1/16/2013

CHOOSING A FITNESS PROGRAMME 2: RESISTANCE TRAINING

Resistance training, also referred to as strength training is simply any fitness activity aimed at strengthening the muscles. It is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance. The external resistance can be equipment, e.g. dumbbells or your body weight. A complete body workout ideally should include some resistance training to improve bone, joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as cardio exercise, to improve your heart and lung fitness. Some examples of resistance exercises include:
  • Using your body weight: push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and squats
  • Free weights: Barbells and dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Weight lifting
  • Zumba
  • Circuit Training
Benefits of Resistance training include:
  • Improved body shape: Sculpted muscles
  • Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Increased muscle strength for more functional reasons i.e. improved posture, carrying and lifting items, e.g. shopping bags.
  • Increased muscle power. Performing exercises with increased energy will improve muscle power. i.e. for throwing a netball or kicking a football or swinging a golf club.
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Helps you maintain flexibility and balance.
  • Reduced signs and symptoms of some chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes and obesity.
Some Points to Note:
  • Before starting a resistance programme, you may want to consult a doctor first, especially if you have any medical history that may be of concern.
  • It is always good to warm-up the body before starting any resistance exercise, ten minutes of stretching and another 10-15 minutes of cardio should be sufficient.
  • Pay attention to safety and good posture to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Repetitions or ‘reps’ – the number of times you repeat each exercise in a set. A strength training should have repetitions.
  • Set: a group of repetitions performed without resting, for example two sets of abdominal crunches with 15 reps would mean you do 15 crunches then rest or stretch the abdominal muscles before doing another 15 crunches.
  • Rest: you need to rest between sets.
  • Allow your body to recover. Muscle needs time to repair and grow after a workout.
Resistance training is a solution for those saggy arms, bulging stomachs and flabby thighs.
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