What Is Resistance Training And What Can It Do For You?
If you are considering getting started on a resistance training workout program, you may be wondering how it helps your body become stronger, healthier and fitter.
What is resistance training? What’s involved and more importantly, how can you ensure you get results with your resistance training program?
To help answer these questions, let’s look at the process of resistance training and the many benefits it has to offer.
Step 1: The Overloading Stimulus
The first step is the basic overloading stimulus. This refers to the actual lifting of weight (or any form of resistance) and challenging the muscle in a way that it has not been challenged before.
If you want your muscles to grow stronger or larger, you need to push them to their limit.
If you simply lift a weight that you’ve have been able to do without any issue before, you will simply maintain the status quo.
While this isn’t bad – it’s good to keep your muscles strong, but you simply won’t see progress in terms of strength gains.
Assuming you want to get results, you need to do more. This means reaching a point of maximum fatigue with your muscles.
Step 2: Muscle Fibre Tear
The next step is the muscle fibre tear. This occurs as a result of the overloading stimulus.
As the muscles are being exposed to a weight they can’t handle, they will ‘break’ with tiny micro-tears being created.
Not to worry, this won’t hurt you like a cut would or anything like that, however you may feel slightly tight and sore after it has taken place.
These micro-tears however provide the foundation for results.
The soreness you experience in the days after a resistance training session is known as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
Step 3: Muscular Repair
Which now brings us to our next step – muscular repair.
After you’ve broken down those muscle fibres, now your body is going to want to repair the damage, building them back up stronger than they were before. This is where progress happens.
As you rest and fuel your body with proper nutrition after that resistance training session (remember that the food you eat provides the raw materials that are used during this repair process), your body will begin restructuring the muscular proteins so that they are able to handle that same stimulus again if they should encounter it. This is how you gain strength.
Your body always wants to maintain a state of homeostasis so if it’s been threatened by something (in this case, a heavy weight), it’s going to do its best to overcome that threat so that next time, it doesn’t get damaged.
Step 4: Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)
Finally, the last step is hypertrophy (aka. Muscle Growth).
If you are choosing to eat more energy than you burn each day, you will then begin to see hypertrophy taking place, which is the enlargement of the muscle(s).
Note that this can only happen if excess fuel is being provided. If all you give your body is the building blocks necessary to maintain your current muscle tissue, no further muscle tissue can clearly be built.
Therefore, that calorie surplus, coming from a mix of proteins, carbs, and fats, is necessary to grow your muscles.
Also keep in mind that if you choose not to eat a higher calorie diet (or are even on a weight loss diet for instance), it will be impossible to grow larger. You may get stronger, but size gains will not take place.
This is just a bit about resistance training and how it works.
Now it’s over to you to start a regular resistance training routine to achieve your muscle gains, strength or overall health goals.