When people think of resistance training they often associate it with big weights and large muscles. They feel as though doing weights isn’t for them, they don’t want to get too bulky, put on size etc. What many fail to realise is the profound affect consistent resistance training can have to their health and wellbeing for not only the present, but for their future. In this weeks addition of the WitFit Mulgrave Personal Training blog, we will delve into resistance training. Offering 6 reasons why you should be incorporating it into your workout. Also look out below for a sneak peak video of one of many workouts we offer.
What is resistance training? Mulgrave Personal Training
Before we start talking about benefits, we should outline what it actually is. Resistance training is putting our muscles under an external load (i.e. dumbbell, resistance band, gravity). The external load causes our muscles to contract. By continually doing this via reps & sets; our muscles begin to adapt. They say, “hey I need to be stronger for next time I’m doing that activity”. To get technical, we call this super-compensation, a 3-step process whereby first we put our muscles under an external load or stress during training. This causes fatigue, and we get a drop off in our performance (e.g. strength). Secondly we have a recovery phase to deal with this drop-off, allowing our body to replenish. Lastly instead of recovering to where our strength levels were before, our body super-compensates and our strength goes up higher. We are now stronger than previously before. This super-compensation example is illustrated down below.
Below are 6 benefits of resistance training and why you should be incorporating it in your next training week!
- Increase in muscle mass
This is the most commonly known benefit, that as we train with weights, our muscles grow. They grow in size, also known as hypertrophy, whereby muscle cells get bigger and in turn the muscle becomes larger. Secondly more muscle cells begin to be activated, called muscle fibre recruitment. Both of these are important for progressing our training but also for day to day life. As the stronger our muscles are, the more capable we are of completing everyday tasks efficiently.
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity:
Insulin is the hormone that helps take glucose (sugar) up from the bloodstream. When our bodies become resistant to insulin, and is left untreated; it leads to Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is an ever-growing health epidemic, however resistance training has shown to help combat the disease. As muscles are responsible for 80% of all insulin mediated glucose uptake, the more efficient and sensitive we can make these muscles, the greater the effect insulin can have on glucose control. There is a lot more detail to how resistance training actually helps specifically in this article (https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-017-0173-7)
- Increased Metabolic Rate
For those worried about putting on weight, you have the benefit of an increased metabolic rate to help with burning those calories. When we have larger muscles, they require more energy to use than smaller muscles. This increases our daily energy expenditure (metabolic rate), which in turn can help facilitate further weight loss. Aerobic training is of course our gold standard for weight loss. However incorporating resistance training 1-2 days per week is the perfect mixture for ideal weight loss.
- Improvements in mood
A recent study found that resistance training showed significant antidepressant effects on participants. They found that skill/experience in exercise did not have much of an impact on outcomes either. Showing that anyone of any ability can have positive effects on their mood by lifting weights. Of course exercise should never replace a mental health plan created by a Psychiatrist or Doctor. Yet it is nice knowing there are alternatives out there to help reach the same goal.
- Increase bone density
Resistance training provides a weight-bearing stimulus to our bones, which is important for bone health. As we age we lose more bone than we can replenish, therefore it is important to use exercise as a way to counteract this. Impact exercise (i.e. running, jumping etc.) are important, however resistance training has been shown to be just as important, due to its ability to have a site-specific effect. That being if we do resistance training on for example our hip area. We get improvements in bone health in the hip, rather than a global, total body improvement.
- Helps with both injury rehabilitation & prevention
For anyone with an injury, or for trying to avoid potential injuries, resistance training is the ideal place to start. By completing resistance training we get the increases in muscle strength, lean body mass, bone mass, tensile strength etc. All of these aid in the rehabilitation of injuries and prevention of them. For example with a hamstring injury, we use resistance training to build the strength back up in the injured site to where it was before and then even stronger again. However it doesn’t stop there as we continue to strengthen it in different ways, such as eccentrically (as the muscle is lengthening) as this has shown to decrease rates of re-injuring a strained/torn hamstring. We work both sides of the coin with resistance training, which is great!
These are just 6 of what are countless benefits of resistance training, we hope we at WitFit Mulgrave Personal Training have given you a reason today to try incorporate this form of training in your training cycle. Look below at a sneak-peak video of one of our workouts, we have hundreds more just like this!
Check out our FaceBook page to find out more about the resistance training we can offer you or as always come in and see the team at WitFit Mulgrave Personal Training today to book a free consultation and chat about how we can help you with your training today!
The WitFit Team.
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