You may have heard the term “resistance training” before, but do you really know what it means? And when it comes to maximizing training, what’s the best resistance…body or weight? The answer might be simpler than you think!
The most fundamental definition of resistance training is any exercise that requires you to move your body against resistance. And, again in the most basic sense, resistance can be defined as any force that makes it more challenging for you to move your body.
When you move your body against resistance, you build muscle. According to Dr. Vonda Wright, an internationally-recognized expert on sports medicine: “Maintaining and building muscle is good for your metabolism, makes you strong, prevents injury, and lifts your mood.”
Typically, the force you’re resisting is weight, but that doesn’t mean resistance training requires you to use weights! The weight in question can simply be the weight of your own body. And if you have joint problems or other health issues that make load-bearing exercise challenging, you create resistance by using exercise bands or doing a pool workout.
If you’re a fit person who loves a challenge and wants to maximize the impact of your workouts, you may be wondering whether choosing a dumbbell or barbell workout over a bodyweight workout gives you a competitive advantage. Or is bodyweight the better choice? Here’s what you need to know.
In the matchup of your body vs. weights, there is no clear winner. In fact, the best approach may be to combine different methods since each has unique benefits. Some benefits of bodyweight training, for example, are that it requires no equipment, involves no start-up costs, and can be done virtually anywhere. And for weights workouts, many appreciate how clearly you can mark your progress and increase the difficulty of different exercises simply by adding more weight to the bar or choosing a heavier dumbbell.
If you truly want to maximize the effectiveness of your resistance training, consider alternating your exercise approaches. That might mean lifting weights on Monday, then taking a class that uses resistance bands on Tuesday, then doing bodyweight exercises on Wednesday, and so on. Give yourself permission to shake it up and try new things!
Whether you’re mastering an Olympic lift or perfecting your push-ups, the following tips from Harvard HEALTHbeat will help you work out in the most effective way possible.