Resistance Training Vs Strength Training

Resistance training and strength training sounds quite similar to each other. I do accept it. But there is some difference between the two. The word “RESISTANCE” and “STRENGTH” used along with training differs from each other.

The word ‘resistance’ refers to the force which acts against your body, and the word ‘strength’ is the result of such force applied through resistance training.

Resistance training is the action/method used for a workout, whereas strength training is the purpose we intend to accomplish through resistance training.

I hope you got some hints about both types of training through the above explanation. Don’t worry if you are yet to grasp the idea entirely.

Here I am going to explain the head on differences between the two, starting from the definitions to the procedure, implications, commitments, financing, etc. concerning both types of training.

I will also provide some knowledge about which kind of training will work best for you and what we need to do to get the best results from both types of training.

So, what is the difference between resistance and strength training? The resistance training refers to the mere use of any source of resistance that may act against the body during workouts. The idea behind this training is to challenge the muscles with some sort of resistance to grow them. The resistance can be provided by the resistance bands, medicine balls, ropes, and even bodyweight. The strength training refers to the goal behind resistance training, which is building strength in a time-bound manner. The strength training is about achieving a definite fitness goal by strictly following a well-thought workout plan. The strength training is harder to follow due to the higher intensity, lower repetitions, and disciplined lifestyle.

Let us understand the whole concept behind the logically similar training types and assist you in analyzing what kind of training you have already been doing.

Here is the index of what you are going to learn by the end of this article

  1.   Definition of resistance training vs. strength training
  2.  Kind of equipment needed for resistance training and strength training
3.  Coaching needs for resistance training and strength training
4.   Which is cheaper: resistance training vs. strength training
5.   Which is the best place for resistance training and strength training
6.  Frequency and duration of training
7.  Commitment required for resistance training vs. strength training
8.  Kind of results we can expect from resistance training and strength training
9.   Weight loss with resistance training and strength training
10.   Who needs resistance training and strength training?
11.   Can I do resistance training and strength training together
12.  Risks associated with resistance training vs. strength training
13.   Analyze your self – Are you doing resistance training or strength training
14.   Which is better for you – resistance training or weight training?
15.   Final opinion

Let’s begin-

❝ Hi, I am Ravi, your companion and a passionate fitness athlete, cyclist, runner, gym enthusiast who just loves the concept of resistance bands for their extreme flexibility. I have been using resistance bands as one of my primary fitness equipment for the last many years ❞

1. Definition of resistance training vs. strength training –

Resistance Training

Resistance training refers to the workout routines where we make our bodywork against some sort of resistance. The resistance can be anything and everything you have in your house, park, or in the gym.

Strength Training

The strength training refers to the training in which we make our bodywork against the resistance in a manner to achieve more significant muscle gains and a dream fitness in a definite period. The resistance here can also be anything from household objects to a piece of more aggressive and professional gym equipment.

Confused between the definitions! That’s obvious. They both are similar yet different slightly in purpose, intensity, and dedication. Have patience and follow me as I explain more about these terms in the next few paragraphs.

2. Kind of equipment needed for resistance training and strength training –

Resistance Training

The resistance training is extremely flexible to do that anybody and everybody can do it. For doing resistance training, we don’t need any special equipment. The tiles, bricks, furniture, balls can be used to provide resistance to the muscles to grow them.

If you find such objects way too light for providing any resistance, the bodyweight is one of the cheapest and most abundant sources of resistance anybody can use. Just in case, you are tight on budget, the resistance bands, TRX suspension straps, medicine balls, jump rope, and kettlebells are some options available.

The resistance bands are the most recommended equipment which can provide wholesome training for a complete body without biting your wallet.

Here are the affordable and unparalleled resistance bands provided here at Unique Addict Store.

📑 If you are unfamiliar with resistance bands, I would suggest you take some time to read this article I made in complete detail – Benefits of Resistance Bands – With Unique Visual Insights

Strength Training

Similar to the resistance training, the strength training also requires some resistance against which the body needs to be worked. This resistance can also be provided by resistance bands, dumbbells, barbells, etc.

However, the amount of resistance required for gaining muscle mass is comparatively high. That means, a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells kept on the terrace of the house shall not be enough. Though, bodyweight exercises such as the calisthenics may take you to some levels. However, such resistance may not be enough for strength training.

