4 Reasons to Include Resistance Training in your Routine
Resistance training is any exercise or movement that utilises your muscles against a resistance or load. The load could be from an external weight such as a barbell, dumbbell or resistance machine, or just your own body weight. Resistance exercise is very popular amongst a lot of gym goers, however many people still shy away from it believing it’s not the right type of training for them. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to reap the benefits to resistance training; here are 4 ways in which resistance training could benefit you.
Increased Muscle Mass
Muscles are made up out of millions of very long cells know as muscle fibres. When muscles are pushed to their limits some of these muscle fibres break down. This break down of muscle tissue releases chemicals which stimulate the repair and growth of the muscles fibres, this means they grow back bigger and stronger than before. It’s important to leave at least a days rest in between working the same muscles to allow this rebuilding process to occur. It’s also important to note that small to moderate amounts of muscle increase won’t result in you looking excessively bulky, as any bodybuilder will tell you, it takes a big and concentrated effort to change your body shape. As muscle is quite dense, putting on small amounts won’t drastically change your figure, although it will make you appear more toned.
Increased Fat Loss
Did you know that resistance training increases your metabolism? Your metabolism can be measured by your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. This is the amount of calories your body will burn in 24 hours just to keep you alive. Your body requires calories for things such as maintaining body temperature, cell regeneration and breathing. Increasing your muscle mass creates a greater demand for things like heat and oxygen to keep the new muscle alive. This means that a greater muscle mass will lead to a greater BMR, as a result you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not in the gym. On top of this, resistance training will also burn calories burn a lot of calories as you’re doing it, meaning it really is a great way shed a few pounds.
Not only will resistance training give you more toned muscles capable of generating greater power, it will also give you the ability to use more muscle fibres. Muscles are activated by things called “motor neuron units”. Each motor neuron unit is responsible for controlling a certain number of muscle fibres. If the muscle is required to do fine movements, such as in the hand or eye, a motor neuron unit will only control a small number of fibres, if the muscle in required to do big, powerful movements, such as in the legs, a single motor neuron unit can control thousands of muscle fibres. If the muscles are not regularly challenged, some of the motor neuron units will switch off, meaning they cannot be called upon when needed. Regular resistance training will lead to greater motor neuron unit recruitment, as a result you will be able to fully utilise your muscles to maximum effect. Increased strength can be useful for daily life, allowing you to lift and carry heavier loads and objects. It can also reduce your risk of injury. By strengthening the muscles around your joints you make them more stable, and therefore less prone to being over strained.