Resistance training has two different, sometimes confused meanings - a more broad meaning that refers to any training that uses a resistance to the force of muscular contraction (better termed strength training), and elastic or hydraulic resistance, which refers to a specific type of strength training that uses elastic or hydraulic tension to provide this resistance. This article discusses the more limited definition, of elastic/hydraulic resistance training.
Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance (i.e. resistance to being pushed, squeezed, stretched or bent). Exercises are isotonic if a body part is moving against the force. Exercises are isometric if a body part is holding still against the force. Resistance exercise is used to develop the strength and size of skeletal muscles. Properly performed, resistance training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being.
The goal of resistance training, according to the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), is to "gradually and progressively overload the musculoskeletal system so it gets stronger." Research shows that regular resistance training will strengthen and tone muscles and increase bone mass. Resistance training should not be confused with weightlifting, powerlifting or bodybuilding, which are competitive sports involving different types of strength training with non-elastic forces such as gravity (weight training or plyometrics) an immovable resistance (isometrics, usually the body's own muscles or a structural feature such as a doorframe). Full range of motion is important in resistance training because muscle overload occurs only at the specific joint angles where the muscle is worked.
Resistance training can be performed using various types of exercise equipment or: