When you think of resistance training, you probably imagine someone big, buff and bulky, right? I too have that image in my head (teehee, I can’t help it). But not all resistance training will give you that result.
There are different types of resistance training that can be incorporated into your workout routine that fits your fitness goal.
I’m a runner, and many people have been telling me that I need to go to the gym to lift weights/ lift heavy. They tell me that I cannot always just stick to cardio because if you want to lose weight, tone up and build muscle, you HAVE TO LIFT WEIGHTS. Somehow, I don’t quite agree with that.
Before I get into the nitty gritty details, let’s get one thing straight:
Girls! You Won’t Get Big and Bulking from Lifting Weights
Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for the gain in muscle mass in men. Men have significantly higher testosterone levels (more than 10 times) compared to women. We clearly do not have the hormonal support to gain that level of muscle mass when we lift heavy weights. Female bodybuilders have to take external sources of testosterone/steroids/protein etc to look like how they do. So the main point here is that women will not gain muscles like a man even if they lift heavy.
Having said that, I am not a fan of lifting weights/lifting heavy. Even without taking external hormonal supplements, the body you get from lifting weights is just not my thing. For the record, I have nothing against lifting weights and on the people who lift weights. If you like it and if it works for you then go for it.
Resistance training is great for body compositional change and fat loss. I know many people who swear by it and ONLY do resistance training with pretty good results. I do resistance training too, just that I much prefer to use my own body weight than lifting heavy weights at the gym.
Using Your Own Body Weight to Weight Train
There are many ways you can do resistance training without going to the gym or needing any gym equipment.
I started doing push ups on my knees. When that got easy, I advanced to the normal push up position (on my feet instead of on my knees). Not challenging enough? I now place my feet up on the bench to do my push ups. Putting your feet up increases the overall load on your arms (more than just your body weight).
There are many other ways to increase the intensity of resistance training when you get comfortable with your own weight. Get creative and switch things up.
Circuit Train Your Way to Strength
I like to make resistance training a little bit more fun by combining several moves to form a circuit. Circuit training allows you to train different muscle groups with each move (Squats, dips, lunges, pull ups etc).
Squats, for example, activate your core, gluteus minimus and quads whereas tricep dips activates your tricep muscles. As you are not training the same muscle group continuously, you can rest only after you have completed the whole circuit. Also, as you are moving from one move to the next with little to no breaks in between, your heart rate is constantly high which means that you’re getting your cardio workout done as well.
By repeating the circuit several times, you would have turned your resistance training into interval training. Win win!
Your Training Plan
- 20 burpees
- 20 raised push ups
- 20 raised glute bridges
- 20 bicycle kicks (each side)
- 20 tricep dips
- 20 jump squats
- 1 min plank
Repeat 5 times. No breaks in between until you have completed the whole circuit!
The training plan above is just an example of what I usually do. Want more examples? Feel free to ask me at my website!
Form Comes First
I like to stress that for resistance training, proper form is very important. Maintaining strict form on all movements will ensure results and save you from injury. Stabilize the body, tighten the abdominal muscles and feel the primary intended muscle contracting instead of using momentum to complete the move.
This works for me because as a runner, I want strength and not the extra weight from the muscle bulk. Own body weight resistance training and plyometrics (jump squats instead of weighted squats) are my cup of tea!
You don’t have to lift weights to become lean, toned and strong! A few strength training sessions coupled with a whole lot of running and you’re good to go! Try it!