Core strengthening, physical therapy, physiotherapy, training

Resistance training for an injury free and functional body.

June 12, 2013 • By

Free, Body and weight training – this post is not just for the gym junkies, it is for everyone that wants their body to perform well and likes to look after their body home or the gym.

As a physiotherapist I am a huge fan of functional exercise and so in this post I am going to briefly talk about what type of weight training is best for your body.

Below is a brief description of all three types and a table outlining the pros and cons:

1. Body weight exercises: exercises in which the resistance is provided by your body weight. Eg. push-ups, pull ups, lunges, curl ups, tricep dips.press up training body weight

2. Free weight exercises: exercises where the resistance is applied by a object that is not attached to anything else such as dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls.

3. Machine exercises: this is fairly self explanatory but is any exercise where the weight is stabilized by the machine and you just have to apply force in one plane of movement.

Cost

practicality

versatility

Functionality

Difficulty

Muscle mass

Body

none

moderate

moderate

high

moderate

Low – mod

Free

low

high

high

high

moderate

Moderate

Machine

high

low

low

low

low

High

Conclusion: Both free and body weight exercises make your stabilizing muscles work, leading to much greater functionality and cross over into everyday life and I would recommend them over weights machines absolutely any day.  Weights machines are ok if you purely want to build muscle mass, but this has little functionality due do the machine guiding the weight and stabilizing for you.

The best thing to do would be a combination of body and free weight training as you have a much larger range of exercises and workouts available to you and great coss over.

 Why is stability important?

Stability is very, very important, if you do not have a stable base to work off then you are much more likely to get injuries, AND it makes the exercise a lot harder.

Imagine: trying to lift up a heavy object while standing on ice (or mud)(unstable base) and how hard that would be compared to lifting a heavy object with feet firmly planted on a rubber mat (stable base) – what is easier?

This is exactly the same as the following two examples:

    1. Having weak shoulder stabilizers such as your rotator cuff. If these are weak then the shoulder is not stable and so all the muscles working off it will struggle and are much more likely to get injuries such as rotator cuff tears or tendinopathy due to impingement.
    2. Weak core and hip stabilizers:  If you don’t have good strength and endurance in your stabilizers here, you are more likely to injure your back, hips, knees and ankles purely because you are working off an unstable base, leading to poor form and bio-mechanics.

So although weights machines are at times easier – they are not practical the majority of the time, can be costly and do not cross over functionally in to everyday life and sports. If all you want to do is build muscle – then make sure you also do stabilising exercises such as rotator – cuff strengthening for your shoulders in order to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

And so It is only fair that I give you some great exercises to increase the strength and the endurance of your stabilising mucscles!  These will be for EVERYBODY. Subscribe or stay tuned for these in up-coming posts.