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Friday, July 19, 2013


Before getting into this week’s post, the technical term Resistance Training used by health professionals needs to be defined correctly. When talking about resistance Training, people usually think about strength training, which can be used to improve endurance in the muscle and power when performing a certain activity. But today the prescription of resistance training is a growing trend because when combined with aerobic and flexibility training in an exercise program, it has been shown to reduce risk factors related to many diseases, injury prevention and general health. When you are doing weight training, whether in a gym with the machines and weights or a fitness class, you are actually doing resistance training. Resistance training is what everyone refers to as weight training.

Did you know that resistance training is exercising against any resistance? Does it equal to any exercise using weights or bodyweight? If you are bored with going to the gym to do weights is there any other way to include resistance training in your exercise program? Is it always alright to do it in a class?    

There are three types of muscle contractions,  concentric (closing the angle of a joint, example, bending your arm), eccentric (increasing the angle of a joint, example: standing up from being seated), and isometric (no movement, when doing the plank from Yoga). These are included when performing resistance training and important to maintain muscle strength, joint mobility, bone mineral density, muscle mass or body composition, especially within aging, and a form of injury prevention. In order to create an effective resistance training program, the fitness world is coming up with new training methods to motivate and grab the attention of those that hate weightlifting in a gym using all the types of contractions even without extra weights. But no matter what new class or type of training you choose, you are still performing it against a resistance. But little do people realize that some new types of programs just might have the opposite effects on physical health.  

One of the latest fads in the fitness world is Boot camp classes or sessions of functional training. Most of the exercises included in functional training, which are the exercises included in boot camps, came from what is done by the preparation of professional athletes for maximal performance. The career of an athlete always presents risks of injury. But through their basic phase of training in the periodization, while preparing for competition, they strengthen their core and bodies using all the types of contractions through resistance training and specific sport training, and maintain it during their competition season minimizing injuries. So should people searching for a healthy lifestyle exercise like the elite athletes when they themselves are physically unprepared due to the life that is lived today?

Yes, functional training or the boot camp can be an effective way to include resistance training in the exercise program. But what is happening is that most are injuring themselves and creating other physical problems, because most lack body and core strength. It is also the fault of the professionals that are conducting these classes because they are not paying attention to details of correct posture, positioning and execution of the exercises given, and may not have the education to do so. Just like a weight training program, there should be a general progression from light and easy exercises to more complex and higher intensity exercises which is lacking in most of these camps and functional training programs.  

So those of you who need something different then a gym to weightlift, just remember that even though you aren’t actually lifting weights, new classes proving to be motivating, hard, and of high intensity, will mostly consist of resistance training. Boot camp classes and functional training, without the proper fitness assessment and the prescription of an educated exercise specialist (not a two day course wonder), could in fact be negative to improving your body, health and preventing you from your results.  
Articles Consulted:
Resistance Training for Health. Pollack and Vincent Research Digest. 1996
Resistance Training for Health and Performance. Kraemer, et al. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2000.

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