Keys to Resistance Training
Resistance training – whether with weights or bands - offers a score of health benefits. It can help prevent, manage and treat many conditions including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity (increases lean muscle and metabolism), osteoporosis, fall risk, depression and more. It’s also key in helping us accomplish activities and tasks with ease and less pain and effort. Thus, we can do more and have a better quality of life. To reap these benefits, you must know how to train properly.
Keys to Success
- Always control your motion, using as full range of motion with each exercise as possible.
- Remember to breathe with each repetition.
- Initially, use lighter loads for roughly 10-15 repetitions (reps). Once you have your technique down and you’ve established a baseline for your fitness, try heavier loads with fewer reps, 8-12. This will help make your muscles stronger and leaner.
- Challenge that muscle. To build strength and lean muscle tissue, it’s important to work it. The heavier the weight load, the more muscle fibers are recruited, which means better results. Still, whether you’re using lighter loads with more reps or heavier loads with fewer reps, make it a challenge.
Measuring Perceived Effort
You might try this common method of gauging your intensity: the 1-10 RPE scale (Rating of Perceived Effort or Fatigue). When first starting strength training or for a warm-up set, your effort should be anywhere from a 4-6 on the scale. This means when you complete your exercise you will not have much fatigue, feel little or no strain (for example no need to grimace) and your speed of the movement did not slow. For maximal results, you’ll need to progress to a minimum of a 7-8 on the RPE scale. This will cause fatigue, slowing of your movement to where you feel that if you “maxed” out you could maybe accomplish 2-4 more repetitions and you will most likely be grimacing on your last couple of reps.
Give it a try! If you get serious about resistance training consider consulting a professional trainer who will help you meet your specific goals safely and effectively. But to begin, remember: work up to challenging your muscles, and push yourself, but don’t hurt yourself!