Free Weights

These are the classical barbells, dumbbells and circular weights. They may include other equipment but the feature is that they are not connected to walls or machines that alter resistance and force.

Pin Loaded Machines

Working on the lever and cable techniques, this allows easy change of resistance without the need of reloading training equipment. All the weights are connected to the machine, the user only needs to move the pin to the appropriate position on the weight.


Isokenetic machines called ergometers exert a force equal to that provided by the trainer. Machines such as Cybex work in this manner.

More advanced body builders and resistance trainers will tend to use only free weights. Machines tend to be used more by introductory levels as they help control movement a lot better. Once the movement and technique are correctly learnt, most resistance people will move to mainly or even solely free weights.

Resistance training program components:

When looking at resistance training us as fitness instructors need to ask the following questions.

  • Which muscle groups need to be trained?   Consider specific muscles, joint angles, contraction mode and resistance/loading needs.
  • What are the basic energy sources?   ATP-PC source, lactic acid source, oxygen source.
  • What type of muscle action should be used?   Consider explosive, slow and controlled, half repetitions.
  • What are the primary sites for injury for the particular sport?   Netball - may have knee and ankle concerns;   Swimming – shoulders

The overload principle is the basis for all exercise training programs. For a muscle to increase in strength, the workload to which it is subjected during exercise must be increased beyond what it normally experiences. In other words, the muscle must be overloaded. Muscles adapt to increased workloads by becoming larger and stronger and by developing greater endurance.

Types of activity: 

Aerobic conditioning:

  • Exercise bike
  • Treadmill
  • Stair climber
  • Rowing ergometer
  • Cross country ski simulator
  • Power walking
  • Exercise to music classes
  • Pool

Resistance training:

  • Free weights - Dumbbells and Barbells,
  • Pin Loaded Equipment - Universal and Super Circuit

Some of the common guidelines for someone starting resistance guide lines are listed below.

  • It is good to have a physical exam completed to make sure that the client is in good physical shape.  
  • Make sure what the clients background in exercise and resistance training.
  • Analyse the client’s needs and what they want to get out of training.
  • Check their muscle balance.
  • Note the specificity of training that fits for the client.
  • What is the client’s body type?

Misconceptions about training
One of the most popular misconceptions is that you will lose weight solely by dieting and performing cardiovascular exercises such as, running, walking and biking. Quite often people spend 40 minutes to an hour and a half, running, walking, striding, biking and believe that they are going to lose weight. A major part of weight loss is having a proper integrated program of light cardiovascular exercises, resistance weight training and a healthy balanced way of eating."

Getting your body into shape is more than just burning calories. The body is a complex machine that needs the proper fuel in order to function efficiently.  Taking the right vitamins and eating a healthy balanced diet is an easy way to ensure that the body receives the macro and micronutrients it needs such as protein and flax seed oil.

Fad diets will not produce healthy results because they deprive the body of certain nutrients that your body needs. Some weight loss or metabolism increasing supplements cause the heart rate to rise to an extreme number of beats per minute causing fatal injuries if not followed directly. A healthy balanced way of eating regulates blood sugar, offsets diabetes, lowers insulin spike hence a healthier homeostasis state.

Resistance training, which is any functional strength training exercise will tone and develop muscles. Muscle in turn burns fat. Unfortunately most people associate weight training with body builders or young athletics.  Women in particular do not take advantage of the benefits of resistance or strength training because they feel that they are just going to get big and bulky.  Women will not get as bulky as men – they do not have the body physiology for it.

Resistance training also helps relieve stress and muscle tension, lengthens muscles for a more toned body, and supports better posture, which in turn reduces heart attacks, clustered migraines and osteoporosis.

The Major muscle groups in training
When selecting exercises for your strength routine, it’s important to choose at least one exercise for each major muscle group. This prevents muscle imbalances that can lead to injury. Let’s take a look at the major muscle groups and a few of the exercises that target them:

• Gluteus – This group of muscles (often referred to as ‘glutes’) includes the gluteus maximus, which is the big muscle covering your backside. Common exercises are the squat and the leg press machine. The gluteus muscle group also come into play during lunges, tall box step ups, and plyometric jumps.

• Quadriceps – This group of muscles makes up the front of the thigh. Exercises include squats, lunges, leg extension machine, and leg press machine.

 Hamstrings – These muscles make up the back of the thigh. Exercises include squats, lunges, leg press machine, and leg curl machine

• Hip abductors and adductors – These are the muscles of the inner and outer thigh. The abductors are on the outside and move the leg away from the body. The adductors are on the inside and pull the leg across the centreline of the body. These muscles can be worked with a variety of side-lying leg lifts, standing cable pulls, and multi-hip machines.

• Calf – The calf muscles are on the back or the lower leg. They include the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is what gives the calf its strong rounded shape. The soleus is a flat muscle running under the gastrocnemius. Standing calf raises give the gastrocnemius a good workout, while seated or bent knee calf raises place special emphasis on the soleus. These small muscles can handle a relatively large amount of weight.

• Low back – The erector spinae muscles extend the back and aid in good posture. Exercises include the back extension machine and prone back extension exercises. These muscles also come into play during the squat and dead lift.

 Abdominals – These muscles include the rectus abdominus, a large flat muscle running the length of the abdomen, and the external obliques, which run down the sides and front of the abdomen. Exercises such as standard crunches and curls target the rectus abdominus. Reverse curls and crunches (where the hips are lifted instead of the head and shoulders) target the lower portion of this muscle. Crunches involving a rotation or twist work the external obliques.

• Pectoralis major – Large fan shaped muscle that covers the front of the upper chest. Exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, regular and incline bench press, and the pec deck machine.

• Rhomboids – Muscles in the middle of the upper back between the shoulder blades. They’re worked during chin-ups, dumbbell bent rows, and other moves that bring the shoulder blades together.

• Trapezius – Upper portion of the back, sometimes referred to as ‘traps.’ The upper trapezius is the muscle running from the back of the neck to the shoulder. Exercises include upright rows, and shoulder shrugs with resistance.

• Latissimus dorsi – Large muscles of the mid-back. When properly trained they give the back a nice V shape, making the waist appear smaller. Exercises include pull-ups, chin-ups; one arm bent rows, dips on parallel bars, and the lat pull-down machine.

• Deltoids – The cap of the shoulder. This muscle has three parts, anterior deltoid (the front), medial deltoid (the middle), and posterior deltoid (the rear). Different movements target the different heads. The anterior deltoid is worked with push-ups, bench press, and front dumbbell raises. Standing lateral (side) dumbbell raises target the medial deltoid. Rear dumbbell raises (done while seated and bent at the waist, or lying face down on a flat bench) target the posterior deltoid.

• Biceps – The front of the upper arm. The best moves are biceps curls. They can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, or a machine. Other pulling movements like chin-ups and upright rows also involve the biceps.

 Triceps – The back of the upper arm. Exercises include pushing movements like push-ups, dips, triceps extensions, triceps kick-backs, and overhead (French) presses. The triceps also come into play during the bench press and military press.

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