It is perfectly normal for those just starting out in the fitness arena to see “Resistance Training” and think, “No thank you!” There could be a multitude of reason for that reaction. Maybe they think it will be too hard. Some think it will hurt. Others are just worried that they’ll get that bulky look. But beginner resistance training at home doesn’t have to be any of that. It SHOULDN’T be any of that.
The real goal with resistance training is muscle stimulation. Muscle gains don’t have to be part of the equation at all.
So don’t be afraid of resistance training, in any of its forms. It can only help you along your path to a fitter, healthier you.
What Exactly Is Resistance Training?
I’ll admit, with a name like resistance training, it can seem a little intimidating. But if you take a minute to really think about the term, it becomes far less scary.
Resistance simply means “to work against”. In this case, to work against your muscles. When you pick something up off the floor, the weight of that object is acting in resistance to your muscles’ efforts. Guess what. Resistance training is the same thing! It is just making your muscle work a little harder to perform the same task.
You can do this with weights. Or resistance bands. Or even your own body weight.
And the benefits are HUGE!
Let’s Start With Weights
Most people are familiar with weightlifting, even if they have never done any themselves. You get a dumbbell or a barbell, and you lift it. Simple.
The biggest fear most people have when it comes to lifting weights is that they are going to get bulky. This seems to be an especially big fear for women who just want to tone, not build, muscle.
The thing to remember is that just lifting weights isn’t going to turn you into the Incredible Hulk. In order for weight lifting to produce any significant degree of muscle growth and mass gain, you have to be very specific in both exercise technique and diet. If you are just starting out with a fitness program, you aren’t going to be seeing these types of gains.
Lifting as a means to aid in weight and fat loss isn’t the type of lifting that will get you bulky. Chances are you will be lifting too light as you get started to really do anything more than let your muscles know you haven’t forgotten about them. And that is exactly the goal, because when it comes to losing weight and dieting, if we don’t stimulate our muscles our bodies will burn muscle for the extra energy needs instead of burning fat!
That’s right, your body will eat your muscles before the fat you’re trying to burn unless you trick it into acting differently. So get some light dumbbells. Pick a few simple lifts, like bicep curls, overhead presses, and squats. Do a couple sets of each a couple days a week. Remind your body that you still need those muscles, and it will respond by burning the fat you want to get rid of.
Resistance Bands Sound Safer To Me
That’s perfectly normal for someone just starting out. The idea of lifting a metal bar over your head can be a little scary when you don’t have any experience with it. Luckily, the big metal bar isn’t necessary.
Resistance Bands to the rescue!
You’ve probably seen them before. They look like giant rubber bands. Some have nylon handles built into the ends of them. Some are simple rubber strips. Whichever ones you pick, they do the same thing.
To perform a bicep curl (just to keep things in line with the suggestions for weight lifting) you would simply stand on the middle of the band, with one end in each hand. You would then perform the bicep curl by pulling the end of the band up toward your shoulder. No metal bar or metal plates to drop on your toes!
How Do I Use My Body Weight For Resistance Training?
Have you ever done a push-up? How about a pull-up, or chin-up? Have you ever squatted down to pick a penny up in a parking lot?
These are all body weight resistance exercises!
When you do a push up, it’s the same thing as doing a bench press. A pull up or chin up is a bicep curl, and gets the muscles of the upper back involved too! Squatting down to pick something up is… Well, it’s a squat! You just don’t have a barbell resting on your shoulders.
Don’t really think that can work? Test it! Stand up right now with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold your arms out in front of you for balance if you need to, and slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then slowly come back up to a standing position. Repeat this 5 or 6 times.
Feel a little burn in your legs? That’s your muscles saying “Hey! We’re working here!” Which means that you are doing resistance exercises.
Barbells, And Bands, And Body Weight… Oh My!
The options really are limitless when it comes to ways to stimulate your muscles. Any type of resistance that you can add to a normal movement of your muscles is resistance training!
You can even turn normal household chores into a resistance workout.
Doing the laundry? Well, on your way from the laundry room to the bedroom, squat down and set the laundry basket on the floor. Then pick it back up. Do it 5 or 6 times on your way to putting the clothes away. You needed to bring those clothes to the bedroom anyway. Now you just added 5 or 6 weighted squats to the chore, and it didn’t take more than a few extra seconds out of your day!
Do you work or live in a multi-story building with an elevator? That elevator is pretty nice, right?! Well, if you take those stairs, you are basically doing a lunge every time you step up. Your legs might burn a little bit after you climb two or three flights, but you will definitely see the payoff when you step on the scale at the end of the week.
Beginner Resistance Training At Home Doesn’t Have To Be Scary
Remember, here at Honest Fitness Advice, it is my goal to help the beginner EASE into fitness. I will never try to push you into anything too intense. You add resistance training to your routine when you are ready, and ONLY when YOU are ready.
You add resistance training into your routine at your own pace. I may suggest doing a couple different lifts/moves a couple days a week. But if you’d rather do one lift on Monday, a different lift on Tuesday, and yet another one on Wednesday, that’s perfectly fine! What you add and how fast you add it is completely up to you.
No one knows your body like you do. Therefore, no one can TELL YOU when your body is ready to start moving up a step in your training. Only you can know that. And by starting a fitness routine as a beginner, and easing your way into you, you are much more likely to stick with it and succeed.
Little steps, and little additions, can provide big results. Maybe not all at once, but certainly over time. And that’s okay! It’s not healthy to lose too much weight too fast, so don’t worry if you’re only losing half a pound to a pound a week. Even little losses are steps toward your goal. Those little wins… They’re still WINS! Count those little wins. Add those little wins together. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that you’re getting closer to your goal than you thought!
If you’ve come this far, you can go all the way. Just keep in mind that it’s not a race. The only person you need to impress with your progress… Is YOU!
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Best of luck on your journey,
P.S. Remember, if you ever have questions, or need help, or even just a little encouragement, feel free to reach out. You can leave a comment, or send me an e-mail, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.