In my first article for Labrada Nutrition, I’ll be delving into different types of popular training methodologies including resistance training and CrossFit and a brief history of how resistance training came to be.
When you hear the term resistance training, there’s the assumption that this is a relatively recent concept, however people tend to forget that this dates as far back to the days of the ancient greeks around 510BC.
The story goes that it all started when a legendary wrestler by the name of Milo carried a calf on his shoulders each and every day until it had become fully grown.
Throughout the centuries, it’s development moved on with the introduction of dumbbells and barbells through to Charles Atlas’ strength training and isometric exercise back in the 1930’s.
Exercise machines had then come into the fray during the 1960’s, by the 1980’s many bodybuilders/weight-lifters were then using strength training as part of their workouts.
So, you may ask, what defines Resistance Training? Resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, mass, and/or endurance.
The external resistance can be dumbbells, rubber exercise tubing, your own body weight, bricks, bottles of water, or any other object that causes the muscles to contract.
There are several styles of resistance exercise:—
1. Olympic lifting: this is where athletes lift the weight overhead like you see in the Olympics.
2. Power lifting: this is where athletes perform the squat, dead lift, and bench press.
3. Weight training: this is where athletes lift weights with the specific goal of inducing hypertrophy. Typically , when you lift weights at the gym to get stronger or bigger or more toned, you are performing resistance exercise.
Occasionally you will hear the term “strength training” associated with lifting weights.
Technically, it’s incorrect to refer to resistance exercise as strength training, instead, strength training would more accurately be described as resistance exercise that builds strength.
In this article, the term resistance exercise will refer to the general type of weight lifting that you do in the gym to get bigger, stronger, more toned, or to increase your muscular endurance.
As I referred earlier in the article, many centuries back, hunter-gatherer societies, humans’ muscles got a workout by building shelter, hunting, farming, and all the other manual chores necessary to live.
However, in today’s ever changing world we have engineered inactivity into our lives with labour-saving devices to the extent that our muscles rarely need to be pushed very hard.
We don’t rake leaves or cut grass or shovel snow by hand, we don’t use the stairs or even walk in airports, people movers do it for us! We don’t wash our clothes or our dishes or even push a vacuum by hand!
Research has recently shown, over the last few decades that physical inactivity is the second most preventable cause of death, and that is a frightening thought.
Resistance training works by causing microscopic damage or tears to the muscle cells, which in turn are quickly repaired by the body to help the muscles regenerate and grow stronger, with muscles, insulin-like growth factor, testosterone, protein, growth hormones, and other nutrients rush to the muscle after a resistance-exercise session to help repair the muscles to make them stronger.
Importantly, your muscles heal and grow when you aren’t working out, and so that’s why it’s necessary to leave time between workouts for recovery.
Personally, having come from a military background I have been brought up with resistance training and I still use it consistently within my own workouts and my clients .
Recently, there has been the emergence of CrossFit. CrossFit while relatively recent, at it’s core, has always been around.
We used to call it functional training. The popular curve right now seems to be seeing more and more people move to functional training solutions whereby resistance training is a part of the workout but not the sole focus.
CrossFit and Resistance Training such as TRX etc each provides a hardcore, full-on workout which will push the human body to it’s maximum levels of performance.
Take a look at the World’s Strongest Man, when it was first introduced back in the 1970’s, you had a variety of strength athletes, but also the likes of competing bodybuilders such as Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu.
Whilst the format is very much designed on pure physical strength, the athletes who now compete have to develop their cardiovascular base to extraordinary levels.
The likes of your Geoff Capes, Bill Kazmaier’s, and your Magnus Samuelsson’s would find it a struggle to keep up with today’s strength athletes such as Brian Shaw, Zydrunas Savickas, and the legend Mariusz Pudzianowski who compete in today’s competition, it is very much a powerlifters equivilent of Cross-Fit!!
If I was to describe Cross-Fit, it would be Circuit Training with an attitude, exercises utilising every muscle group humanly possible whilst performing higher than normal repetitions.
The physical demands on the human body sends the heart rate well into the maximum heart rate and demands the athlete to fight through the pain barrier and beyond, then it becomes purely mental conditioning that will see you through.
So finally to conclude, Resistance Training has come a long way since it’s birth all those centuries back, and the emergence of Cross-Fit has ensured that it will go on for many years to come.
The sheer thrill of performing pull ups using the TRX draped over a tree branch over a normal pull up bar gives me a sheer buzz over the conventional methods any day of the week, the deltoids, pectorals, lats, forearms, biceps and triceps each gets a severe working out.
So looking at it from a professionals point of view, whilst Cross-Fit is an excellent training programme, the older athletes have to be extra careful as the exercises and high reps can lead to serious injuries.
Caution has to be applied upon every element, at least with resistance training you are firmly in charge of your own body at all times, to sum it all up, traditional weight resistance training combined with stretching, core and balance work also must be performed correctly but is more forgiving than cross-fit, then again that is my personal opinion.
Whichever option you go for, the same principles apply and that is to train safely, think about your breathing and technique, and last and not least, weight resistance training, combined with flexibility, core, balance, and cardio work, is never going to disappear within the world of fitness training, that is guaranteed!
About the Author
Ged Musto is well known within the world of Stamina and Endurance, he is a multi record holder with none other than 4 World Records and 7 British Records to his name. These include the One Hour Sit-Ups set in 1999 of which he still holds the record of 2,908 and 2,467 Full Press-Ups in One Hour set in 1995.
Ged’s career within fitness goes back as far as the mid 1980’s when serving with British Airborne and Special Forces, within a few years he was serving as a Physical Training Instructor.
He represented the forces in various sports, and Athletics and has run alongside the then World Marathon Record Holder Steve Jones, as well as the legend Steve Ovett.
Amongst Ged’s Personal Bests includes 4:00 for the mile, a 1:05 Half Marathon and 2:28 Marathon achieved at Berlin.
Ged has also worked as a Bodyguard to high profile dignitaries and is also an accomplished Martial Artist.
Ged is one of the very top in his field in the UK, and has also been named as one of the top 10 PT’s none other than three times in nearly 20 years by the governing body within the Fitness Industry.
Amongst some of his prestigious clients Ged can boast a very impressive client portfolio, over the years he has personal trained the likes of Hugh Grant, Robert Plant, Lenny Henry, Monty Don and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer.
Visit Ged Musto’s website at: http://www.gedmusto.org.