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What is Resistance Training?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated Feb 27, 2024
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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.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By GreenWeaver — On Mar 06, 2011

Sunshine31 - I want to say that I have used resistance training equipment and I have noticed a difference from using them in just a few weeks.

The resistance training bandsare designed with varying degrees of thickness as well as colors. They thicker the band is the more difficult the exercises will be.

They will also be colored coded which will tell you the level of resistance in each band. I think that it is a good idea to buy a variety of resistance bands that range from light to heavy resistance so that you can vary the intensity of your workout.

Buying resistance bands that have long tubes with padded handles are actually the most comfortable to use. You really don’t need a personal trainer because many of these resistance band kits come with instructional DVD’s.

By sunshine31 — On Mar 04, 2011

Flowerchild - Good for you. I really want to try resistance band training because whenever I do my weight training routine I always seem to get hurt.

Sometimes it is just a little sprain and sometimes I have to apply muscle rub because I pulled a muscle.

I have heard that the results are great when you work with resistance training bands. It seems like a more natural type of exercise then weight lifting which is probably why you don’t get hurt.

By flowerchild — On Mar 03, 2011

I love my resistance training program! At first I didn't really understand it. My husband, bless his heart, explained it to me. I can actually use my body weight as the resistance and there is less chance of me hurting myself!

For someone like me, who is not an exercise buff, I took my time looking for the perfect equipment.

Once I added the resistance training workout consistently, for twenty to thirty minutes a day, five days a week, with a healthier diet, I started to notice a big difference!

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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