Learn why resistance exercises are one of the best ways to get fit and get results, fast!
I’m going to share why resistance workouts have always been my favourite ‘go-to’ exercises when I wanted to create quick results for my personal training clients. The good news is that these kinds of exercises aren’t complicated, which makes it perfect for beginners to get started quickly. And, if you don’t have any equipment at home, there are lots of resistance-workouts you can do at home, using nothing but your own bodyweight!
What is resistance training?
Resistance training is any exercise where your muscles ‘resist’ against some kind of weight or force, so your muscles contract and work harder. It’s designed to increase muscle strength and endurance.
I’d like to start by addressing the most common (and incorrect) concern around resistance training. After training thousands of people over the last 20 years I can tell you that I always encountered a lot of resistance from my female clients who had previously been told by ‘an expert’ that resistance training will make them bulky. Unfortunately are a lot of fitness myths out there, and this is one of the big ones. Resistance training does NOT make you bulk up. Eventually, I’d convince my clients to give resistance workouts a try and almost everyone saw really fast results, with none of the bulking that they had originally feared.
Resistance training doesn’t make you ‘bulky’. It promotes lean muscle which helps you look lean and toned.
Why should I do it?
We all need some good, regular cardio as it works our heart and lungs but, for all-round fitness, we also need to build lean and strong muscle groups, joints and bones. That’s where resistance training comes in!
If you are really looking to shape and strengthen your body and have well-rounded fitness you should be including some sort of resistance work. There are so many benefits of resistance training and, once you give it a go yourself, I guarantee you’ll kick yourself that you didn’t start sooner!
The point of resistance training is to really strengthen and shape your whole body… without the bulk.
The biggest benefits of resistance training
1. You’ll lose more body fat and burn more calories
One of the many benefits of resistance training is that it tones and shapes lean muscle. When we have lean, toned muscle we increase our metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories all day long – long after you have finished your workout – even while you’re sleeping!
2. You’ll gain strength without bulking
One of the most common reasons women avoid resistance training is because they are afraid of “bulking.” This is a misconception, it physiologically cannot happen.
Don’t confuse an increase in muscle strength with an increase in muscle size.
3. You’ll decrease your risk of osteoporosis
Resistance training not only strengthens your muscles; it strengthens your bones. Resistance training increases bone density (which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones) to create a strong and healthy spine and is critical to combat natural bone attrition as we age.
4. You’ll reduce your risk of injury
Resistance training increases the strength of your connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons can help you prevent injury. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will reduce your chance of injury from daily tasks and routine exercise, and it can even improve your sports performance.
5. You’ll improve your posture which should reduce any back pain
Resistance-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, which can help correct poor posture so you can stand taller, with your shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core also helps prevent lower back pain.
Having strong joints, ligaments, tendons can also relieve pain from osteoarthritis, as you’ll find your improved strength reduces the amount of strain/stress on your joints. (Reference: https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/managing-arthritis/living-with-arthritis/physical-activity-and-exercise/strength-training/ )
6. You’ll boost your mood & naturally reduce your stress signals
Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you overcome a bad one by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that can prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increase in endorphins also naturally reduces stress and anxiety, and stimulate your mind to improve alertness and boost your overall energy.
Exercise and strength training release endorphins, which provide a natural, ‘happy high’.
7. You’ll see the best results… fast.
To continually change our body, we must continually challenge our body – and this means changing up the intensity and type of exercises we do. This is exactly what resistance training can provide as there are countless exercises and routines available. Plus, as an added bonus, ‘changing it up’ helps us stay motivated to exercise as our mind stays stimulated!
How to get started with resistance training
With all the health and fitness benefits gained from resistance training, I hope you’ll be motivated to try it yourself. It’s now just a question whether you want to workout at home or if you prefer going to the gym.
At the gym: An experienced fitness trainer will be able to create a resistance program for you to ensure you get the best results.
At home: If you’d prefer to get the same health and fitness benefits from the comfort of your own home (but you still want the benefit of a personal trainer guiding your daily workouts and keeping your accountable) then why not join my online workout program? You’ll gain access to hundreds of fully customisable workouts, a tasty weekly nutrition plan, plus you’ll also get daily motivation from me in real-time!
Try a home resistance workout with Sam
What kind of equipment do you need for resistance training?
