If your usual exercise regimen doesn’t include resistance training, you might want to reconsider your workout. Resistance training is super beneficial to your overall health and wellness as it can improve your metabolism, enhance your muscle tone, decrease body fat and even boost your balance and motor skills. As you age, you lose muscle mass and strength which resistance training can help you gain back and maintain. If you manage to sprinkle a little resistance training into your workout routine, even if it’s just a few times a week, you’ll see improved joints and range motion making you less prone to falls and other injuries. However, to get the best results from this kind of training, it’s best to use a mix of methods from free weights, machines and more. Keep reading below for seven simple tips on how to best utilize resistance training in your workout:
1. Free Weights or Resistance Bands
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, resistance bands can be easily used by anyone. These bands come in a multitude of resistances like light, medium and heavy and their slack can be adjusted according to what you want to get out of your workout. If you’re on the road a lot, resistance bands are also great for traveling fitness needs. Another option comes in the form of free weights. Free weights like dumbbells and barbells can give you an effective resistance workout and you can use them for a variety of exercises that target your different muscle groups.
2. Gym Machines
Have a gym membership or your own home equipment? Take advantage of that. Exercise machines can help you focus on the efforts of your resistance training movements rather than the mechanics of it all. Whether you start with the weights, leg press or chest press, it’s a simple yet great way to train.
3. 20 to 30 Minute Sessions
You don’t need to take a ton of time out of your day or add an hour to your normal routine to start resistance training. Typically, people get the most benefits out of resistance training by using a weight that fatigues the muscles over a shorter amount of time of repetition. This usually adds up to around eight to 12 reps, which should be as quick as 20 or 30 minutes of your session.
4. Group Classes
Working out at home or by yourself can mean you sometimes fall into spells where you’re seriously lacking motivation. One minute you’re ready to conquer the world and the next thing you know, your whole routine is off track. If you’re in need of a little fitspo, considering joining a group fitness class like TRX suspension training or Pilates. With these classes, you can more easily keep up with your goals while building strength, flexibility and so much more.
5. Alternate Days
Resting is important. Two nonconsecutive days of rest between your weekly resistance training will help your muscles heal and ready themselves to jump back into training in the following days. One important thing to note is that you should not be training the same parts of your body on back-to-back days as this can cause strain and even serious injury if your body is pushed too hard.
6. Split Program
If working your whole body every time you resistance train is too much or too lengthy for you, try out focusing on just two contrasting muscle groups on one day of your workout. For example, choose back and leg exercises and leave your other muscle groups for another time. This is beneficial because you are giving these isolated muscle groups more and better attention than if you were to try and work all your muscle groups in every half hour workout.
7. Vary Your Routine
Consistency is important, but so is varying your routine. Lack of variation means your muscle memory will step in and your body will have trouble adapting to a new workload. If you try out different things like using resistance bands one week and then attending a Pilates class the next, you’ll be in better shape mentally and physically. And as always, don’t forget to stay hydrated!