To be precise, if you prefer resistance bands, the power loop resistance bands of multiple colors and resistance levels shall be required to provide progressive resistance to keep challenging the muscles to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

📑 If you don’t understand why I recommended power loop resistance bands, do bookmark this article for later reading – How to Choose a Resistance Band-Ultimate Visual Guide You Need

If you prefer dumbbells, the dumbbells ranging from 10 kg onwards to at least 50kg shall be required.

3. Coaching needs for resistance training and strength training –

Resistance Training

The resistance training is just casual training using body weight or some other training equipment, and it can also be done with the assistance of a coach. Coaching may not be required at all if you are somewhat familiar with the technique for performing exercises and diet requirements for the resistance training.

➤ If you observe the guys and gals doing workouts, the instructors may be seen guiding them to perform the exercises in the correct ways. Such kinds of coaching where the instructors/ coaches are providing superficial support to the trainee are usually meant for resistance training.

Strength Training

The strength training, on the other hand, requires a more aggressive type of coaching. That means the role of coaches and trainers go much deeper into the training programs. Such coaches design the workout programs, intensity, repetitions, rotation of exercises, and much more. They also keep track of the weights and diet.

➤ Because the strength training is done for a specific purpose with time-bound goals in mind, the coaches’ role becomes much more crucial. In short, the athletes require a dedicated coach to accompany him/her round the clock.

4. Which is cheaper: resistance training vs. strength training –

Resistance Training

The resistance training has no specific requirements concerning the equipment and can be done by yourself or with shared coaching as provided to the general members of the gym. Such styles of resistance training are way cheaper.

Strength Training

On the other hand, strength training can’t be achieved without an experienced coach’s expert guidance. Further, the progressive resistance to feed the ever-growing muscles is a crucial aspect for getting results with the strength training.

Such a kind of coaching and equipment comes at a cost. Further, a healthy and protein-rich diet also cost substantial amounts of money.

In a nutshell, strength training isn’t a cup of tea for everybody, and everybody may not need strength training.

5. Which is the best place for resistance training and strength training –

Resistance Training

The resistance training doesn’t need to be performed inside the gym. It can be done anywhere as long as you can provide a certain amount of resistance to the working muscles. The place can be a park, terrace, room, and even an expensive gym floor.

Strength Training

The strength training, in contrast, requires more serious effort, and as such, lifting heavy resistance bands and dumbbells is a must for it. In my opinion, such kind of training may not be convenient to be performed at least in some corner of the room or on the terrace.

The workout place needs to be completely flat and spacious to accommodate the impact of the heavy lifting and high-intensity movements of the exercises during strength training.

6. Frequency and duration of training –

Resistance Training

The resistance training can be performed two to three times per week for visible gains as per scientific evidence available for general fitness. The duration of resistance workout sessions should be anywhere between 30 to 40 minutes.

During a set of any exercise, we should aim for 8 to 12 repetitions per set with intensity levels of 60 percent of the 1 RPM (one repetition maximum).

Strength Training

Whereas, in the case of strength training, it is suggested to keep the weekly frequency of workouts between 4 to 6 days per week. More advanced athletes preparing for competitive games also go for two workout sessions per day with adequate rest between the sessions.

That means, if one workout session is performed in the morning, then the second session must be completed in the evening.  The workout session can be in the range of 50 minutes to as long as 120 minutes at a stretch.

When it comes to no. of repetitions to be performed per set, it should be between 6 to 10 repetitions with intensity levels of 80 to 90 percent of 1 RPM maximum.

👉 Pro-Tip –

In the case of resistance training, the rest interval between each set of exercises should be between 20 to 30 seconds. Whereas, in the case of strength training, it can be in the range of 30 seconds and 2 minutes. A massive difference in the rest intervals of resistance and strength training is due to the difference in the intensity.

The higher intensity levels of strength training demand additional times for the body to recover between each set of the exercise which can exceed easily up to 120 seconds when the intensity levels of workouts go up to 90 percent of 1 RPM max.

7. Commitment required for resistance training vs. strength training –

The commitment is the key in every field to achieve success. Even if I am writing this article without committing to doing it on consistent levels, nobody can be expected to revisit

Similarly, the dedication and commitment also play an essential role in resistance and strength training. However, the level of involvement varies widely between resistance and strength training.

