Manual Resistance Training



Hey everyone:


Can’t wait for tomorrow. Trying to decide if I should do something radical to my hair and dye it redder (more red?)

ImageWhat do you think? Guess you’ll find out this weekend.




Anyway, last week Steve decided we were going to do some manual resistance training.


What is it?


Basically Steve used his own body weight to add resistance to the weights I was using.


One move had me on my back with my feet on the mat and he handed me a weight that I had to lift straight up. The weight was heavy enough but then he pushed on the weight to add even more resistance and I had to push it up.  We did this for about 8 reps and then we moved on to another one.


In the next move I was sitting on the floor with my feet on the mat. He was squatting with his feet on my feet. I had a medicine ball on my stomach between my chest and my legs (like I was about to do a sit –up) and he pushed on my shoulders while I resisted being pushed back.  Obviously, I never won the challenge but I was trying hard at the end not to get knocked over! I think I started to cheat and I grabbed his arms for support but it didn’t help me really.


The last exercise we did he handed me a bar without any weights on it. He had me lift the bar; while again, he pushed on it to add his weight.  We did each move a couple of times until I fatigued.


I have to admit I really liked doing this. It was much more interesting to me to have Steve engaged in my exercise rather than him just standing there telling me what to do.


It was a great workout too. I had never sweated as much as I did doing these. My shirt was wet with sweat and I downed a whole bottle of water, which I never do. I knew I had worked hard when I left there that day.  Sunday I was so sore I had a hard time lifting a fork without it hurting (but in a good way)

 ImageNot me

Matter of fact, much to my surprise, I e-mailed Steve today and asked him if we could do more manual resistance this week but with my legs, butt and abs. I think my arms need a break!


Who would have ever thought I’d actually ask to do a particular move? He will ask me what I want to do and I usually say “You decide”. 


Of course, I say that about most things but that’s another story…


I looked up manual resistance training on the internet (of course) and I read a lot of good things about it on body building sites.


Here are some pros and cons according to




  1. No special equipment or facility is required.
  2. Adds variety to standard workouts.
  3. If you’re a trainer, large numbers of clients can be trained at once.
  4. Resistance and speed are controlled by the amount of resistance placed upon the lifter by the partner.
  5. Allows a person to “change” resistance placed on them according to their strength and fatigue level, whereas if you’re lying under 225 pounds on the bench press, you’re in trouble if you are unable to lift the weight.



  1. Can be difficult for partners with extreme strength differences.
  2. Amount of resistance is limited by the partner’s strength.
  3. Always requires a partner.
  4. There is no measurable way to record strength differences as there is with weight training.
  5. The lifter may be limited by the partner’s fatigue.


Here are some examples of some moves they show:



Partner Assisted Seated Military Press

Lifter can sit on a stability ball, bench, chair or whatever is available as long as there is room behind them for the partner to stand.

Lifter starts by putting arms in a military press position (upper arms parallel with the ground and arms bent 90 degrees at the elbow). Partner places hands on top of lifter’s hands and partner provides enough resistance that allows the lifter to complete each concentric part of the repetition in approximately 3 seconds.


Partner Assisted Row

This exercise requires a towel (larger shower towels work best). Lifter and partner sit across from each other as if they were using the cable row machine at the gym (legs straight out in front of them, with soles of shoes touching).

The lifter should grab the towel with an underhand grip, while the partner grabs the towel at either end (hint, the closer the lifter’s and partner’s hands are placed on the towel, the harder the exercise will be to perform).


Partner Assisted Leg Extension

Lifter sits in a chair or on end of table so feet are not able to touch the ground. Partner grabs ankles (where the pad of a leg extension machine would be).







As lifter performs a leg extension, partner resists the lifting portion of the movement. The partner should then put resistance on the ankles as lifter lowers legs forcing lifter to resist during the lowering of the movement.

I was excited that I had something I could tell him I wanted to do.


Now if I could just pick music to play while we are working out ……..

Question of the day: Have you ever done manual resistance training?


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