Resistance training (of course!) is an important component in virtually every exercise program and yet some people still tend to opt-out of it. You may not realize it but incorporating resistance training into your program can help you achieve a wide variety of fitness goals, including weight loss. Some might find this contradictory given that resistance training looks to strengthen (add) muscle and may even require an increase in protein consumption; however, the addition of muscle mass built up through resistance training will actually act to burn body fat through an increase in resting caloric expenditure.
Are you looking to increase the weight you lift in your resistance training program? One way to see if you are ready is by performing a couple of extra repetitions than you normally do, using the weight you normally use, for a few of your workout sessions. If you find that you are able to do this with ease, then it may be a good time to consider increasing the weight.
Do you feel as though your resistance training has hit a plateau? You may want to consider slowing down the eccentric phase of muscle contraction – when the muscle is lengthening under tension as opposed to shortening. For instance, after lifting a weight (i.e. performing a bicep curl), lower the load through the entire range of motion to a count of 4-5 seconds. This method will cause the muscle to sustain greater levels of cellular damage and result in further cellular repair, which in turn results in increased strength and muscle mass.