The first leg of 4 Legs Fitness is resistance training. Resistance training, which is also known as weight or strength training, by definition is the physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance. That can include free-weights, machines, or your own body weight (source). Apart from the obvious one of getting stronger and fitter, resistance training:
- Counteracts bone and muscle loss when we get older (source)
- Increases the resting metabolism which means you burn more calories while not exercising (source)
- Improves your balance, coordination, and posture (if you lift correctly), all of which are based on strength and composition of your muscles (source)
- And more, which we cover in the book
Whatever your goal is, to see results you must follow a couple of important principles which we summarize here. 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 its own leg recovery of the 4 Legs Fitness concept.
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.
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.
In our book we cover all these topics in much greater detail, which should help you create a resistance program that is right for you and your goals. We also provide a simple tool with a good standard program that can follow along or adapt.
In the next posts we cover the second leg of the 4 Legs Fitness concept: cardio.
In the meantime take a look at our book page.