Resistance training is recommended by national health organizations for incorporation into a comprehensive fitness program that includes aerobic and flexibility exercise. Its potential benefits on health and performance are numerous; it has been shown to reduce body fat, increase basal metabolic rate, decrease blood pressure and the cardiovascular demands to exercise, improve blood lipid profiles, glucose tolerance, and insulin sensitivity, increase muscle and connective tissue cross-sectional area, improve functional capacity, and relieve low back pain. Many improvements in physical function and athletic performance are associated with the increases in muscle strength, power, endurance, and hypertrophy observed during resistance training. The key element to effective resistance training is supervision by a qualified professional and the proper prescription of the program variables. Proper program design, ie, that which uses progressive overload, variation, and specificity, is essential to maximize the benefits associated with resistance training.
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© 2002 American College of Sports Medicine