An Introduction to Resistance Training to Improve Your Strength


Resistance training is an activity that has become more and more popular with many individuals of all ages and for many different purposes. Simply defined, resistance training is any activity that requires muscular actions of the body to overcome an opposing force.

This opposing force can come from using barbells, dumbbells, resistance machines, medicine balls or your own body weight. Even though this type of exercise can have a cross over effect on the cardiovascular and endocrine system, the major goal of resistance training is to develop the neuromuscular (muscular and nervous) system.

An increase in strength is often experienced as this type of exercise challenges the muscle to respond to the increase in strength. As a muscle increases in strength the muscle fibres increase in size, this is called hypertrophy. If a person increases their muscle mass, this in turn leads to an increase in the person’s base metabolic rate.

The effects of this mean we become more efficient at burning calories around clock. Muscles are not the only component to become stronger as a result of resistance training, so do tendons and ligaments around the associated joints, increasing stability and reducing the load on that joint.

You may have heard the terms, free weights or machine weights and wondered what they mean. Free weight exercises are those that involve some type of external resistance such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells or even bodyweight exercises that do not require some type of support mechanism. This type of training has many advantages as it forces the body to work as it does in real life.

It can improve all components of our fitness and is accessible to almost everyone.

Resistance training machines can vary in design and complexity. The weight being lifted is connected to a machine that allows some form of guidance to the weight as it moves. Common examples of these machines include, Lat Pulldown, Leg Press, Chest Press and Shoulder Press

Usually a resistance training program will be written in the form of sets and reps. A rep (repetition) is one complete execution of an exercise through its full range of movement, where as a set is a pre-determined number of reps performed consecutively.

For example, if you were to perform 3 x 12 Push Ups, you would be required to do three lots of twelve push ups with a break in between.

As I said at the start, I’m keeping things simply, so I will leave it at that. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.