What is resistance training?

Resistance training builds muscle and makes the body stronger. When many people hear the term resistance training they think big fancy machines or super heavy weights. This is not always the case. Bodyweight exercises are also a form of resistance training. In my opinion, it is the best form of training. Bodyweight exercises include the infamous squat, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks and the list goes on. Once you have mastered the basic movement of the exercises, you can move on to the varied harder versions of the same exercises.

Resistance Training is a well-designed program based on Strength, Neuromuscular Control, Power, Flexibility, Endurance and Alterations in body composition. It helps the kinetic chain to increase its capability to efficiently recruit muscle fibers and distribute oxygen and blood to the proper area in the body.

Mr. Donovan Green
Athletic Training
Resistance training is exactly what is says. It is any exercise that places full resistance to your bones, and muscles. It is normally demonstrated through weight training or even calisthenics such as pull ups or push-ups. This form of training has been proven to be very effective for burning overall body fat because it places great emphasis on the muscles throughout the body. Muscles weigh more than fat so if you place it under extreme stress it will burn more calories than running on a treadmill or walking. Add resistance training in your workout outs and you will feel and see the difference.
Resistance training (often known as strength training or weight training) is anything that places resistance on the body and requires the body to create an internal tension to counter the force. Notice I did not say lifting weights? Lifting weights is one form of resistance training. Training with bands, medicine balls, and everyday items such as soup cans can be considered resistance training as well.

No matter what you use to resistance train, the principle behind it is simple. Resistance training breaks down muscle. When muscle is broken down, the body works to repair the damage, rebuilding it stronger and larger than it was before. It is actually the recovery after resistance training that creates the change in muscle!

When you are performing resistance-training exercises, be sure to give the muscles you are working at least forty-eight hours to recover before you work them again. This amount of time allows the muscles to be repaired. Without rest, the muscles cannot repair, leading to faulty movements, muscle imbalances and often injury.

Resistance training is muscular contraction training against a force of resistance with the purpose of overloading or stressing the muscular and neuromuscular systems. Resistance training can result in gains of strength, muscle tone, and size, bone mass and density. The training can be isotonic (moving) or isometric (stationary) contractions against a resistance being provided by gravity, elastic, hydraulic, magnetic, or muscular forces.

Resistance training is any exercise that causes your muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increasing muscle mass, strength and/or endurance. The external resistance can be tubing, dumbbells, your own body weight or even household object (cans, water bottles) that causes the muscles to contract. Examples of resistance exercises are body weight squats, dumbbell bicep curls and chest press.

    Resistance training can take many forms. While weight training is what most of us think of (sets, reps), resistance can also come from bands and body weight. Body weight exercises such as planks, pushups, body weight squats, lunges, and triceps dips are among the cream of the crop in resistance training exercises. Other forms of exercise such as yoga and Pilates use body weight manipulation (Sun Salutations in yoga contain loads of push ups!) to tighten and tone the body. Resistance training helps to increase lean muscle mass, which in turn increases metabolism. It also helps to keep the bones and joints strong with weight bearing exercises (think planks). Resistance training is a must add to any healthy regimen.


    Resistance training is working your muscles against a force (weights, gravity, elastic tubing) to make the muscle stronger/bigger.  Your muscles will adapt to the work that you ask them to do.  When the work is harder than what they are used to, they will rebuild to be stronger.
    Resistance exercise targets certain muscle groups and helps to increase endurance and strength. Many women still associate weight training with building bulky muscles, but this is simply not true. Weight training will strengthen and preserve the muscle mass you already have and reduce the aches you feel with chronic pain ailments such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, back and neck pain, and more. Your muscles are made up of bundles of fibers. You cannot increase the number of fibers, but by exercising the muscles, you can strengthen them. Resistance training forces increase in muscle mass by subjecting it to a load it's not used to handling.

    If you want to lose weight during exercise, resistance exercise will speed up the process. Muscle mass is metabolically active tissue (it burns calories), and the more muscle mass your body has, the more calories you burn all day, even while you are watching TV or chatting with friends on the Internet. Fat burns two to three calories per pound while muscle burns fifty calories per pound -- and strength training will help you turn weak muscles into healthy, strong ones. 
    With resistance training, we stimulate our bodies to adapt to the specific demand of moving resistance. Resistance training programs are designed to produce changes that result in both strength and physiological adaptations. These adaptations include improved cardiovascular efficiency, increased bone density, increased lean body mass, decreased body fat, and improved strength, power, and endurance.

    Resistance training is just what the name implies, working your body against resistance. There are so many ways to do this and so many reasons why you should. Your next question should be how, where, when, why and for how long should I engage in resistance training. You may not get a short answer.

    Resistance training, or strength training, is an important component of any exercise program. It improves cardiovascular efficiency; it helps increase bone density, an increase lean muscle mass, decreases body fat, and helps you burn calories more efficiently. Resistance training also increases power and endurance. To achieve these benefits, resistance training challenges your body’s strength or endurance, depending on your goals.

    Resistance training can be as simple as using your own body weight as the resistance, like in push-ups, or using dumbbells or machines. There are several different types of resistance-training systems, which one is best for you depend on your goals and preferences.

    Continue Learning about Resistance Training

    Resistance Is Far From Futile...It's the Best
    Resistance Is Far From Futile...It's the Best
    Jeri Ryan, as the Seven of Nine Borg in Star Trek: Voyager, claimed resistance was futile. Turned out not to be the case. In space, and right here on ...
    Read More
    What are the benefits of training with partial reps?
    Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
    Strength training with partial reps is a great way to boost strength during certain portions of the ...
    More Answers
    What is a Smith squat in weight training?
    Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
    Smith squats target the legs. To do a Smith squat, place the Smith bar on your shoulders and hold on...
    More Answers
    Can older people build muscle with resistance training?
    Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
    Older people can build muscle with resistance training. It is important for older people to remain a...
    More Answers

    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.