At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
A resistance workout is a workout composed entirely or primarily of resistance exercises. Performing resistance exercise forces a muscle to work against a resisting force. This force can come from a number of sources; the most common are free weights such as dumbbells, weight machines, exercise bands, and body weight.
Although no equipment is required to perform a resistance workout, many people choose to use weights or bands to increase muscle strength. Exact technique varies depending on the exercise being performed, but all resistance exercises involve working the muscles repeatedly against an opposing force. Bicep curls, for example, work the bicep muscle in the arm as it pulls against gravity to lift a weight. Pull ups, on the other hand, strengthen the muscles of the arms as they lift the entire body's weight.
Different forms of resistance exercise can be utilized to produce quicker results. Progressive resistance exercise is used to build additional muscle by incrementally increasing the work load on a muscle. This is usually accomplished by having the exerciser lift progressively heavier weights to the point of exhaustion. Variable resistance exercise involves changing the amount of resisting force during an exercise, which is believed to accelerate growth of the affected muscle.
An exerciser can perform a resistance workout at home or at the gym. Gyms usually have an extensive selection of equipment and provide the widest variety of exercises. Those who cannot afford gym memberships or who simply don't want to go to the gym can create a home gym relatively cheaply or do exercises which utilize body weight instead of equipment. Some examples of low impact body weight exercises are push-ups, squats, and crunches.
Home gyms designed for a home resistance workout can be easily set up with free weights and exercise bands, which are the least expensive forms of exercise equipment. Exercise bands also have the advantage of being portable enough for travelers. Many people find exercise balls and kettlebells inexpensive enough to add to their home gyms. Although resistance machines can add variety, they are often costly and take up a great deal of space.
Resistance workouts usually vary from 20 to 60 minutes and are often performed two to six times a week. Some workouts combine resistance and aerobic exercise for added calorie burn. Combining a resistance workout with an aerobic workout can also shorten exercise time.
Book and DVD workouts are an inexpensive way to vary home resistance workouts. Many fitness authorities recommend varying workouts every few weeks to keep the body from becoming accustomed to any one workout, which retards results. This also prevents boredom, which makes adhering to a regular workout easier.
There are numerous benefits to doing a resistance workout. These workouts increase bone density and muscle mass which benefits those with age-related bone or muscle loss. Many elderly persons have regained mobility and improved their mental health with regular resistance exercise. Resistance workouts increase metabolism and most experts recommend them as an important component of weight loss exercise.