The benefits of resistance training and how to include it in your exercise plan
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Looking to build or maintain muscle mass? Learn about resistance training and the many other health benefits of including it in your exercise routine.
Resistance or strength training, also known as resistance exercise, increases muscular strength and endurance by exercising a muscle or muscle group against resistance. For example, you can use your own body weight to provide resistance by doing planks, pushups, or squats. You may also use equipment such as resistance bands, dumbbells, kettle balls, barbells, or weight machines.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that strength training be performed at least two non-consecutive days per week with 8-12 repetitions of 8-10 different exercises targeting all major muscle groups to receive the most consistent benefits.
While performing resistance training at least twice a week, you are likely to maintain or gain muscle mass by including a higher-protein intake. Muscle mass increases when the net protein balance is higher than broken-down muscle. For a healthy person without kidney disease, aiming for 1.2-1.7 grams per kg body weight is recommended. For example, a 170-pound (77.3 kg) person would aim for about 93-131 grams of protein per day. You may achieve such a protein intake with diet alone or may require supplements.
You'll find higher concentrations of protein in meat, poultry fish, dried beans and peas, tofu, eggs, yogurt, milk, cheese, nuts, and seeds. It is smart to include protein at breakfast as muscle turnover occurs overnight. It's also best to spread protein intake throughout the day for best absorption. Check out this expert article with key strategies for a high-protein diet and what a high-protein intake day might look like.
Resistance training is an integral part of a balanced and complete exercise program. Whether your goal is maintaining or building muscle, including resistance training to obtain the many benefits listed above, makes sense.
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