Strength and resistance training: fitness trainers answer the most Googled questions

Posted by for Life

What is the difference between strength and resistance training? Stylist Strong trainers have answered the most Googled strength and fitness questions. 

Earlier this year, the government released new guidelines which state that adults should be doing two resistance sessions a week. The benefit of this? Muscle strengthening exercises could help delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density that starts from around age 50, according to the findings. 

So, what exactly is resistance training? 

Government experts say you can achieve the same effect from carrying shopping, picking your kids up off the floor, or using machines at the gym. But it’s that last one which has proven to be a source of confusion for lots of people, because it begs the question: what’s the difference between strength and resistance training when it comes to working out at the gym?

Each week, three trainers from Stylist Strong, Stylist’s fitness brand that runs strength training classes focused on incorporating weights into fitness, answer some of the most asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. This time, they’re ending the confusion around what counts as strength and what counts as resistance training.

What is the difference between strength and resistance training?

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Resistance training could be mean using body weight, or a resistance band or anything where you’re pushing or pulling against something.Essentially, you’re resisting against something, and this could be body weight, a resistance band, a dumbbell. Strength training, on the other hand, is more about building strength and the time under tension – which means lower reps at (usually) a higher weight. It’s not actually that much different, but it’s about what your goals are.”

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Resistance training generally means that you’re building your muscles through using resistance, which can come from your own body weight, from free weights (like dumbbells), or from using machines. Whichever you choose, you’re using resistance to increase the strength of your muscles – and, while you’ll able to gain strength, it won’t be your main goal. And in that sense it ties into strength training. Strength training is where you are lifting heavy at low reps specifically training to get stronger. Whereas resistance training is where you’re going into a gym or a class and you’ll use free weights, machines or your own body to introduce resistance in your workout. You’ll able to gain strength, but it’s not your main goal. ”

What are the benefits to resistance training?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Resistance training improves your bone density. We lose muscles as we age, but if you are doing resistance training, you’ll be building more muscle in your body so the rate at which your muscle atrophy will slow. Generally, resistance training applies to everyday life. So it’s functional training. So you’ll see the direct benefits, ie lifting a box, knowing how to lift correctly and being strong enough to do it. It also has psychological benefits because you’re going to feel a lot more confident about yourself and your abilities, have a better quality of sleep, and be able to recover better.”

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“It depends. There is benefit to doing a body weight exercise, like planks, push ups and squats. And you can do higher reps with resistance exercises and therefore you build endurance up.” 

Should you do more strength or resistance training?

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Well I would always start with resistance training, because that could just be body weight. So you want to get your form right first, nail a bodyweight squat with perfect form. Then you add load and you could start to build strength. For some people a bodyweight squat is building strength because that’s difficult.”

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“I would say that this entirely depends on someone’s goals, because if your entire goal is strength you would focus on the programming around that. Someone else’s goal could be just to get into training with free weights. However, you can do both. You can have a couple of days a week where you’re focusing solely on your strength, and you will be lifting heavy for low reps. Then after a good recovery time you could have a day where you just focus on general resistance training.”

READY TO START WEIGHT TRAINING?

Stylist Strong is a fitness brand specialising in strength training specifically tailored for women. Our classes are designed to build both physical and mental strength in a smart and informed way.

So, whether you’re a beginner or already have strength-training experience, Stylist Strong has a class to suit you. Come and try our strength-based classes at our own purpose-built studio at The AllBright Mayfair.

Share this article