Resistance training is simply training with an increased amount of resistance. Many think it is only weight training, which is not true. Any type of training that forces the body to work against a load that is greater than that to which it is normally subjected to is considered resistance training. This includes swimming with drag suits, running in heavy training shoes, cycling in a harder gear than normal, etc.
Weight training is only one method to resistance train. The techniques are numerous, but the key to good resistance training is to make sure that resistance is being provided to the muscle groups needed during competition.
Varying the amount of resistance used is also important to build the different types of muscles, i.e. fast and slow twitch. Be cautious not to use too much resistance for long periods of time. This can cause undue strain on muscles and tendons and can cause unrecoverable or recurring injury. Cases of shoulder tendonitis have sometimes been traced to the use of too heavy of a drag suit for distances that were too great.
As a general rule of thumb, use the greater resistance training in short bursts of exertion with greater amounts of rest between each set. Use the lighter resistance on longer training sets. Pay close attention to where the pain is coming from. Lactic acid pain is fine, but tendon-related pain is a big no-no.
We believe resistance training when used appropriately by experienced athletes and coaches is an incredible training tool to compliment standard training. Our athletes that have used these techniques have outperformed those that did not. So, if available, and if you have the proper guidance, by all means use it!
Some examples of resistance training include: