What Is Resistance Training?

Medically Reviewed by Mahammad Juber, MD on August 08, 2022
4 min read

Building muscular strength and endurance requires training that works your muscle or group of muscles. Resistance training is a great exercise that is commonly done with a band but can also be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells or bodyweight

Resistance training is one of four kinds of exercise. The other three types are endurance, balance, and flexibility. All of these can help improve your overall well-being. Adding a variety of workouts to your weekly routine can help keep your body healthy and your exercises enjoyable. 

Resistance training can easily be done at home, on the go, or wherever you have a little space to move. This exercise only requires body weight but is commonly used with rubber resistance bands. The bands have different resistance that works your muscles the same way free weights or machines do. 

Resistance training has the same benefits as strength training without needing a gym. As long as you have bands that can put tension on your muscles, you can do resistance training.

High repetitions are more beneficial when doing resistance training. The recommended range varies, but three sets of between 12 to 15 repetitions will help you see results. Some resistance training examples are below. 

Bicep curls. Stand on the resistance band and hold both ends in your hands. With your arms extended by your side, start pulling your hand up, keeping your elbow bent at your side. You can do this one arm at a time or both. 

Chest press. Start by wrapping your resistance band behind your back. Hold both ends with your hands and start with your arms at your side. With your elbows bent, you’ll push the band in front of you and hold for a beat before returning to your starting position. 

Standing row. Start by wrapping your resistance band around a sturdy object to keep it in place while you’re standing. Then, with your arms extended, pull your hands to your side, keeping your elbows tight to your body. Slowly return to your starting position and repeat. 

Squats. Start by standing on your resistance band and grabbing both ends with your hands. In a squatting position, you’ll hold the bands but avoid locking your arms. Slowly extend your knees until you’re in a standing position. Lower and repeat. 

Floor bridge. Lying with your back on the ground, bring your feet closer to your body until your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Then, using body weight or a resistance band across your hips, lift your glutes, contracting your core as well. Lower back to the ground and repeat. 

Resistance training is easily done with equipment like bands, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, or whatever heavy item you have at home. When setting goals for your resistance training routine, you should consider what you’re trying to gain. Some resistance training examples of muscular adaptations you can focus on include:

There are many resistance training benefits. Building muscular strength is one of the main benefits of physical activity. Muscular strength is great for bodybuilders, but it’s also essential for daily function. People of all ages can benefit from the strength that comes with resistance training.

Another resistance training benefit is weight loss. By building muscle mass, you raise your daily caloric burn, which means you burn more calories doing regular activities even after your workout. 

The health benefits of resistance training include management and potential prevention of type 2 diabetes. It can do this by: 

  • Decreasing visceral fat
  • Reducing HbA1c
  • Increasing glucose transporter type 4 density
  • Improving insulin sensitivity

Resistance training can also help improve cardiovascular health by lowering your resting blood pressure, decreasing bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing good cholesterol. 

Another benefit that resistance training has for your health is promoting bone development. Studies have shown a 1% to 3% increase in bone mineral density. This helps reduce low back pain and ease arthritis and fibromyalgia pain. 

It can be difficult seeing the difference between resistance training and strength training. There are many similarities. Some of the ways strength training benefits your include: 

  • Managing your weight
  • Improving your quality of life
  • Helping develop strong bones
  • Managing chronic conditions

The benefits are similar because physical activity, in general, is excellent for your overall health. Regardless of what you do, as long as you move, you’ll see benefits. 

Research has suggested that strength training and aerobic exercise can help improve your thinking and learning skills. This may be especially noticeable in older adults. 

Strength training is different from resistance training because of the method of activity. You’ll likely start lifting heavier weights as your muscle mass increases. Strength training focuses on strength building, helping your body get in shape.

Strength training can be done at home or in a gym, but it’s commonly done with free weights or body weight if you’re just beginning. Weight machines and cable machines are also commonly used. Using these machines and weights allows you to lift heavier amounts as you build up your strength. 

Resistance training is a great way to get movement into your daily routine even when you don't have access to a gym, weights, or machines.  

If you’ve recently had a stroke or heart attack, you should talk to your doctor before starting a resistance training routine. While regular physical activity can help reduce the likelihood of having another heart attack, you should get cleared first. 

Before getting back into resistance training, you should take a slow and safe approach to your routine. 

Resistance training is a great way to develop and maintain endurance, muscular strength, and muscle mass. Resistance training has a positive impact on chronic disease and other health factors. It’s a recommended fitness program fit for healthy adults of all ages.