“The path of least resistance is the path of the loser”, HG Wells.
By definition, resistance is the ability to not accept or comply with something. Think of it as a form of exercise that improves your muscular strength and endurance. Because that’s exactly what it is.
This article answers all the questions you have about resistance training. In the first part of this series we ask the question, what is resistance training and what are its benefits?
What is Resistance Training and How Does Intensity Contribute to Progress?
how do I start?
Also known as strength training or weight training, resistance training refers to any form of exercise that requires you to move your limbs against resistance provided by weights, your body, or gravity.
There are lots of ways to strengthen your muscles be it at home or at the gym. From experience, I can tell you that the easiest ways to do it are:
Use Your Own Body Weight
If you have no equipment, you can do push-ups, squats, chin-ups and any other workout that requires you to use your own body.
For $12 or less, you can purchase giant rubber bands on amazon. When stretched, these bands provide resistance and the best part is you can take one with you anywhere you go.
Dumbbells, barbells, a keg or any other type of weight will get the job done.
Now that you have an idea of what you are supposed to do, we ask the question:
What are the benefits of resistance training?
Here are the major benefits of resistance training:
- Boosts metabolic rate
- Improves focus and cognitive function
- Reduces chronic lower pain and arthritic pain
- Improves movement control
- Increases muscle mass
Resistance Training, High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes
Is resistance training good or bad for your blood pressure?
Is weight training good for diabetes?
If you are diabetic, The American Diabetes Association recommends that you start resistance training today, why?
Strength training does not require you to go to the gym, that means that you can build strength anywhere and the benefits such as weight loss, reduced risk of heart disease, improves the way your body uses blood sugar, and it improves the way your body responds to insulin, will go a long way in improving your health.
How High is Your Blood Pressure?
If you don’t know, it’s best to get tested, why?
Bodybuilding is known to cause temporary increase in blood pressure, however, the benefits far outweigh the cons. If you know that you have high blood pressure, Sheldon G Sheps recommends:
- Perform more reps and sets using lower resistance.
- Use proper form 100% of the time.
- Alternate between lower body exercises and upper.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Breathe while lifting, holding your breath can cause a spike in blood pressure.
Using Lower Resistance Vs Using Higher Resistance
The important thing to remember is increasing your reps and sets boosts calorie burning. But you can’t lift very heavy weights for long, what do you do?
Use lighter weights. I know it sounds counterintuitive but hear me out.
Lighter weights mean you can lift longer, on the other hand, using heavy weights creates micro damage in target muscles. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, see the thing is micro damage is necessary to improve muscle size and strength.
What’s the point?
You must find balance. The easiest way to build strength is to know when to use lower resistance and when to use higher. Create a schedule that includes both options.
Expert Resistance Training Tips
Tip 1: Learn from Your Mistakes and Don’t Force it
When you see someone easily lift 200+ lbs. you might be tempted to try that too. if you are a beginner or inexperienced, you risk injury, very sore muscles and loss of motivation.
Resistance training is not about impressing the people around you with how much you can lift. Instead, it’s about starting from the bottom and working your way up. There is a way to test your limit, we call it 1RM. Click here to find out more.
Tip 2: The Variable Weight Principle
How much resistance can you handle? Hard to predict, right? that’s why experts recommend that you use the higher limit, what do I mean?
Let’s say you want to perform 8 reps, what you have to do is load your bar or lift something that you can only lift 8 times max. If you find it easy to lift 10 or more using the same weight, it means that you must add more weight.
Think reps, sets and intensity.
See the thing is our bodies get used to stimuli, because of that, doing the same thing over and over slows down progress. So as stated above, mix sets, reps, and intensity. Sometimes lift heavy and sometimes lift light.
Tip: lift moderate-heavy weight or weights that are heavy enough to stimulate muscle growth.
Important: Overload your Muscles
To build muscle, the resistance has to be above what you are accustomed to. This is a measure to prevent plateauing.
The idea is to make your muscles work harder by increasing resistance.
How to do it?
- Increase resistance, reps, and volume.
- Increase training frequency.
- Decrease rest time between sets.
Your Goals and The Importance of Using Proper Form
I could write a whole article about the importance of setting goals, but it all boils down to this. Having a Goal keep you focused, it helps you overcome procrastination, and it motivates you.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”. Muhammad Ali
As a bodybuilder, you need goals. Your goals can be something as simple as improving your health or winning a competition. Whatever it is, have one.
You have a goal; how do you reach it?
Simple, use proper form 100% of the time.
Swinging, jerking and bouncing weights are all rookie mistakes that can result in serious injury. These mistakes can also slow down progress. Yes, people do it, but you have to be different. My advice. Don’t sacrifice your technique and form.
Strength Training Proper Form Tips
- Work multiple muscle groups: work on several muscles at once (compound exercise). Focus on workouts that work your entire musculoskeletal system.
- Use the correct setup for push-ups, squats and lunges.
- Breathe, don’t hold your breath
- Practice good posture
- Avoid swinging or bouncing weights
- Focus on what you are doing
Another very important thing is to warm up and cool down after lifting. You should also take breaks.
The Importance of Being Patient
“The application of consistent, logical effort, over a prolonged period is the key to reaching your physical muscular potential”. Craig Cecil
Are you willing to wait and work quietly to accomplish your bodybuilding goals? If you are not, you, in my opinion, are not cut out to be a bodybuilder. See the thing is everything about bodybuilding requires patience.
- If you have no equipment, you can use your own body weight to strength train at home.
- Strength training is good for people with diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Practice proper form 100% of the time.
- Be patient, progress takes time.