Resistance Training

The resistance training can easily be performed 2 to 3 times a week with casual jogging/running/games on the balance days. Such kinds of training are fun to do. We don’t need to limit ourselves to the specific days for resistance training.

Up to 3 days of resistance training sessions can be performed on alternate days. It can also be performed on subsequent days if you are busy on any designated day.

➤ Such a light and enjoyable training doesn’t need higher commitment and is more likely to be sustainable for many years to come.

Strength Training

The strength training, on the other hand, needs to be performed at least 4 to 5 days a week with one day fixed for a recovery workout, including stretching and yoga. As such, there is little room left for adjustment of the training days if you are unable to perform strength training on any given day.

➤ As above, strength training requires determination and unparalleled commitment to follow it. Such a motivation to do a similar routines day after days without any room for alternate options can’t be developed without any specific goals in mind.

👉 My Experience –

During my running days, I was more disciplined in doing my endurance training when I used to perform half marathons. The levels of commitment were so high that if I could not do my running workout on any given day, I would find myself running late in the chilling night alone.

Such kinds of motivation I found because of the specific target I had fixed for myself, which I had further broken down into weekly and daily goals. Such a level of specificity makes athletes accountable.

It is the reason; I always recommend people to set some targets in a time-bound manner no matter what kind of training they are pursuing. Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to continue your training for a much longer time.

📑 Read this fantastic story based on my real life, I wrote, with some fantastic lessons for you to learn from my mistakes – Four Lessons to learn from my silly sports mistakes – Don’t Repeat

8. Kind of results we can expect from resistance training and strength training –

As said earlier, resistance training is the light version of the strength training, which doesn’t put tons of load on your body and mind.

The famous saying ‘No pain no gains’ also applies in case of the resistance training. If you are the one doing resistance training with the limited training equipment, it is illogical to expect a lean body with bulging biceps and six-pack abs. That also doesn’t mean that resistance training is not useful for you.

Resistance training has been medically proven to provide numerous benefits. Some of them are as under –

  1. Lower blood pressure.
  2. Toned muscles
  3. Increased bone density
  4. Lower sugar levels
  5. Improved joints functionality
  6. Improved mood and energy levels
  7. Increased immunity to diseases

All the above benefits mean that resistance training can provide all the benefits that any individual needs in his/her life.

The strength training, in addition to the benefits of the resistance training, provides muscularity and improves the cardiovascular endurance of an athlete. As such, strength training improves their sports performance and reflexes to the point where they can stay at the top of their game.

👌 FACT –

The strength training though, looks way better than resistance training. However, just ponder over the gains associated with this kind of training. Do you need such benefits? How can such performance-oriented gains bring changes in your life? An athlete needs such aggressive training to survive in the competitive tournaments like Olympics, commonwealth games, world bodybuilding championships.

It is the reason that most of the athletes, after they retire from the professional career, are not able to maintain their fitness levels. There is nothing wrong with losing such fitness. The muscularity gained from strength training doesn’t have any real benefits except showcasing it on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels.

9. Weight loss with resistance training and strength training –

Both resistance and strength training can provide decent weight loss benefits, similar to cardiovascular exercises. The muscles developed by the resistance and strength training needs the energy to maintain them. Any physical training is known to increase BMR (basal metabolic rate). Increased metabolic rate means that the body can burn a higher number of calories round the clock.

📑 Read this fantastic article I made explaining all myths around metabolic rate by breaking it down into sub-categories – What Actually Basal Metabolic Rate Means? – A Quick Answer With Facts

However, the benefits of increased metabolic rates may not be sufficient if you do not follow a healthy diet plan.

10. Who needs resistance training and strength training?

Resistance Training

The resistance training is for the people who do not follow a fitness regime as a means of survival and part of a career. It does not make sense to train madly for no purpose. Further, not everybody can afford to buy premium coaching and supplements.

Strength Training

The strength training is meant for pro athletes, supermodels, wrestlers, bodybuilders, etc. I strictly advise people not to go for strength training if they can’t afford coaches with some credible records. As doing high-intensity training without guidance is the open invitation to the injuries.

11. Can I do resistance training and strength training together –

When you are just starting with fitness, it is always advised to begin with resistance training. It is not the time to focus on results. During the initial phase of training, an individual should focus on learning the technique, posture, and implications of different exercises. The proportion of strength training can be increased once you understand the basics of fitness with two to three years of experience.

