Weight training, resistance training or strength training is not just about body builders lifting big weights. It combines repetitive exercises and resistance such as free weights, weight machines and resistance bands to improve muscular strength and endurance. By exercising regularly and following a combined programme that includes both resistance and cardio training you can enjoy long term health benefits.
Starting something new can be daunting at first; here are some tips to help boost your motivation levels and help get you started...
Using free weights means you can train in a natural and versatile way, although they can be a little harder to get used to than resistance machines. Research suggests that free weights provide some quicker strength benefits as more balance and co-ordination is needed. Your exercise programme can adopt a more functional approach due to the versatility of exercises you can perform. Free weights tend to work larger muscle groups than fixed path machines that tend to isolate smaller muscle groups, and they also have a greater affect on our joint stabilising muscles.
Resistance machines can be a little easier to use as they follow a fixed path limiting the room for error that can lead to injury. However resistance machines work each side of our body equally making it harder to work on any muscle imbalances. The fixed path also limits any exercise variations. Resistance machines are supportive making them a great addition to some rehab programmes as they allow more control and focus on muscle isolation.
Yes, resistance training combined with a cardio programme and a well balanced nutritional plan is certainly the most effective way to aid weight loss, remember we must obtain the correct balance from our intake of calories with those that we burn to achieve this.
Resistance training will certainly develop muscular strength and definition but visually, you will see minimal results if your muscles are surrounded by body fat. A cardio programme will help to reduce body fat and provide a solid base to starting a resistance training programme. Although we can choose which muscle groups we work, genetics doesn’t allow us to choose which area of the body to lose fat from first. So your best plan of action to tackle weight loss is to combine regular full body cardio workouts, with a calorie reduced diet together with resistance training to tone the muscles.