If you’re on a quest to build muscle mass resistance training (or strength training) whether with your own body weight, free weights, or gym equipment really is the secret weapon when it comes to sculpting your body. Regular practice of resistance exercises such as bench press, dumbbell lateral raise, and shoulder press will make you stronger, fitter, and set you on the path to a more toned body.

How does resistance training work?

Resistance training involves exercising your muscles to their maximum capacity with some form resistance. By lifting, and squatting heavy, such exercises create harmless microscopic tears in the cells of your muscle fibres – this is a breakdown process called “catabolism”. With sufficent protein intake amazingly this muscle tissue then repairs itself within 48 hours – a re-growth called “anabolism”, which makes the muscles grow even stronger than before. As a result, regular resistance exercise can have a wide range of benefits which are detailed below.

Increase your strength and stamina

Skeletal muscles consist of two different types of fibre: fast twitch for bursts of power – the amount of force you can withstand in one effort. The other is slow-twitch for prolonged endurance – the length of time which you can sustain a muscular contraction before you get tired.

As your resistance exercises encourage both types of muscle fibre to break down and redevelop, an effective resistance workout will increase both your strength and stamina, enhancing your ability to carry out tasks such as lifting heavy objects. A well-rounded strength training programme improves bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength.

Enhance your muscle tone

Getting stronger won’t make you bulkier – so forget that myth! Working your muscles via moderate resistance training builds “lean” muscle mass, giving a firmer, more chiselled musculature. It is important to remember you’ll only be able to see your newly defined abs, toned arms, or shapely legs once you shed any excess body fat through a healthy diet and adequate cardio exercise, so get going on your cardio and sculpting workouts!

Raise your metabolic rate

Effective resistance training has been proven to burn calories after your workout as well as during it, and can therefore help with weight loss. It even burns calories as you sleep, because a lean body burns more calories than one holding fat. The reason for this is that the muscle fibres within lean, tones muscles are more active than those in flabby, underused ones.

Build your bone strength

As well as building muscle mass, resistance training builds bone mass, which is crucial to enabling your skeletal system to support you adequately.

Written by Physical Training Instructor PTI_Thompson (@PTI_Thompson).

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