The term “Resistance Training” defines itself in a broad sense and means any physical training that incorporates resistance against muscular movement. In a more specific sense, Resistance Training is performed using elastic or hydraulic resistance to build muscles and improve bone density, as well as overall health and fitness.
In the health club, the resistance training area is usually the designation for the machinery on which the exercises are performed, as opposed to the free-weights area used mostly by powerlifters and bodybuilders. There are a myriad of resistance training equipment manufacturers, including: Nautilus, Bowflex, Soloflex, HammerStrength, David, Paramount and others.
The advantages of using this type of equipment are: No need for a workout partner or “spotter” when using heavier weights; a full-range of movement is accomplished for better flexibility; there is no concern about balancing or manuevering or dropping the weights as there is with free-weights; the movements are consistant, no wobble or unequal resistance. Most importantly, the results will equal those achieved with free-weights.
The types of machines used in resistance training are many. There are machines designed to work every muscle and muscle group in the human body. For example, a chest press machine will allow for adjustment of the weight, the seat height and angle and placement of the hands. This enables the exerciser to work every part of the pectoralis major, the most prominent chest muscle. Another chest exerciser is a “fly” machine, or “pec-deck,” on which the extreme outer and inner portions of the chest are worked, as are the deltoid-pectoral tie-in, the connective area of the chest and shoulder.
Likewise, there are several machines to work the shoulders in different manners, stressing all portions of the deltoids, shoulder muscles, for fitness and growth. Some resistance machines are designed to work the back, the thighs, calves, abductor-adductor muscles of the hips and inner thighs. In summary, there is no area of the body that cannot be exercised with resistance training equipment.
The benefits of resistance training are both physical and mental: Greatly improved physical conditioning; improved strength and endurance; increased muscle size and bone density; increased cardio-vascular fitness, improved lung capacity; weight loss and maintenance; improved appearance and self-esteem; pumped up libido.
People with medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension often find that their improved conditioning lessens their need for medication for their disability.