If it’s not hard, what are you resisting, exactly?
Wanna know what works for physically transforming yourself?
Resistance is defined as “the act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding.” The harder you have to work to physically resist something, the more your body necessarily and physiologically has to change to meet the challenge. That means burn more of that fat you encouraged it to store, build more of that muscle you let get soft and mushy, and lift up that mood you let the gravity of day-to-day life and circumstance bring down.
Ponder, then, your fellow man’s seeming obsession with making resistance training easier. What’s the point, exactly? If you’re constantly striving to make the act of resistance easier, what are you even resisting? It’s like wrestling a baby bear, winning, and then publicly patting yourself on the back (so everyone on Facebook can see, of course) for the great work you did. Feel free to brag when you wrestle the mama bear and win by suplex, but don’t equate the two. You might as well make it super easy on yourself and stop altogether. At least that way you’re efficiently making lack of resistance easy and not wasting your time in Fantasy Land by dancing on the fence.
Performing easier or lighter progressions of an exercise that still challenge you with the goal and mindset of building up strength for harder variations in the future is great and is a fool-proof way of building up toward greater resistance and therefore greater results; no criticism there. Going into your fern-laden mirrored paradise and playing with pink rubber bands while you hoist some tiny weight on a blue Swiss ball will not help you lose pesky inches around your waist, but rather around your pocketbook as you send your overpriced trainer laughing all the way to the bank after he’s done counting your nosebleed-high reps.
Resistance isn’t futile. Lack of it is. Hoist something heavy and have a kick-ass week (and pass the word off to your pink rubber band-lifting friends. Trust me, they won’t put up much resistance).
There are many ways to add resistance. One, as Arnold Schwarzenegger is demonstrating in the picture above, is to add weight to an exercise you’re already performing. There are other ways to add resistance without adding weight, and the following program for one kettlebell + your own bodyweight will demonstrate how you can squeeze the most strength out of a very small amount of equipment.
Extra Resistance Program
A1) 3-5 Pullups (add a 5 second pause at the top of each rep, and lower to the starting position over the course of 5 seconds)
A2) 5 goblet squats (add a 5 second pause at the bottom, stand up half way, go back down, then stand up fully. Do this on each rep)
A3) 5 military presses per hand (pause for 5 seconds in the rack, press the bell halfway and pause for 3 seconds, then finish the press to the lockout. Repeat for each rep)
When you’re done, throw this in for good measure:
B1) 5 slow leg raises lying on your back
B2) 10 power swings
You’ll find that regardless of your circumstances, you can always find a way to get stronger if your goal is to work both smarter AND harder.
Enjoy, and happy training!