Resistance training, also known as weight training or toning, is a popular and effective form of exercise that will have you looking fit and healthy in no time. Its name is derived from the way in which you exercise, which involves using the opposite force for your muscles – such as with bands or dumbbells.
There are so many reasons why you need to include resistance training in your exercise routine, and you are sure to notice the benefits. Your body shape will change for the better, you will see improved muscle strength and power, your metabolic rate will go through the roof, and even your bone health will improve. If all these benefits sound appealing, consider some of the best resistance training exercises below.
If you want to avoid getting lower back pain and tighten your core muscles, then a good exercise to carry out is called a plank. At first glance, the plank looks easy. After all, you don’t actually have to do anything, right? Wrong. A plank is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your core muscles, and it’s most certainly not because you do nothing.
A plank involves lying on your stomach, then raising your body up so that you’re positioned on your elbows and your toes – similar to a press up. You then need to lower your buttocks down until it’s positioned at about the same height as your shoulders. Make sure you don’t point your bottom upwards as this is a form of “relief” and doesn’t help work those core muscles.
Squeeze your naval area so that it’s pointing towards your spine and hold this position for 30 seconds. If you’re starting from scratch with core exercises, it might even be helpful to hold it for 10 seconds, then release, then hold it again for 10 seconds and so on.
If you’re looking to build muscle in your thighs and tone them, consider doing wall slides. For this exercise, you will need something positioned between your legs such as a medicine ball or a few balled towels. Stand against the wall and make sure your legs are placed at a shoulder distance apart. You then need to brace your core and slide your back down the wall so that your knees are almost parallel to the floor.
If you’re not sure how to hold this position, imagine you’re almost sitting on a chair. From here, hold the position for 10 seconds, then release. Keep doing this for 10 seconds, or as long as you can. Over time, you’ll end up with quads of steel!
If you find yourself always suffering from shin splints or muscle imbalances, it’s time to work those lower leg muscles. You can do this by doing heel step-downs. Stand with your feet together and step forward. As you go to touch down your heel, stop your foot from flexing as you transfer the weight. Move your foot back again and repeat the process with your other foot. Do this ten times on each side, and gradually make the steps more significant to add a more challenging aspect.
Straight Leg Raises
If you’re looking to tone your legs and knees while strengthening them in the process, consider straight leg raises. Lie on your back with your core engaged and raise one leg up while keeping the other straight. Tighten the quad muscles in your straight leg while raising it off the ground at the same time. Once it’s parallel with your thigh, hold the position, then lower it down again. Alternate between sides for ten sets.
If your body benefited from the plank, it’s definitely going to appreciate the side plank. The side plank is like a standard plank, only with more focus on your obliques. Lie on your side with your core muscles braced, and raise yourself up to rest on one foot and one elbow. Squeeze your oblique muscles and hold the position for 30 seconds. If it’s more comfortable as a beginner, you can hold the position in 10-second increments. Work your way up over time to 1-2 minute holds.
Resistance training can have those soft and squishy arms, legs and thighs toned in no time. Add resistance training to your workout and reap the rewards. Your body will look and feel great.