Resistance Exercise: Muscle Strength, Muscle Mass, Muscle Definition

Resistance exercise is a well-rounded fitness program that includes strength training to improve joint function, muscle bone density, tendon, and ligament strength.

Resistance Exercise

Physical inactivity is a murderer. Research shows that it is the second leading preventable cause of death in the US.

A long time ago, our ancestors’ muscles are built through the ancestral workout like hunting and other manual chores such as building shelter and farming.

Contrary to the hard labors the old generation has, the modern society’s activities are cut down, plus it is exchanged with labor-saving devices resulting for the modern people’s muscles rarely need to be pushed very hard. Admit it. People lose its strength.

People do not rake leaves anymore. They don’t shovel snow by hand anymore. They do not even wash clothes or dishes manually. They do not climb stairs or walk in airports. Movers are always available to do this thing for them! They don’t even swept or vacuum the floor. Have you ever seen the Roomba do that job?

You better exercise or omitting physical activities will result for your death.

Resistance Exercise

Resistance training is not resistance to exercise. It is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increase in strength, tone, mass, and endurance.

The exercise gained popularity over the last decade or so after researchers discover the many benefits it offers. The American College of Sports Medicine, a governing body of exercise in the United States, even included it in its recommendations for all Americans since 1998 because of its reputation.

Resistance exercise is a well-rounded fitness program that includes strength training to improve joint function, muscle bone density, tendon, and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercise. Meaning to say, it is wrong to refer resistance exercise as strength training because generally, resistance exercise results refer to getting bigger, stronger, more toned, or increase in muscular endurance. Strength training would be accurate to describe as a resistance exercise that builds strength.

Now, if you vary your resistance training program through the number of repetitions and sets performed, exercises undertaken and weights used, you will maintain any strength gains you make.

There are several styles of resistance exercise and many ways to strengthen the muscles whether at home or at the gym.

Some styles include Olympic lifting (lifting weight overhead), powerlifting (performing squat, deadlift, and bench press), and weight lifting (lifting heavy weights, typically fewer than six reps).

Tools for Resistance Exercise

Below are some of the tools that can be used as external resistance for resistance exercise:

  • Free weights: These are classic strengthening tools such as dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells.
  • Medicine balls or sandbags: These are weighted balls or bags.
  • Resistance bands: These are like giant rubber bands which provide resistance when stretched.
  • Suspension Equipment: These are training tools that use gravity as well as the user’s body weight to complete various exercises.
  • Own body weight: Own body weight can be used for squats, push-ups, and chin-ups. Using own body weight is also convenient, especially when traveling or at work.

Other equipment that can use for resistance training are bricks, bottles of water, and any object that causes the muscles to contract.

Resistance exercise works by the relationship of catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism refers to the breaking down of the muscle fiber; while anabolism refers to the repair and re-growth of the muscle tissue. In other words, it works by causing microscopic damage or tears to the muscle cells, which in return are quickly repaired by the body to help the muscles regenerate and grow stronger.

Biological processes of body growth require catabolism prior to regrowth. For instance, bones must be broken down first before calcium and other growth factors repair the bone and make it stronger.

Included in this process is leaving a time to rest between workouts. Why? Recovery is basically anabolism, and it happens during rest. Muscles tend to heal and grow during the time you aren’t working out.

Benefits of resistance exercise

The elderly can enjoy many benefits with resistance training. It can result in more strength, flexibility, and balance which can lead to fewer falls as well as remaining independent as you age. According to a study, elderly (mean age 87) can still lift weight thrice per week for 10 weeks. Their strength can increase to about 113%. They can even walk by 12% faster and climb more stairs (28%). Furthermore, the muscles in their thighs increase by more than 2.5%.

  • It is a fact that human lose 5 pounds of muscles every decade after age 30. Resistance exercise builds muscle strength and tone to protect the joints from injury.
  • Human tends to age fast as muscle fibers decline with age. From ages 30 to 70, people use more than 25 % of the type 2 muscle fibers in the body. Note that type 2 fibers are our strength fibers. The aging process is slowed down or even reverse through resistance training as it builds muscle mass and strength.
  • It improves well-being. One of the expected results from doing resistance exercise is having an improved body image and mood. These results can boost self-confidence and can lead to improvements in well-being.
  • Resistance exercise can also improve posture, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  • It improves mobility and balance as well as a greater stamina–you will not get tired easily.
  • It also raises metabolic rate which is an important factor in maintaining body weight.
  • Resistance training also helps lower moderately high blood pressure. But aside from that, it can prevent or control chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression, and obesity.

If you are a beginner of resistance exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing one set of 8 to 10 exercises for the major muscle groups, 8 to 12 repetitions to fatigue, 2 to 3 days per weeks. For older and frailer people, it is suggested doing 10 to 15 repetitions.

The American College of Sports Medicine also recommends the progressive principle when doing resistance training. It is adapting to the growing burden of a specific training by growing stronger yourself.

Resistance Exercise

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