Benefits of Resistance Training
• Increases strength and lean body mass.
• Increases basal metabolic rate (BMR).
• Decreases total and LDL cholesterol levels.
• Decreases resting heart rate and blood pressure.
• Reduces coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. Resistance training is an effective way to help the body maintain muscle tissue during weight loss. The more muscle tissue you have on your body, the higher your BMR will be — which means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day, even when you’re resting. Weight training is also a great way to control blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes or at risk for diabetes.
• Helps maintain bone density. Resistance training can help prevent or delay age-related muscle and strength loss, a significant risk factor for osteoporosis. In addition to being weight-bearing exercise, resistance training helps enhance the muscles’ ability to absorb calcium. And when you have more muscle tissue, your body uses calcium more effectively to support that extra tissue.
• Improves balance and coordination in older adults. It becomes harder to stay balanced while standing on one leg as we get older, a key measure of physical fitness. However, researchers from the University of Illinois found that low-intensity resistance training twice a week for eight weeks improved older adults’ balance by nearly 20 percent compared with people who didn’t teach.
• Decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety. A review of 12 studies found that resistance training was more effective than aerobic exercise or no exercise at all in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. One possible explanation: Studies show it leads to an increase in norepinephrine, a powerful brain chemical that acts as both a neurotransmitter and hormone which may improve mood.
Resistance training can also help combat symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by improving mitochondrial function. In one study, only four days of strength training twice per week significantly reduced symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, and difficulty concentrating.
• Helps fight osteoporosis. This is especially important for people with low bone density stemming from autoimmune diseases such as arthritis since it helps strengthen bones and muscles.
• Improves sleep quality. Resistance training lowers the stress hormone cortisol and reduces muscle tension, which can help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.
• Enhances metabolism. When combined with a healthy diet that includes whole foods, resistance training can teach your body to burn more fat for energy instead of storing it.
Disadvantages of resistance training:
1. Increased risk of injuries:
when you lift weights, your muscles contract and stretch more than usual, so small tears begin to form in the muscle tissue during the process. The muscle tissue then begins to heal, causing a noticeable increase in size. However, suppose you do not use these muscles regularly.
In that case, they will become weaker, which creates a higher risk of injury if you were to repeat the activity (this is why athletes require extensive conditioning and training before participating in sports and games).
2. Muscle fatigue:
Muscles need energy for contraction, which comes from either aerobic or anaerobic pathways. With resistance training, repeated efforts at high intensity eventually lead to muscle fatigue because it takes more time for the body to replenish these energy substrates.
3. Weight gain:
while resistance training can lead to fat loss, some people use it intending to gain weight (usually muscle). This is difficult for most people because you need to eat more than burn off to gain weight, but this does not mean that you should be eating junk food all day long. Instead, a healthy balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and good fats will go a long way in helping you achieve your fitness goals.
4. Resistance training may increase blood pressure:
although this is relative, resistance training increases blood pressure. Therefore, you should consult your physician before beginning an exercise program involving resistance training if you have high blood pressure. On the other hand, studies show that resistance training has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, so even people with high blood pressure can benefit.
5. Muscles need recovery time:
the adage “use it or lose it” also applies to muscle tissue. Your muscles need about 48 hours to recover following a workout fully. Still, suppose you continue to train every day.
In that case, your muscles will not have enough time to repair themselves, and this leads to overtraining, which can lead to severe consequences including fatigue, loss of strength, loss of coordination, increased risk of injury, particularly in the joints and bones, decreased flexibility, feeling depressed about exercise (“I don’t want to exercise”), etc.…
6. Resistance training may be boring!:
there’s no question that excessive endurance training is boring too, but it seems that most people find resistance training boring. However, there are many ways to make resistance training more enjoyable: mixing up the exercises you perform, challenging yourself with heavier weights or more repetitions, changing things up at regular intervals, etc.…
7. Resistance Training can be potentially dangerous:
this is true for any physical activity, but it’s important to remember that injury happens when you are least prepared for it. This means that if you are not using good form while performing an exercise, mainly compound exercises such as the bench press or squat, these injuries can become a reality. Also, if your physician has advised against certain types of physical activity due to health reasons, then it might not be a good idea to do them.
8. Resistance training does not improve flexibility:
for the most part, resistance training only improves strength and muscle metabolism but not flexibility. Flexibility can be enhanced via other types of physical activity such as stretching or aerobic conditioning exercises. However, resistance training has been shown to increase range of motion which is why it’s handy for people with arthritis who are usually less flexible than their healthy counterparts.
9. Resistance Training may make you feel tired:
this may sound counterintuitive because exercise, in general, increases your energy levels. Still, it’s important to remember that although resistance training doesn’t have adverse effects on your cardiovascular system, it will likely leave you feeling exhausted because the muscles need time to recover after a workout, just like any other body part, including the heart!
10. Resistance Training can increase bone mineral density:
although it’s important to stress that resistance training alone will not prevent osteoporosis, it has been shown that resistance training increases bone mineral density and helps prevent osteoporosis.
11. Resistance Training may decrease performance:
during certain types of endurance training, studies have shown that resistance training reduces VO2max, indicating aerobic fitness. Still, this reduction in performance is slight if done for less than six weeks, so don’t worry about your maximum strength decreasing after a few sessions.
This slight reduction in aerobic capacity can be beneficial if you are trying to improve body composition. It allows you to perform at higher levels during the final sprints when losing body fat!
12. Resistance Training is best when combined with endurance training:
there is no doubt that combining the two types of exercise can be highly effective for inducing overall fitness improvements in previously sedentary individuals. Although they should not be performed on back-to-back days, it’s perfectly OK to complete resistance training on Mondays and an endurance workout on Tuesdays, for example!
13. Resistance Training will make you big and bulky:
you will NOT turn into a massive bodybuilder by lifting weights unless you take steroids or something similar. It’s simply not possible because men already have much more testosterone than women. Hence, it’s almost impossible to achieve the same effects of using artificial testosterone, which causes men to become large even if they are relatively non-weight-bearing activities such as swimming!
14. Resistance and endurance training cannot be combined during the same workout:
this is entirely false. Although you should not lift weighty weights during aerobic conditioning or sprint workouts, there is no reason why you can’t do a circuit combining, say squats, pull-ups, and pushups, for example!
15. Resistance Training will make women bulky:
as I mentioned before, this is NOT possible even if you train like a man because men have much more testosterone than women, which allows them to bulk up faster than women by lifting small amounts. Of weight!
The only exception to this is when women take steroids, but these are extremely dangerous unless medically prescribed, so remember that resistance training will only improve your body composition muscle to fat ratio) with no risk of building bulky muscles unless you take the steroids mentioned above.