Life & Living

Resistance Training

This month we’re talking about Resistance Training. The thing to remember is that it’s not body building, it’s building a body.

Chantel Heath

INSTAGRAM: @chantelheathfitness

I’m a 41 year old mother of two & Personal Fitness coach. I work one to one, in person & online with clients aged 18-80. My specialisms include pre & postnatal training, cancer rehab, pilates, & GP exercise referrals. I run fitness classes online and in person in the Suffolk Coastal area. I am also a Mental Health First aider.

Resistance training, also known as strength training, is exercise that uses weights or resistance to build muscular endurance, strength and size.

There’s a wealth of evidence to suggest that it can play an important part in protecting us from a huge range of health concerns including some cancers, dementia, menopause, bone density and heart disease. That’s just the tip of the iceberg; dive a bit deeper and you’ll find that there are very few health concerns that wouldn’t benefit in some way from resistance training.

The thought of lifting weights can conjure up all sorts of intimidating images of gyms full of hulking great muscle-bound types, lifting impossibly large weights, which can be enough to put some people off before they even get started! Fear not! Resistance training doesn’t have to be done in a gym, but if you do want to join your local facility there will be staff on hand to show you round and help you settle in.

With the right approach and a bit of guidance, anyone can begin to build strength and see results. Here are some tips for getting started.

Get some advice

Whether you find a simple fitness plan online, or have a personal trainer write a bespoke plan for you, it is important to have a plan. This will ensure that you are working the various muscle groups in a balanced and effective way. It also ensures that you make effective use of your time as you’re not wandering around wondering what to do next!

Start with bodyweight exercises

If you’ve never used weights before, it’s a good idea to build a foundation of strength using your own bodyweight. Exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges can help you develop strength and improve your form, without the need for any equipment. They’re also a great way to warm up before moving on to heavier weights.

Choose the right amount of weight

When you’re ready to start lifting weights, it’s important to choose the right amount of weight for your fitness level. Start with a weight that feels challenging but not too heavy, and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. Aim for 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, and try to complete 2-3 sets of each exercise.

Focus on proper form

One of the most important aspects of resistance training is proper form and technique. This not only helps prevent injury, but also ensures that you’re targeting the right muscles and getting the most out of each exercise. In my experience this is something that people struggle with the most. If you’re not sure about proper form, consider working with a personal trainer to learn the basics.

Be consistent

Like any form of exercise, consistency is key when it comes to resistance training. Aim to work out at least 2-3 times per week, and try to stick to a regular schedule. Sessions don’t have to be long and arduous to be effective! A 30 minute workout is more than adequate to see health benefits.

Listen to your body

Finally, it’s important to listen to your body when you’re starting out with resistance training. It’s normal to feel a bit sore after a workout for up to around 48 hrs, but if you’re experiencing sharp pain or discomfort, it’s a sign that you may need to adjust your technique or take a break. Don’t be tempted to push yourself too hard too soon, aim to start with 2-3 sessions per week and try to allow a couple of days between each workout for your body to recover.