Last week I discussed the reasons why regular resistance training is an obvious addition to almost any fitness plan.
Which is true.
But you can get too much of a good thing.
Resistance training, like any other form of intense exercise, is stressful on our body. In the right dose and with adequate recovery it’s a positive stress. Our body adapts to the demands of the exercise and we become fitter and stronger.
In the wrong dose and with insufficient recovery it can quickly spiral into a negative stress. Our energy levels plummet, our muscles complain and our joints ache.
Beyond the problem of too much, too often there are several other pitfalls to be wary of when incorporating resistance training into a fitness plan.
The human body is capable of many different movements not all of which make sense to use as strength and conditioning exercises. By choosing exercises which safely and effectively add horsepower to our muscles whilst filtering out those that don’t we can enjoy greater long-term success with our training efforts. Just because an exercise works well for one person does not mean it will work well for everyone. Our unique blend of biomechanics, mobility levels, training history and battle scars ensure this is the case.
To be sustainable resistance exercises need to be performed in a joint-friendly manner. Like a website which breaks down under the load of too much traffic our exercise technique can easily break down under the load of too much resistance. By easing into a new exercise and working on technique before intensity we can set the foundation for greater long-term success.
Excessive strengthening of certain muscles coupled with the utter neglect of other muscles can lead to imbalances, poor posture and heightened injury potential over time. One popular manifestation is Mirror Muscle Syndrome where excessive time is devoted to training the parts of the body we can see in the mirror at the expense of those we can't. By including a variety of movement patterns into our weekly plan we can avoid this pitfall. Lower body, hips, push, pull and torso categories provide a good place to start.
As suggested last week regular resistance training is an important tool for those of us who want to look, feel and perform better. Just stay mindful of exercise frequency, selection, technique and balance to ensure it remains a positive asset over the long-haul.