Resistance training is a central component in a healthy lifestyle program and is defined as “any human movement that causes muscles to contract against an external load which can include body weight, Thera bands, free weights and pin-loaded machines”.

The importance of regular resistance training should not be overlooked. The Better Health Channel lists the physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance training as:

  • Improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury
  • Maintaining flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age
  • Weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest
  • May help reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people
  • Greater stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily
  • Prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity
  • Pain management
  • Improved mobility and balance
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Improved sense of wellbeing – resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood
  • A better night’s sleep and avoidance of insomnia
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Enhanced performance of everyday tasks.

Are benefits of resistance training the same for males and females?

Both males and females can benefit from resistance training, however with women at a higher risk of osteoporosis it may be even more important to include this form of training in their regime.

3 Resistance Exercises you need to start today:

1. Squat (Optimal for Lower Body strength development)

  • Start with feet shoulder width apart
  • Initiate movement with both a hip hinge (pushing hips backwards) and knee bend (knees going forward)
  • Keep knees tracking over toes
  • Go as low as you feel comfortable
  • Push through middle of foot to starting position

*If you find your heels are coming off the ground then use a heel block (elevate your heels) and stretch/release your calf muscles to reduce tension on knees.

2. Deadlift (Optimal for Lower Body strength and replicates picking objects off ground)

  • Start with feet hip width apart
  • Initiate movement with a hip hinge (pushing hips backwards) and knees stay slightly bent
  • Keep chest coming over while keeping back straight
  • Push through middle of foot and hips forward to starting position

3. Seated Row (Optimal for Upper Body strength and retraction strengthening to avoid kyphosis posture)

  • Start with hips and trunk at 90 degree, with arms straight
  • Initiate movement via pulling your elbows in too the side of your body till they are in line with your back
  • Slowly return your arms to the straight position without moving your upper body

*Focus on squeezing your scapula together during the pulling phase of the movement

How can an Exercise Physiologist help?

An Exercise Physiologist is able to conduct a physical assessment to outline your muscle weaknesses along with interpretation of past and current medical history to prescribe a resistance program that targets your goals and current too future health outcomes.

Hugh DeGaris is a registered Exercise Physiologist who specialises in the delivery of exercise for the prevention and management of chronic conditions and enhanced performance. Hugh treats out of Pinnacle Health Club Oakleigh but is available for consultation and assessments at sporting clubs or workplaces. He can be contacted via email or 9548 8787.

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