What is resistance training? The phrase 'resistance strength training', or more commonly 'resistance training' is used for 2 different things:
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(1) A form of strength training where force is exerted against elastic resistance (something stretched or bent, like big elastic exercise bands)
I’ll go over each use of the term briefly, then how to get stronger using elastic bands for resistance training!
(2) As a general term that is used instead of ‘strength training’ or 'weight training'.
Resistance training is correctly used for strengthening exercises that involve pushing, squeezing, elastic and/or hydraulics. Like the large elastic bands and specialized machines you’ll find in most gyms.
Also, its stated goal is to, “gradually and progressively overload the musculoskeletal system so it gets stronger.” This is how the ASMI (American Sports Medicine Institute) defines resistance training.
Their idea is that your body should have the same amount of work to do at every point in an exercise movement. This is why an elastic band giving you the same resistance during your movement is a good example.
This is different than normal weight training, were the dumbbell feels heaviest and you are sweating and exerting yourself more and less through-out the movement. In a bicep curl, when your arm is at a right angle it’s hardest, and it’s easier at the top and bottom.
The other common use of the term ‘resistance training’ is as a catchall phrase for any kind of strengthening exercises. People who don’t know a whole lot about strength training mostly use this phrase, but you’ll hear it a lot.
My preference when building strength is, frankly, for large traditional weight training movements like the squat, the bench-press, and the standing press. Try to do these kind of big movements in your workout.
Resistance training is also great form of supplementary training or for working the muscles along the entire movement. Traditional weight training and resistance bands are a great combination!
If you have a weak point in a lift you are working on you can use resistance training to work through that weak point. Also, if you are recovering from an injury, it's a great way to work back to your pre-injury level of strength with very controlled movement.
Resistance bands are awesome is you are traveling all the time, since they fold up and fit really well into luggage and backpacks. Seriously, if you are always on the go these puppies are convenient and practical.
Try several different movements when you are doing the resistance band exercises, such as 5-7 exercises in your routine. You will need several different bands since some of your lifts take more strength than others.
1. Squat (9 reps for 3 sets)
Standing on the middle of the band and holding the ends hooked over your shoulders, squat down and stand up.
2. Press (10 x 3)
Standing on the middle of the band and holding the ends in your hands at shoulder altitude, press the ends above your head.
3. Bicep Curls (12 x 4)
Standing on the middle of the band and holding the ends, perform the curls on the ends of the resistance band.
4. Tricep Extensions (10 X 3)
Holding one end of the band with your arm hanging to your side, stand on the middle of the band and grab the other end of the band with your other arm at about shoulder height with the elbow pointed at the ceiling. Then, extend your hand at shoulder level towards the ceiling
5. Bent Over Rows (8 x 3)
Standing on the middle of the band and holding the ends in your hands with your arms extended toward the floor, bend at the waist and then row, pulling back with your hands and upper back.
6. Lunges (10 x 3)
Assume a lunge position, standing on the middle of the band with your forward foot. Holding the ends of the band in your hands and perform the lunge in place.
This is just a beginner’s routine to get you in the groove of using the bands for resistance strength training.
So, go to your local gym and resistance training out or buy some resistance bands at your local sporting goods store. You've answered what is resistance training, and know can get started in the right direction.
The bands are convenient and you can do tons of exercises with them. Seriously, try out resistance training.
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
What Is Resistance Training?
Brown, Lee E. 2007. Strength Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Pp. 129.
Contributors. "Interval Training". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interval_training (Accessed February 22, 2010)
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