Learn all about the benefits of resistance training, then try my upper-body resistance workout you can do at home. All you’ll need is a single resistance band!
Working with and training thousands of people over the last 18 years I regularly encounter resistance from women about including resistance training as part of their workout regime. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fitness myths out there, and one of those myths is that resistance training makes women bulky. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t. Even better, once you see and feel the amazing benefits of resistance training, I guarantee you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!
What is resistance training and why should I do it?
Resistance training is exercising against some kind of resistance or force, that makes your muscles contract and work harder. It’s designed to increase muscle strength and endurance.
Cardio works your heart, which is important, but we should not neglect all our muscle groups, joints and bones which are just as critical for us to achieve all-round fitness. That’s where resistance training comes in.
The point of resistance training is to really strengthen and shape your body.
Is weight training the same thing as resistance training?
Weight training and resistance training are often confused. Weight training is simply one of many options when it comes to resistance training. Resistance training could be kettlebells, bodyweight, suspension straps, bands, medicine balls and so on.
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.
What kinds of equipment are used when undertaking resistance training?
Resistance training might include exercises that use equipment such as:
- resistance bands,
- suspension straps,
- medicine balls,
- some gym equipment, and
- any kind of free-form weight like dumbbells
Can you do resistance training without equipment?
You betcha! Resistance training can include a range of exercises that don’t require equipment where you can use your own body weight as the force your muscles can resist against.
Resistance training can be very effective simply using your body weight. From squats, pull ups, push ups through to Pilates and Yoga movements, these are all brilliant forms of resistance training.
Here is a resistance-based workout you can do at home
Workout time needed: 28 minutes.
How to do an upper-body resistance workout at home (with a single 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.
What kinds of workouts focus on resistance training?
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. However, if you’re looking for a whole-body type of resistance workout (and you should), then you might try high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, TRX, stability work, functional group sessions – or you can join my 28 exercise program to workout with me in the comfort of your own home.
Still not convinced? Read below!
7 reasons NOT to resist the resistance
1. Lose 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 the speed of our metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories all day long. We often think about the calories we burn while we are working out, however the more lean muscle we have, the more calories we burn just as we are getting around day to day… even when we are sleeping!
2. 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. Decrease 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 the natural attrition in this as we age.
4. Reduce Risk of Injury
Resistance training increases the strength of your connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons can help prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will reduce your chance of injury from daily tasks and routine exercise, and can even improve your sports performance.
5. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain
Resistance-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, which can help correct bad posture so that you can stand taller, with shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core will also help prevent lower back pain.
6. Enhance Mood & Reduce Stress
Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one. Exercise and strength training release endorphins, which can provide a natural, happy high. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increase in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy.
7. Change It Up
To continually change our body, we must continually challenge our body. Plus, to stay motivated we need to keep our mind challenged and stimulated too! All of these things can be found with resistance training, and an experienced fitness trainer will ensure you never get bored.
So, my final note…
Don’t resist the resistance. If you’re looking to tone up and burn fat, remember resistance training will help you burn calories even after you’ve finished training. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day.