In the previous Sciencecast, we spoke about the superpowers of resistance exercise. This week I’m bringing you your ‘resistance training 101’, sharing best practice principles to make it both effective and safe.
Let’s get lifting…
Performing exercises with proper technique:
- Reduces the risk of injury
- Ensures the right muscles are working
Otherwise, your naturally dominant muscles will ‘takeover’ and potentially worsen any imbalances.
The reality is it will often make an exercise more challenging. When was the last time your Cardiac Coaches corrected your technique and it made it easier?
Holding your breath whilst resistance training:
- Increases your blood pressure
- Starves the working muscles of oxygen
Instead, try and breathe in a controlled manner which feels natural to you. It might not be easy but it will get easier!
Listen to your heart:
Keeping a keen eye on your heart rate, ensuring it doesn’t jump too high, as well as managing your blood pressure during resistance training will ensure you don’t put undue strain on your heart. This is particularly important during cardiac rehab.
I’m not telling you off… TUT stands for Time Under Tension, which is how long your muscles work for during a set.
- Shorter TUT (0-30s) is more suited to building strength
- Longer TUT (60-90s) is more favourable for strength endurance
We commonly select 60-90 seconds as it more closely linked to cardiovascular health, whilst still being able to optimise muscle building, manage workload on the heart and lower the risk of injury.
Tempo, tempo, tempo:
This is how fast or slow you lift weights (cue “1,2,3,4, hold” ringing in your ears):
- Longer tempos are good to build technique, control and managing cardiac workload.
- Shorter tempos are for building more power and cardiovascular capacity
Picking your exercises:
Generally, you should pick exercises that are:
- Functional – things you do day-to-day such as squats, lifts, pushes and pulls
- Compound – using several muscles at the same time
These will have better cross-over to daily life, are more time-efficient to perform, increase coordination and provide more cardiovascular benefits than isolated exercises.
Some people love to change the exercises all the time, others love consistency. In truth a combination is best.
Too much change and although it may feel more fun and interesting you can’t build enough consistency for your body to adapt and improve. On the other hand too little change and your body can get used to it and plateau. A general guide would be to change/progress exercises every 6-12 weeks.
Progress is the name of the game:
Possibly the most important principle today, “if you train the same, you stay the same”.
To gain the benefits of resistance training you must progress, however, there’s more to progression that just lifting heavier weights. Progress could be more time under tension, a different tempo, a more complex exercise, better technique or and exercise that’s the same but feels easier or less painful.
You know people talk about the “why” being the most important thing? Well forget that for just a moment and focus on the “what”. By following these basic seven rules, you will not only make far greater gains from your resistance training, you will also keep yourself safe and healthy.
My podcast playlist: “The 4 Steps to make habits stick, with James Clear” by Dr. Rajan Chatterjee
“Feel Better Live More Bitesize is Chatterjee’s weekly podcast for your mind, body, and heart. Each week he features inspirational stories and practical tips from some of his former guests.
Today’s clip is from episode 145 of the podcast with James Clear – an entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author of the book ‘Atomic Habits’.
In this clip, James explains why our daily habits are so important and gives some great tips for creating healthy habits that can last a lifetime.”