Benefits of resistance training

The second feature in our training methods blog series, following Give HIIT a try,  is all about resistance training and its place within an individual’s training programme and achieving improvements in several components of fitness.  Both strength training and body weight training feature within the ACSM’s top 10 fitness trends for 2017 highlighting how essential this element of training is as part of a comprehensive exercise programme, no matter what level of physical activity experience an individual has.

Many members and clients will highlight changing their physique as a common goal, be it having a desire to be more ‘toned’ or ‘sculpted’, get in shape or improve their definition. Additionally, they may highlight an aspiration to feel stronger in order to be able to do more as a part of everyday life or to improve their conditioning for a sport or event. All of these goals link to utilising some form of resistance training as a part of their programming. So, what are the benefits of resistance training and how can they be incorporated into a training plan?

Benefits of resistance training

Resistance training achieves so much more than the goals outlined above. By including resistance training in your member’s programmes regularly you can also have a significant impact on their health. Regular training can result in significant decreases in body fat percentage, blood pressure as well as improving blood lipid and cholesterol profiles. You can also improve a person’s balance, agility, bone density and combat muscle loss.

Types of resistance training

A variety of resistance training options
A variety of resistance training options

It’s vital to ensure the resistance training methods adopted are specific to an individual’s goal whether this is based on an aesthetic goal or specific characteristic of muscular fitness e.g. strength, power, hypertrophy or endurance. Varying the load, volume of training and rest periods is crucial to ensuring the correct specificity is in place to support a member in reaching their desired outcome. Periodisation and specificity are crucial elements of a strength training programme and should be considered when developing an individual’s programme.

Whatever the aim of an individual’s programme, it’s important to measure the progress they are making to demonstrate goal attainment. FitQuest can provide these results using quick, simple tasks that can provide feedback on muscle strength and endurance for upper and lower body, explosive power and motor sensory control, enabling you to prove how effective your programmes are to your members and clients.

There are a number of ways to perform resistance training including machine based, free weight, body weight and other equipment based training. Functional training is a terminology that is currently used in the health and fitness arena as a kind of resistance training that can be used in training programmes. Functional training or neuromotor exercise refers to the type of strength that supports activities of daily living and involves proprioceptive exercise, motor skills and a range of activities that use integrated rather than isolated movements. This type of training can help improve joint control encouraging the use of stabilising muscles helping to reduce the risk of injury during training and competition (Les Mills, 2014). This can include a range of different types of training equipment including free weight and body weight only training such as squats and lunges, or other equipment based training utilising equipment such as kettlebells, suspension trainers, medicine balls, plyometric boxes, ViPRs and many others.

Whatever form of resistance training including in a training programme, the most important thing is to make sure it’s included as a regular part of a person’s workout regimen to ensure they can achieve their goals and the added health benefits. It must be specific to their goals and abilities and their progress towards their goals should be monitored with regular feedback throughout. Strength training of all forms is hard to resist!

Click here to find out more about what FitQuest can measure to evidence the effectiveness of training programmes recommended to your members.