Advantages and disadvantages of strength and resistance training

Exercise isn’t always about losing weight. It’s also about keeping your muscles strong and staying fit in general. Adults who lead inactive lives experience a loss of muscle mass of three to eight percent per decade, outside of fat accumulation, notes a 2012 study published by the US National Library of Medicine. Fitness enthusiasts will tell you to do strength training, but some might urge you to try resistance training. Now comes the important question. How are strength training and resistance training different?

There is a difference between strength training and resistance training. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What is strength training?

Strength training is a form of physical exercise that focuses on building and building muscle strength and endurance through resistance exercises or resistance training, celebrity trainer and athlete Rohit Nair explains to Health Shots. It basically involves using machines, free weights, or bodyweight exercises.

Difference Between Strength Training and Resistance Training

It’s true that strength training and resistance training are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two.

strength training

Strength training primarily focuses on increasing muscle strength and power. This involves lifting heavy weights for a lower number of reps, usually between 1 and 6 reps per set. The focus is on stimulating muscles with maximum resistance to stimulate muscle growth and strength gains.

Resistance training

Resistance training is a broader term that encompasses any exercise that uses resistance to work muscles. Strength training exists, but resistance training also includes other forms of training that use resistance. So, bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, or lighter weights with higher reps all fall under resistance training. The goal of resistance training can vary, from building strength and muscle to improving endurance or muscle toning, says the expert.

Advantages and disadvantages of strength and resistance training

Benefits of strength training

• Strength training focuses on heavy weights and low repetitions, leading to significant gains in muscle strength.
• It promotes muscle hypertrophy, resulting in increased muscle size and overall muscle development.
• Stress placed on bones during strength training can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, says Nair.
• The increase in muscle mass from strength training can increase resting metabolic rate, making it easier to manage weight.

Side effects of strength training

• Lifting heavy weights can increase the risk of injury, especially without proper form or supervision.
• Strength workouts may take longer due to longer rest periods between sets.
• Some strength training exercises require access to gym equipment or free weights, which are not always readily available.

Benefits of resistance training

• Resistance training includes a wide range of exercises, from bodyweight to bands, providing a variety of options for people with different fitness levels.
• Higher reps and lower weights in resistance training can improve muscle endurance and endurance.
• Many resistance training exercises can be done anywhere with minimal equipment, making them accessible to people without gym access.
• With lighter weights, the risk of injury is generally lower than with intense strength training.

Side effects of resistance training

• Resistance training may not lead to significant muscle mass gains the way strength training does.
• Although it improves muscular endurance, the gains in strength may not be as substantial as those achieved with intensive strength training.

If building power is the primary goal, strength training is more effective.

Popular bodybuilding exercises

If you choose to do strength training, opt for these exercises.

1. Deadlift

This compound exercise targets multiple muscle groups, including the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and core, says Nair. It involves lifting a barbell or dumbbells from the ground to a standing position, focusing on heavy weights and low reps to build overall strength.

2. Bench press

This is a classic upper body exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It involves lying on a flat bench and holding a barbell or dumbbells away from your chest. Heavy weights and low repetitions are used for maximum strength gains.

squat exercise
The squat is a good strength training exercise. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Squats

This is another essential compound movement that works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. This exercise consists of lowering the body with a barbell on the shoulders or using dumbbells, then raising it to a standing position. Squats are performed with heavy weights and low repetitions to build strength.

Best Resistance Training Exercises

Here are some of the resistance training exercises you need to try.

1. Push-ups

It is a bodyweight exercise that targets the chest, shoulders and triceps. By using your body weight as resistance, you can perform higher reps to improve muscular endurance, says the expert.

2. Rows of resistance bands

Attach resistance bands to an anchor point and perform rowing exercises to work your back muscles. Resistance bands offer adjustable resistance, making them suitable for people with different fitness levels.

3 . Buttock bridge

To do the glute bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes, then lower them.

Now that you know the difference between strength training and resistance training, choose the exercises based on your needs.

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