Meet the Resistance



Public health exercise guidelines primarily focus on the promotion of  steady-state aerobic exercise, which enhances cardiorespiratory fitness and has some impact on body composition.

Unless you are an endurance athlete training for an event, there is a better form  of exercise that not only includes enhanced cardiorespiratory fitness,  but also numerous other benefits.

Research demonstrates that resistance exercise training has profound effects on the musculoskeletal system, contributes to the maintenance of functional abilities, and prevents osteoporosis, sarcopenia (muscle loss), lower-back pain, and other disabilities.

Additionally,  resistance training can  positively influence  risk factors such as insulin resistance, resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, body fat, and gastrointestinal transit time, which are associated with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Evidence based resistance training involves precise controlled movements with varying loads and intensity.  There should planned changes in one’s program and an initial assessment should be used in creating a program based one’s abilities and deficiencies.
Health Related Benefits from Resistance Training

  • Improved Cardiovascular Efficiency
  • Beneficial Endocrine and Serum Lipid Adaptations
  • Increased Lean Body Mass
  • Decreased Body Fat
  • Increased Metabolic Efficiency
  • Increased Tissue Tensile Strength
  • Increased Bone Density
  • Decreased Physiological Stress

Training Principles

There are several important resistance training principles. These principles include: overload, specificity, individualization and progression.

The Principle of Overload – This  principle  involves providing the appropriate training stimulus to elicit optimum physical, physiological, and performance adaptations. The overload can occur through manipulating the training volume (repetitions, sets), intensity, contraction velocity, muscle action,  rest interval, training frequency, plane of motion, exercise selection, and exercise order.

The Principle of Specificity- The degree of physical, physiological, and performance adaptation that occurs during exercise is strongly related to the mechanical specificity, neuromuscular specificity and metabolic specificity. Simply put, training adaptations are specific to the exercise stress or SAID  (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands).

The Principle of Individualization – When designing resistance training program, it is essential to  consider: age, general medical history, injury history, training background, work capacity, recoverability, structural integrity, and exercise goals.

The Principle of Progression –Exercise programs must be systematic, activity specific, and progressive,  to optimally create the appropriate training adaptation.
Systems of Resistance Training

Power lifters, Olympic lifters, and bodybuilders originally designed most resistance training programs. These training programs are popular because of marketing or “gym science,”” not because they scientifically demonstrate superiority over other programs.

Optimum gains in strength, neuromuscular efficiency, hypertrophy, and function,  are achieved by following a systematic, integrated training program and manipulating key training variables.

There are many training systems that are currently being utilized. Choosing which system to use should be based on your goals and desired adaptations.
Have you been resisting resistance training?  if so, it’s time to push (or pull) yourself to get the most out of your exercise.

(These weeks Blog adapted from the NASM Integrated Resistance Training Model)

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin