Resistance training is applied to all forms of exercise whether it be strength training, total body conditioning or pilates.Your body or muscles working against an opposing force is considered resistance training. Below we’ve listed five easy ways to build resistance into your workout.
1. Body weight exercises
Examples: plank, push-up, squats, lunges, sit-ups. This is a great place to start for beginners. In order to learn how to accurately apply weight to your workout you must be strong enough to manage your own body weight in space, otherwise your form will be compromised. A weight-bearing exercise combined with bad form leads to one of two things, injury or muscular imbalances. It’s a good idea to practice basic moves such as squats and planks in front of the mirror so you know how to correct yourself.
Free weights are a great way to advance your body weight exercises. For example, just by taking a pair of 10 pound dumbbells and letting them hang by your side during lunges there is more weight being applied to your leg muscles that are engaged so it becomes more taxing. If you are looking to build muscle strength you will want to use more weight with fewer repetitions and if you are looking to build muscle endurance you will want to focus on doing more repetitions with less weight. This all depends on your fitness goals. If you are a long distance runner or a biker the lighter you are the faster you will be; you want to build strength without gaining mass so muscular endurance is more effective. If you’re looking to build mass you should focus more on muscular strength and if you are trying to just optimize your fitness level it’s a good idea to intertwine both styles of lifting. Form is also very important here. You want to be able to control the weight as you move it through space without jerking your body or compensating somewhere else. People have a tendency to compensate with their shoulders when the weight they are lifting for biceps is too heavy.
3. Resistance bands
These bands are usually color-coded based on the weight.
- Unlike free weights resistance bands provide the same constant resistance throughout the entire range of the exercise.
- This constant engagement requires coordination and balance so you have more muscles working together aside from the one being targeted to maintain proper form.
- The heavier the band the more resistance is being applied.
- You can use resistance bands in almost any exercise because unlike with free weights you have the ability to create resistance across all plains of motion. Because gravity only works in one direction you only have the option of working against this downward pull in using dumbbells.These bands work really well for bicep curls, triceps extensions, rows and shoulder press. If you want to get more creative with it you can also use these bands to do compound movements such as bent over row into a triceps extension or anchor it to a door and do chest press or abdominal twists.
- Unlike other weighted forms of resistance these bands are light weight, portable, easy to store and inexpensive.
4. Kettle bells
Kettle bells can be more beneficial to use than free weights because the weight shifts as you move it, so in order to control the weight you have to use stabilizer muscles such as your core. The one handle grip is effective for swings so that you’re able to fluidly move the weight in space in repetition, which works great for total body conditioning. Because of the design of the grip it’s also easier to do compound moves such as the Turkish Get-up.
- This blue half moon shaped ball is great for practicing agility. Learning to do basic movements such as balancing on one leg can be effectively mastered using the Bosu. It comes with a flat surface and a round soft service presenting a challenge for even the basic squat.
- Because the Bosu comes conveniently with two handles on the flat surface side you can also use it to work your upper body doing moves like front arm raises, chest press or side to side rotations.
Noelle McKenzie, Co-founder of Fitness A Way Of Life, an independent in-home personal training business based out of NYC, is an ACE certified personal training, healthy living blogger and ambassador, and model. As a collegiate record holder in track and field, Noelle understands all that must go into maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your body is a machine and in order for it to function properly all the components of your life must work cohesively together including diet, and physical and emotional well-being. Check out her and Kern’s latest workout videos, healthy living tips and contest give-aways at http://www.fitnessawayoflife.com. You can also visit them on twitter at @LongLiveFit.