Resistance Training - Basic Principles

Basic Principles

Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance (i.e. resistance to being pushed, squeezed, stretched or bent). Exercises are isotonic if a body part is moving against the force. Exercises are isometric if a body part is holding still against the force. Resistance exercise is used to develop the strength and size of skeletal muscles. Properly performed, resistance training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being.

The goal of resistance training, according to the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), is to "gradually and progressively overload the musculature system so it gets stronger." Research shows that regular resistance training will strengthen and tone muscles and increase bone mass. Resistance training should not be confused with weightlifting, powerlifting or bodybuilding, which are competitive sports involving different types of strength training with non-elastic forces such as gravity (weight training or cliometrics) rather an immovable resistance (isometrics, usually the body's own muscles or a structural feature such as a door-frame). Full range of motion is important in resistance training because muscle overload occurs only at the specific joint angles where the muscle is worked.

Resistance training can be performed using various types of exercise equipment or:

  • Resistance band
  • Exercise machines
  • Swimming machines

The study “Fat metabolism and acute resistance exercise in trained men” conducted by East Carolina University found that resistance exercise is more beneficial than aerobic exercise for fat loss. The purpose of the study was to see how resistance exercise affected the rate of lipolysis in adipose tissue and how the entire body metabolized the products of lipolysis.

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