Also known as resistance exercise training, resistance training is the collective term for various types of strength-building exercises that rely on the use of resistance to promote muscle growth. As one of the more common forms of strength training, this approach makes use of some type of hydraulic or elastic action that involves resistance to being stretched, pulled, squeezed, or bent.
Resistance training may be isotonic in design. This means that some part of the body is moving against some type of force, such as when attempting to stretch an exercise band. Training of this type may also involve exercises that are considered isometric, meaning that the body part is being subjected to a force while remaining still. Both forms can be used to tone groups of muscles in the legs, arms, chest shoulders, and back. Just about any group of skeletal muscles will benefit directly or indirectly from exercises based on resistance.
It is important to note that resistance training is very different from bodybuilding. Bodybuilding focuses on the use of strategies that do not rely on the use of elastic or hydraulic forces. Instead, the process of bodybuilding relies more on manipulating gravity, as in lifting heavy weights. Many also consider bodybuilding to be a sport, while resistance training is usually thought of as being a toning and exercise strategy that benefits people who are not interested in building huge muscles, but want to develop a toned and fit appearance.
The process of resistance training helps to tone and strengthen muscle groups because the exercises challenge the current level of performance of the skeletal muscles. By placing measured resistance on those muscles, it is possible to carefully limit the stress to as much as the muscles can currently bear without injury. Over time, constant exposure to the same level of stress results in the strengthening and toning of the muscles, effectively allowing them to tolerate the additional stress without sustaining any type of damage. As the muscles strengthen, the level of resistance is increased, encouraging the muscles to become even stronger.
There are a number of different approaches to resistance training. Much of the equipment found in fitness centers is designed to provide elastic resistance as well as hydraulic resistance, with some machines configured to challenge specific groups of skeletal muscles. There are also exercise machines that are ideal for use in the home, as well as resistance bands that are easy to transport and can be used for a quick workout at home, the office, or in a hotel room.
When selecting equipment for resistance training, it is a good idea to make sure the machines or exercise tools are certified by a reliable organization and have an established reputation for consistent quality. Avoid any training machinery that promises unrealistic results in a short period of time. Equipment of this type is usually expensive, and is highly unlikely to produce the desired results. While resistance training is effective, it normally requires effort and does take some time to produce noticeable results.