Resistance training doesn’t mean resisting to train — yes we know, terrible joke. It actually refers to exercises that cause muscles to contract against external resistance. It differs from strength training in a number of ways that we will cover right below.
Resistance training is using outside resistance to exercise your muscles. This external resistance can be your own body weight, resistance bands, free weights, medicine balls, bottles of water, bricks, particularly plump kittens… okay, maybe not the latter. Basically, any object that causes your muscles to contract. The aim? To increase your strength, power, hypertrophy and endurance.
While resistance training encompasses many forms of exercise, strength is more specific. The ultimate goal is in its name – strength-building. This mainly includes lifting heavy weights for fewer reps, with the ultimate aim to get stronger. Put simply, it’s the kind of training that helps you lift that ridiculously heavy suitcase into the overhead storage of a plane with ease. A helpful skill to have.
Looking at the range of exercises in resistance training, it’s clear that its main difference from strength ones is that getting stronger is not the only goal. It’s one of them – but others can be building endurance or explosive power. Resistance training exercises involve pushing or pulling against the resistance of an object (including your own body), whereas strength training involves a large amount of muscle tissue by continuously increasing the weight you lift (while lowering the number of reps), which leads to bigger body gains in strength.
Practising resistance training before a strength workout is a good idea if you’re fresh to fitness. Since all you need for the first is the weight of your own body, you can perfect your form first before adding heavier loads in strength training. This is crucial to avoid injuries – and something a qualified personal trainer can help you get right from the start.
Bodyweight exercises such as planks, push-ups and squats can also help you build your endurance, helping you work out for longer and putting you in a better position to push harder with weights (if you want to) in the future.
If your ultimate goal is to get stronger, mixing heavy strength workouts with resistance ones can alleviate stress on your body. Alternate strength-focused workouts with general resistance sessions — i.e. lower-intensity exercises such as bodyweight exercises and stretching.
The benefits of this type of workout are plentiful — for your health, fitness, and everyday life. If you want to increase your bone density, strengthen muscles, improve sleep, and feel better mentally (oh hi endorphins), resistance training can help. Official medical guidelines emphasise spending at least two days a week on resistance workouts for optimum health and fitness.
While resistance workouts are feasible using just your body weight, there’s a lot to be said for mixing it up with science-backed equipment. Our clubs are like a playground for exercise enthusiasts (and even the non-enthusiasts).
Take a look at our training zones, where you’ll find innovative resistance machines to strength training equipment such as Olympic barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and more.