Everywhere from magazines and health clubs to commercials and videos you hear weight equipment talked about as resistance equipment. Not to try to confuse you any more than necessary I would like to explain this to you as it is an important word to know. Resistance can be simply put as an opposing force, like a weight or even gravity. In order for you to gain more muscle and keep your muscles toned you will have to work against resistance.
Resistance equipment, believe it or not, is a much better term than weight equipment because you do not even need weights at all to have resistance. For example, using rubber bands for exercise is a great way to build muscle but the bands themselves weigh only a few ounces. This is a prime example of resistance equipment. You will most likely hear the terms weight training, strength training, resistance training, and weight lifting used interchangeably.
Once thing to remember is training your muscles is very similar to training a new skill. You were not born knowing how to do it, even though you were born with the means to do it. Lots of people think that because they own a body that they know how to use it and train it. This is about as accurate as saying because someone owns a dog they will be able to train it. You will be much more successful in all training if you take the time to research and gain the skills necessary. In fitness, discovering how to use the equipment properly is a very important step.
Resistance equipment typically belongs in one of the following categories:
The free weight category is home to many of the familiar items you see in a gym. Dumbbells, weight plates and barbells all fall into this category. There are many different sizes, weights, and materials used for this type of equipment.
Resistance machines normally are made up of a chair, adjustable weight units, a cable or wire, and movable bars. Like the free weights, machines vary in construction. Many machines being manufactured now include high tech gadgets such as computerized tracking and voice encouragement.
Bands and Tubing
Rubber and other resistant materials are often used for weight training. Bands or tubes are lightweight and ideal for people who travel often or are limited with space. The idea when using this type of equipment is to bend or stretch the rubber which causes the muscles to contract.
There are also other items you can add to a workout to increase the effectiveness of the training. A couple of these items are:
Foam rollers and Balls
Adding foam rollers and or balls into your existing workout will give you a less stable base to work off of. This increases the muscle use to keep your body in position which leads to the workout of other muscles groups such as your abs and back.
Using your own body weight can be a great way to add to a workout. By exercising against your own body weight you can be quite effective. Workouts such as squats and lunges are great examples.
Pilates and Yoga
While they are not technically in the family of weight training; they do offer many benefits when added to an existing weight training regimen. One main advantage of these types of exercises is they help with flexibility which is beneficial to increasing strength, coordination, balance, and mental health.