The fundamentals of exercise include resistance training whether that be with resistance bands or with free weights. With magazines constantly bombarding us with articles on nutrition, biomechanics, and new exercise training techniques, it is easy to lose sight of what really works. Therefore, ensure that resistance training is a part of your exercise program.
Resistance training is defined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as "any method or form used to overcome, resist or bear force." Resistance training therefore includes bands, tubing and partner exercise, as well as weights done with barbells, dumbbells and machines.
No matter what form you use, the basic principle is the same - you have to gradually overload the muscles with increases in intensity and volume to achieve strength gains. Some people are reluctant to add this to their exercise program, claiming they don't want to "get big". Women in particular fear they will bulk up and become too muscular, not realising that this is incredibly difficult for a woman to do, even if she wants to. Men have approximately 10 times more of the muscle-building hormone testosterone than women, and females also produce significant amounts of the hormone estrogen, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of lean muscle tissue.
It is important for people to understand the benefits of this type of exercise. The ACSM recommends including weights in adult fitness programs because it has a high metabolic cost - the more muscle we have the more calories we use. The reverse is also true - without some type of strength-building exercise, the body can lose approximately one half pound of muscle per year.
Other benefits include injury prevention, increased physical capacity and enhanced appearance. Last but not least, this form of exercise has been shown to have a positive influence on a client's emotional well-being and body image. A 1992 study found that weight lifting women scored significantly higher than non-weight lifters for both mental health and body image assessments.