Strength training can come in many forms from lifting your own body weight to picking up rocks. The three most popular tools for strength training are free weights, weight machines and exercise bands. Below you will find the highlights, advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Type 1: Free Weights - They've been around for as long as anyone can remember. Free weights are a type of dynamic (isotonic) constant resistance equipment meaning that the resistive force (tension) remains constant throughout the exercise movement.

Advantages: Similarity to most work and exercise activities (meaning you can perform exercises that mimic the activity that your trying improve), low cost of equipment, variety of training movements, effective.

Disadvantages: Cumbersome - not compact, work against gravity so there is a greater chance of getting injured due to the momentum of the weights.


Type 2: Machines - There are tons of exercise machines on the market. There are the individual machines that you would find at a gym as well as the multistation gyms for the home. Many of these machines use Dynamic (Isotonic) Variable resistance. The advantage of this type of equipment is that it applies more tension when your muscle needs it, which is beneficial.

Advantages - Ability to work your muscle at an optimal level through a full range of motion, effective.

Disadvantages - High cost of equipment, bulky, limited number of training movements and often lengthy set up times between exercises.


Type 3: Resistance Bands - This exercise tool has actually been around for many many years. My father talked about stretching an elastic band years ago when he was about 19 - that was 42 years ago. They are currently making a big comeback. Exercise bands like machines use Dynamic (Isotonic) Variable resistance. This is achieved by the simple fact that as you stretch an elastic it increasingly becomes more difficult. So at the beginning of a movement like a standing biceps curl when your arms are down and you are using the least amount of muscle fibers, the elastic is the easiest. As you curl your arm up and use more of your muscle fibers the elastic stretches and becomes more difficult.

Advantages - Ability to work your muscle at an optimal level through a full range of motion, low cost of equipment, variety of training movements, effective

Disadvantages - Some of the exercises are a close second to the free weight or machine exercises but not 100% as good

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