs to the Medical Treatment of Elderly Patients with Osteoporosis. Journal of Family and Community Medicine, [online] 21(3), p.176.
  12. University of Michigan (2018). People with Low Muscle Strength More Likely to Die Prematurely. [online] University of Michigan News. Available at: https://news.umich.edu/people-with-low-muscle-strength-more-likely-to-die-prematurely/ [Accessed 8 Apr. 2021].

Written by Dee Hammond-Blackburn

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Dee on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Dee holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature, and is currently finishing her MA in Marketing Communications and Branding from Edge Hill University. Her passion for fitness and content writing brought her to OriGym, and she has since become a qualified Personal Trainer and a Sports Nutrition Specialist. Combining her skills in fitness and writing, Dee has a professional interest in fitness blogging, content creation, and social media. Outside of her writing role Dee enjoys reading, healthy cooking, and playing football with her dalmation.

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