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Resistance Exercise: What Men Should Know

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Many men engage in resistance exercise to increase muscle strength and mass, to help with weight loss, and to improve overall appearance. One reason resistance training helps men reach these goals is that it stimulates the development of proteins found in muscle cells, which then improves the ability of muscles to perform.

To experience the benefits of resistance exercise, it’s important to understand the best ways to optimize your time at the gym so you can ensure you maintain optimal health and benefits from each workout session.

Resistance Exercise Training

Resistance training consists of any exercise that allows the muscles to contract against an outside resistance, such as weight machines, dumbbells or your own body weight. It is one of the top three exercises for men for prostate health. Among the most common and basic types of resistance exercises are pushups and weight lifting.

If you are serious or want to be serious about resistance training, one thing you want to know is how much rest you need to optimize the benefits of your activity. A study published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (January 2013) points out that although resistance training offers men a variety of benefits, there are some shortfalls if you don’t follow some specific practices. In particular, when resistance exercises are done with short rest, men can experience significant fatigue that has a negative impact on their technique and results.

At the University of Connecticut, researchers examined the impact of fatigue on 12 men who had at least six months of experience with resistance training. The study used body weight squats, which are highly tiring, to test fatigue.

The investigators noted there were “lasting residual effects on movement capabilities after a high-intensity short rest protocol,” including significant decreases in knee and hip flexion and hip adduction. If you are using resistance training and want to maximize your benefits, then you might want to discuss your workouts with a professional. The authors of the study explain that “strength and conditioning coaches must be careful to monitor movements and exercise techniques after such workout to prevent injury and optimize subsequent exercise protocols that might be sequenced in order.” [1]

Other Benefits Of Resistance Exercise

Resistance exercise can also provide other benefits, including better cardiovascular health, a reduction in body fat and an increase in metabolic rate. Since bone density is a concern for men as well as women, it’s good to know that resistance exercise has a positive impact on the level of bone minerals and can help in the fight against osteoporosis. In fact, a review published in Sports Medicine reported that “strength exercise seems to be a powerful stimulus to improve and maintain bone mass during the aging process.” [2]

Resistance Exercise For Older Men

One reason men engage in resistance training is to ward off the negative effects of aging. A new study looked at how effective that effort could be in both men and women. The elderly volunteers (average age 70) in the study engaged in resistance training three times a week for six months. The researchers used X-rays to measure factors contributing to strength and other health aspects both before and after the study was completed.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that muscle fiber size, leg lean mass and quadriceps area all increased. The participants also experienced an improvement in sit-to-stand time, along with better cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and glycemic control. These findings led the authors to note that a “generic resistance-type exercise training program can be applied for both women and men to effectively counteract the loss of muscle mass and strength with aging.” [3]

If you are already engaged in resistance exercise training, it’s wise to periodically review your program and discuss it with a professional trainer and your healthcare provider. If you are considering starting a resistance exercise program, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning and work with an exercise specialist to determine the best program for you.

For more information on men’s health, see prostate.net.

References

[1] Effects of resistance training fatigue on joint biomechanics.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23254489

[2] Effects of training on bone mass in older adults: a systematic review.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22376192

[3] Elderly men and women benefit equally from prolonged resistance-type exercise training. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23223011

Filed Under: Alternative MedicineEasy Health Digest™ExerciseMen’s Health

About the Author: Dr. Geo Espinosa is the Director of the Integrative Urology Center at New York University Langone Medical Center and the Chief Science Officer at Prostate Research Labs. Before joining NYU, Dr. Espinosa was a clinician, researcher and director of clinical trials at the Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia University Medical Center. He is a licensed naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Registered Herbalist. Dr. Espinosa is an author of the naturopathic entry in 1000 Cures for 200 Ailments (Harper Collins, March, 2007) and “Prostate Cancer — Nutrients that may slow its progression,” Food and Nutrients in Disease Management (Maryland: Cadmus Publishing, 2009). Dr. Espinosa also serves on the editorial board of the Natural Medicine Journal. Dr Geo is a frequent speaker at universities, medical schools and conferences on Integrative Health, nutrition and natural treatments for prostate disease. Read more on Dr. Geo.

Facebook Conversations

  • Donald byk

    Better gains could have been gotten by 3 to 5 exercises with heavy weights once a week and interval aerobics for twelve minutes. Dr. B

  • joe mcnally

    I’m 80 and have been working our 6 days a week, a little over an hour per session for the last 20 years alternating between weights, kettlebells and a little cardio. I feel fine and not over-trained and can’t get myself to slow down. Am I killing myself? I carry 165 lbs. on my 6’1″ frame, eat five times a day, get 7 hours interrupted sleep (prostate cancer and radiation therapy) three peepee calls per night and have a pacemaker installed (very low brood pressure). I’m now thinking of going into RIP or TRX routines. What’s your advice? By the way, I always have two shots of tequila every day with a water and lime juice chaser.