The first leg of 4 Legs Fitness is resistance training.
Resistance training is also often referred to as weight or strength training. It is defined as the physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance.
Here you find a short summary about the key aspects of resistance training. For more details take a look at my article What Is Resistance Training? Tips and Workouts for All Levels, or check out my book From Healthy to Athletic: How to Master the 4 Ingredients to Superior Fitness.
What Is Resistance Training?
This training can include free-weights, machines, kettlebells or your own body weight. Apart from the obvious one of getting stronger and fitter, resistance training:
- Counteracts bone and muscle loss when we get older.
- Increases the resting metabolism which means you burn more calories while not exercising.
- Improves your balance, coordination, and posture (if you lift correctly), all of which are based on strength and composition of your muscles.
- And more, which I cover in the book.
Key Principles Of Resistance Training
Whatever your goal is, to see results you must follow a couple of important principles. Creating a resistance training regime or program is referred to as programming. The type and structure of the program depends on whether you want to train for hypertrophy (muscle mass increase), strength or power. Based on that you need to set three aspects:
- Volume is defined as the number of repetitions times the number of sets (reps x sets) that you execute per training session.
- Intensity is a certain percentage of your 1RM. 1RM stands for 1 rep max and represents the maximum weight you can theoretically lift for one time. There are ways to calculate and also practically test your 1RM.
- Frequency is how often you train a certain muscle group within a certain time period. It also includes recovery times and the quality of your rest between training sessions.
Especially this last point about having proper rest between training is crucial. We cover this in the fourth leg of the 4 Legs Fitness concept: recovery.
Another key principle to succeed with your program is progressive overload. In every training session you should add a new stimulus for your muscle. Otherwise they adapt and you won’t progress. This overload can happen by increasing volume, intensity, frequency, or shortening rest times or a combination of these.
Equipment For Strength Training
When it comes to equipment, you don’t need much but the more experienced you get and the heavier you lift, some tools (like a Powerlifting belt) are effective and recommended. Read more about this in my article about Gym Equipment That Actually Makes Sense.
Resistance Training as Part of Health Programs That Deliver Results
In my book I cover all these topics in much greater detail, which should help you create a resistance program that is right for you and your goals. If you want to use an existing program that incorporates all aspects of the 4 Legs of Fitness concept and adapts to your goals, check out my Build Bullet-Proof Health program. If you require a very specialized program take a look at my Super Coach.
In the next posts we cover the second leg of the 4 Legs Fitness concept: cardio.
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