Even when you are actively engaged in strength training, it is recommended to start each workout session with some resistance exercises to warm up the body before the main workout to prevent injuries.

Further, It is always advisable to give the body time to recover on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis for serious athletes. That means the strength training needs to be performed in seasons where the resistance training can be performed during the offseason.

The resistance training can also be included in the strength training routines every month. The fourth week, after every three weeks of intensive strength workout, can be assigned for recovery. In the last week, the intensity and frequency of exercises can be reduced significantly. In other terms, every fourth week of a month can be used for doing resistance training.

➤ From the above, it can be summarized that resistance and strength training can be used together. It is not optional but mandatory to plan the proportions of resistance and strength training in an athlete’s workout regime to build muscle mass without getting a chance for saying “HELLO” to the injuries.

12. Risks associated with resistance training vs. strength training –

Resistance Training

Resistance training doesn’t require specific skills, to begin with. Just read some books or watch youtube videos, and you are good to go. There are numerous free resources available online to understand the nuisance of resistance training.

The risks associated with resistance training are relatively low due to the lower quantum of workouts every week. Lower intensity levels of exercises decrease the chances of injuries.

➤ That doesn’t mean that we can wholeheartedly go for resistance training at home without any guidance. I always advise the beginners to join a nearby gym for the first few months and learn from the general instructors as much as possible.

Strength Training

The strength training, on the other hand, puts loads of pressure over the muscles and the joints. The rigorous training creates imbalances in the body. The active recovery, right technique & sequence of exercises takes utmost importance in the strength training.

➤ You should be clear about the time when you need to start lowering the load. Further, injuries are an inherent part of strength training. An athlete has to learn to deal with the injuries emotionally and physically. Even a tiny bruise can soon turn into a career-threatening nightmare.

The right coaching and consultation become even more critical with strength training.

13. Analyze your self – Are you doing resistance training or strength training.

From the discussion to this point, I am sure you shall be quite clear about the training you have been doing. If you have not planned for yearly, monthly, and weekly goals and are not clear about when to increase the frequency and intensity of exercises, you probably are doing resistance training.

If you don’t have access to a large variety of weights to enable you to do progressive training, the results won’t be what you might have expected.

Most of the readers reading this article must have been doing resistance training, and you should be proud of that. If you are now considering switching over to the strength training on your own. I would advise against switching.

However, if you are filled with killer motivation and believe that you are capable of doing the hard work, I would suggest you spend the first few months reading the online resources and horn your skills. If possible, do take online courses on professional bodybuilding.

Udemy is one such platform where you can join advanced strength training courses from few dollars onwards. Practicing strength training right away with little knowledge won’t take you anywhere except some severe injuries to muscles, tendons, and joints.

14. Which is better for you – resistance training or weight training?

To this point, you must have got the answer to this question. In case you are doing a full-time job and follow the fitness regime as a part of your hobby, most probably, the best answer should be resistance training.

Even if you are passionate about doing the strength training and can afford personal coaching and diet, sufficient recovery time, and a strict diet is mandatory for getting the tangible gains from the practice.

Most of the full-time employees won’t be able to follow the professional training rules to their true spirit. That doesn’t mean that I am discouraging you from ever trying to pursue strength training. Exceptions are always there.

If you are highly motivated to stand out from the herd, do preparations, and absorb as much information as possible, you can access it. Learn from the mistakes of similar people. Several stories and case studies can be found over the internet to train like a pro and never look back.

15. Final opinion-

There is nothing good or bad. It is only the perspective that makes a thing right for some people and wrong for others. Don’t worry; I am not here to teach you life lessons like a spiritual guru.

Similar stands true for strength and resistance training. Some guys find resistance training too light to pump their bodies while others find resistance training more practical and sustainable.

You must keep your body moving no matter you are slow or fast. All the health-related primary benefits are common to both resistance and strength training. After workouts, the brain keeps transmitting anti depressing signals which keep you energized and positive during the whole day.

If you are comfortable doing resistance training, do it. People often link their fitness goals to short term gains and lose motivation as soon as they are accomplished. The fitness is like a brush that you use to clean your teeth every day.

So, you must practice the kind of training you can keep enjoying for a pretty long time.



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