Many people may equate resistance training with lifting heavy weights, doing heavy weight curls, and working out on weight-bearing cable machines at the gym, but there are plenty of ways to work your muscles without lifting weights.
bodyweight resistance training
Many workouts rely solely on your body weight for resistance training. “Bodyweight is a simple source of resistance that can be used in many different ways,” says Matt Tanneberg, a chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona.
From push-ups to pull-ups to squats to sit-ups, there are countless bodyweight exercises you can use to work just about any muscle group in your body, says Tanneberg. In fact, if he’s a beginner, Tanneberg recommends learning to work with your own bodyweight before even thinking about weights.
Swimming as resistance training
Although some people don’t realize it, swimming can greatly benefit your joints, muscles, heart, and overall health, and can also be considered a type of resistance training. Remember, resistance training is based on the idea that you apply your body against an external force, which can include water, according to Tanneberg.
“Swimming is a great [form of] resistance training with cardiovascular benefits,” he says. “It’s very easy on our joints, [and] it doesn’t put the same stress as running on our ankles, knees and hips.”
“Suspension training uses body weight and gravity to build resistance,” says Josh Schlottman, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist based in Napa, California. All you need for suspension training is a sturdy anchor point and something to use for straps, like a TRX suspension trainer, says Schlottman.
Exercises you can do with a TRX trainer include bicep curls, rows, and chest presses. Once you have your TRX trainer, attach your anchor to a high place like the top of your door. Then lean away from the straps while holding them so that your weight is now resting on the straps and your feet. You can then pull or push against the straps to perform your desired exercise.
In a 2018 study in the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiologysuspension training improved the strength and explosive power of exclusively male participants (female participants showed no improvement) compared to those who did not use suspension training.
“There are many benefits of suspension training, including increased core strength, increased stability and balance, and increased flexibility,” says Schlottman, who adds that one of the best things about suspension training is that it can be done anywhere without equipment. expensive or a gym. membership.
resistance band training
Resistance bands, which are elastic bands with different strength levels measured in kilograms or pounds, are versatile and can be used for a wide range of strength training exercises. The best part: They can be just as effective as traditional dumbbells. According to a systematic review and meta-analysis in SAGE Open Medicineresistance band training produced a similar improvement in participants’ strength as traditional weight-based training.
“Using anchors or your own body, you can do a lot of different exercises with resistance bands,” says Allan Misner, a Panama-based certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who says he’s a big fan of resistance bands. Misner also points out that resistance bands are compact and lightweight, making it easy to take and train anywhere.
“Plyometrics is a form of training where you perform a movement, like jumping and landing, explosively,” Misner says. It’s a great way for athletes to build strength and explosiveness at the same time, she adds.
That said, plyometric training isn’t just for athletes. According to a review in Journal of Science and Medicine in Sportplyometric training improved participants’ strength regardless of their gender or fitness level.