If you want to lose weight faster and keep burning kilojoules for longer then it’s time to add resistance exercises to your weekly routine, according to CSIRO scientists.
They have found that regular resistance training combined with a higher protein diet led to greater fat loss and smaller waist lines than diet alone.
Three sessions of resistance training – be it squats, lunges, dumbbell exercises, even carrying groceries – a week seemed to do the trick.
That’s because the after-burn created by resistance exercise – scientifically known as “oxygen debt” or “post-exercise oxygen consumption” – is working hard to burn kilojoules long after your workout has ended. Higher intensity workouts tend to increase this after-burn effect while you’re resting.
Free resistance training guide with images below
Resistance exercise has other health benefits too. CSIRO principal research scientist Professor Grant Brinkworth said it could help prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, Type II diabetes and heart disease.
“While resistance exercise is beneficial at any age, it becomes even more important as we get older and experience muscle loss associated with ageing,” he said.
“If you’re in your 30s or 40s and not doing resistance exercise, establishing the habit now can provide many lifelong health benefits.”
With millions of Australians living with two or more chronic diseases, it’s even more important that people prioritise exercise at any age, Professor Brinkworth said.
According to a survey of more than 5600 CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet subscribers, released last Monday, only 50 per cent of adults did some form of resistance exercise each week.
Lack of time due to family commitments and not wanting to go to the gym were the top two reasons for shunning the muscle-strengthening activity.
But Professor Brinkworth said, contrary to popular belief, many types of resistance exercises can be done at home, with no equipment. Lifting and carrying groceries, or gardening, were just some examples.
“Resistance training involves working your muscles against some form of weight or force, such as your own body weight,” he said.
“It increases muscle strength and plays a key role in body composition changes important for weight management, particularly for women, who lose proportionately more lean muscle tissue than men when losing weight.”
What are resistance exercises?
Resistance exercise is any activity that involves pushing, pulling or lifting so that the muscles work against some form of resistance.
There are lots of ways to incorporate resistance training, such as by using your own bodyweight, hand-held weights or resistance-based equipment, for example, rowing machines.
Common bodyweight exercises include pushups, squats or lunges. Yoga and Pilates, with or without a resistance band, are also great ways to add some strength-based exercises into your week.
How to do resistance exercise at home
The following workout is from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which includes three resistance workouts a week.
Be sure to consult your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.
- Start with 15-20 squat repetitions, then rest;
- Move on to do 15-20 push ups (begin with knee push ups if this is a new activity for you);
- Glute bridges, 15-20 repetitions. Be sure to squeeze your glutes, brace your core, and breathe with each movement;
- Finish off with arm circles for 60 seconds.