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Resistance Training Explained

written by: Caramel • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 11/4/2010

This article explains the definition of resistance training, some equipment utilized within these exercises and goals of resistance training.

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    Resistance Training Overview

    The term resistance training encompasses two broad meanings and refers to all training that uses a resistance to force the muscles to contract and elastic (also known as hydraulic resistance) which uses hydraulic tension or elastic as a form of resistance and is referred to as a specific type of strength training.

    Principles behind resistance training:

    Resistance training is also characterized as a form of strength training in which effort is made against an opposing force that is caused by some kind of resistance. This resistance can be bent, stretched, squeezed, or pushed. There are two forms of exercises that strength training falls into: isotonic and isometric.

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    Isotonic Exercises

    Takes place when the body moves against the force. Isotonic exercises can be executed by:

    • Dumbbells-free weights
    • Elastic resistance bands
    • Fixed equipment/barbells (the Nautilus)

    As the muscle moves through a complete range of motion during an isotonic exercise, the isotonic contraction produces tension with the highest effort at the start and the end of each exercise while improving joint mobility. This exercise employs concentric and eccentric movements. When a weight is lifted, it is concentric and when a weight is returned back to its beginning position it is eccentric. Some advantages and disadvantages of isotonic exercises include:

    Advantages

    • You can incorporate a wide range of exercises
    • The cost is moderate
    • You have a large range of major muscle groups to work

    Disadvantages

    • You get an uneven force that is present throughout each exercise
    • Each muscle group may not become fully strengthened
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    Isometric Exercises

    During an isometric exercise, the intensity can be changed precisely and quickly which is why it is deemed a relatively safe exercise. The exercises are easy to perform, quick, and do not cause discomfort. Those who have a history of heart problems should consult with their health care practitioner before performing isometric exercises because they cause a significant reduction in the flow of blood to the muscle. As a result of this, the blood pressure rises and this reduces the amount of blood that can flow back to the heart. The resistance in isometric exercises usually involves the muscle contracting by use of :

    • The ground or one’s own body structure
    • Some type of structural item such as a fence
    • Elastic equipment, weights machines or free weights
    • Some type of pressure plate equipment which has a digital display
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    Goals of Strength Training

    Resistance training is practiced in order to develop skeletal muscles, size, and strength. When these exercises are correctly performed overall health can be achieved as well as a sense of well-being. According to research, regular resistance training may result in an increase in bone mass, and the muscles being toned and strengthened. Resistance training is neither bodybuilding, power lifting, nor weightlifting, which are all competitive sports that encompass various types of strength training. They utilize non-elastic forces such as with gravity as opposed to resistance that is immovable. For examples of basic resistance training exercises visit Beginner Resistance Training: Full Body Workouts.

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    How to Lift for Strength

    When you lift something heavy, you gain muscular strength. For strength development, you must keep the resistance heavy enough where you are unable to lift more than eight reps, then you must follow the progressive overload principle which means you have to increase the weight when you are unable to lift more than eight. You will notice that your reps will probably drop once you increase your weight. If you have a desire for increased strength, you may benefit from what is called heavy days. With heavy days, you lift as much weight as you can at one time. This is known as a one-repetition maximum. There are challenges to heavy days, which is why doctors at MedicineNet.com do not recommend doing this more than once a week.

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    Conclusion

    Resistance training is a great way to get stronger toned muscles and improve your overall health, remember this is not weight lifting or bodybuilding. Consult with your health care practitioner before beginning these exercises if you have pre-existing ailments.

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    Resources

    http://www.medicinenet.com/weight_lifting/article.htm

    http://www.bing.com/health/article/naturalstandard-125715/Isotonic-muscle-training?q=isotonic+exercise&FO