Resistance training: Why it’s not just for bodybuilders


Resistance training or strength training is a vital component of staying fit and active however it can be overlooked or not prioritised. Many may think that it is solely for the young or the gym goers. However, at the White House Clinic, we believe resistance training is beneficial for everyone.

Resistance training requires our muscles to contract against some form of resistance, therefore challenging our muscles in order to see positive gains. The benefits of this type of exercise are extensive and include:

  • Increased strength

Allowing some to perform incredible feats like marathons and triathlons whilst allowing others to continue to climb the stairs or carry their shopping.

  • Protects bone density

Exerting mechanical load on the bone causes it to regenerate, producing more bone cells and leading to an increase in bone strength.

  • Improved mental health

Resistance training has been linked to decreasing depression and anxiety whilst increasing energy levels.

  • Fat burn and muscle increase

Evidence has shown that resistance training alongside diet is the most effective way to reduce fat mass and resistance training alone is effective in building muscle mass. (Miller et al, 2018)

  • Improved heart health

Including reducing blood pressure and positively impacting cholesterol levels.

  • Positively impacts joint health

Through the alteration to bone density alongside stronger muscles to support the joint, strength training can greatly reduce pain linked to arthritic joints.

  • Reduces the risk of injury

All of the above surmount protecting your body from easily being injured, meaning you can lead a confident and active lifestyle.

Use it or lose it!

This is a common phrase for a reason, as we get older it is a fact that we slowly get weaker. This is due to a process called sarcopenia - the age-related decline of muscle mass and strength. Sarcopenia is most likely to occur in older adults, however can affect middle aged people also. It causes weakness, fatigue, reduction in energy and difficulties standing, walking, climbing the stairs. The good news is that we can do something about this process if we start to incorporate resistance training into our weekly routine.

What are the different types of resistance based training?

Strength/ resistance training includes use of machines, free weights, bands or simply exercises against our own body weight. We can progress from starting resistance training solely against our body weight and then perform the same exercises using a weight or a resistance band.

Find out more about the use of a Theraband in resistance training in one of our other articles here -  A Physiotherapist’s Guide to Therabands

Examples of resistance training exercises

Below are some good examples of resistance training exercises. However, if you would like to discuss how you can safely start resistance training and have a bespoke program put together for you, book an appointment today at the White House Clinic.

Wall press up

  • Standing slightly away from a wall, feet about shoulder width apart, hands on the wall. Slowly lower yourself towards the wall, keeping your elbows in.
  • Progression: High table top surface press up.


  • Standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, bend your knees keeping your back flat. Ensure your knees do not move in front of your toes. Push through the floor to return to the start.
  • Progression: Weighted squat.


  • Standing with your feet hip width apart, arms relaxed by your thighs with a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge forwards at your hips, keeping your back flat, slowly lower the weight along your shins. Engaging your core and squeezing your glutes, push through your heels to stand up straight and return to the start.
  • Progression: Increase the weight used.


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Lift your bottom into the air and push through your heels, until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knee. Hold for a second and then slowly lower your hips to return to the start.
  • Progression: Weighted bridge – holding a dumbbell in each hand resting the weight on your hip bones.

Bent over row

  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides. With your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips, pushing your bottom back. Bend your knees and make sure you don’t round your shoulders. Gaze at the ground a few inches in front of your feet to keep your neck in a comfortable, neutral position. Perform a row by pulling the weights up toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body, and squeezing your shoulder blades for 2 seconds at the top of the movement. Your elbows should go past your back as you bring the weight toward your chest. Slowly lower the weights by extending your arms toward the floor to the start.
  • Progression: Increase the weight used.


Todd Miller, Stephanie Mull, Alan Albert Aragon, James Krieger, Brad Jon Schoenfeld (2018); Resistance Training Combined With Diet Decreases Body Fat While Preserving Lean Mass Independent of Resting Metabolic Rate: A Randomized Trial.

Emily Leakey

Senior MSK Physiotherapist

Originally from Hertfordshire, Emily qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2015 having completed a MSc Physiotherapy degree at Brunel University, London. Prior to this she gained a degree in Human Physiology from the University of Leeds.

Emily Leakey

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