You don’t need a lot of exercise gear, in fact, many resistance workouts don’t require any equipment at all! However, if you want to feel the burn a little more, then resistance training can include exercises that use equipment such as:
- elastic resistance bands
- suspension straps
- medicine balls
- any kind of free-form weight (like dumbbells)
How to tone your arms quickly and easily
Try this upper-body resistance workout video and I’ll show you how to tone your arms and upper body with 7 simple resistance-based exercises.
Can you do resistance training without equipment?
Yes, you betcha! Resistance training doesn’t require equipment to be effective. Instead, you can simply use your own body weight as the force your muscles resist against.
Is resistance training just as effective without equipment?
Resistance training can be very effective simply using your body weight. From squats, pull-ups and push-ups right through to Pilates and Yoga movements, they’re all brilliant forms of resistance exercises that deliver real results no matter whether you do them at home or at a gym class.
When should I add weights and equipment to my resistance training workout?
Any time you feel like increasing the intensity! Once you’ve achieved a certain level of fitness and strength, you might need to add weights to your resistance exercises if you want to push yourself past your comfort zone; however, until then, resistance equipment is completely optional!
Is ‘weight training’ the same as resistance training?
No. Weight training and resistance training are often confused. Weight training is simply one type of resistance training. Resistance training can also be exercises that include kettlebells, bodyweight, suspension straps, bands, medicine balls; and it can also involve exercises that use no equipment at all.
What are the best workouts with resistance-based exercises?
When it comes to resistance training the options and types of exercises are endless. I’m a fan of Pilates and yoga. They’re both forms of resistance training with a specific focus.
Looking for a full-body resistance workout?
You might try high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, TRX, stability work, functional group sessions – or – you can join my 28 online program and get results from the comfort of your own home.
Try this quick upper body HIIT workout at home
Workout time needed: 28 minutes.
How to do an upper-body resistance HIIT workout at home (with a resistance band)
- Band Push-Ups (do the max you can)
Loop the resistance band around your hands and behind your back. Get yourself into a plank position with your hands on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders. Perform a push-up movement, lowering your chest to the floor and pushing back up. You can also perform this exercise on your knees if you find push-ups challenging.
- Band Overhead Tricep Extension (20 reps)
Loop your resistance band under the couch or under a table. Hold the band with both hands behind your head. Push the band overhead while keeping a slight bend at the elbows. Brace your abs, make sure you don’t arch your back. Slowly lower your hands back behind your head, using your forearms. The upper arms should stay in the same place, with elbow pointed throughout the whole movement, engaging the triceps.
- Half Kneel Row – Right Side (15 reps)
Loop your resistance band under the leg of a couch or table. Hold the band with your right hand and get yourself into a half-kneeling position with your left leg bent. Now pull the band back, bending your elbow until your right hand is close to the right side of your ribcage. Note: Make sure you maintain great posture and don’t shrug as you execute the movement.
- Half Kneel Row – Left Side (15 reps)
Swap hands, taking the resistance band in your left hand, change your legs so your right leg is bent. Now repeat the half-row movement, this time your left hand is pulling the band back towards the left side of your ribcage.
- Band Shoulder Press (15 reps)
Using a smaller resistance band loop pull the band to create tension. Maintain the tension as you press it above your head. Return the band to just in front of chest and repeat.
- Band Curl (20 reps)
Stand inside the band with both feet Hold the band at hip height and focus on your biceps, while you curl the band up with your thumbs facing the sky. Curl up until your fists finish near your face.
- Band Upright Row (15 reps)
Loop your resistance band under the couch or under a table. Hold the band with palms facing inwards in front of your thighs. Keeping your back straight, pull the band up towards your chin. Make sure to keep your elbows higher than your forearms as you pull upwards. Lower the band back to starting position.
Repeat the entire workout sequence for another 3 rounds to get a great upper body resistance workout.
My final piece of advice…
Don’t resist the resistance and you’ll burn more calories for longer.
If you want to burn fat quickly, resistance training not only helps you burn more calories in your workout, but your body will build more lean muscle which means you’ll naturally burn more fat every day… even when you’re asleep!
P.S. If you’d like my help, join my online program, and I’ll become the personal trainer in your pocket. I’ve helped over 300,000 people get fit and live healthier lives, and I’d love to help you too!
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