Free weights VS resistance bands ?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by junbumkim, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    What is the difference in its affect on muscle between free weights VS resistance bands?
     
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  2. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I'm not an expert on muscle development, but to me it feels like the following:

    Free weights = Individual reps have more or less identical resistance throughout the motion + gradual challenge towards the end of the set.

    Resistance bands = Individual have more resistance towards the extreme end of the motion + gradual challenge towards the end of the set.

    That gradual increase in resistance towards the extreme end of the motion helps build endurance/stamina (I think).

    To me, when available, resistance bands gives a better workout. (But it's hard to find equivalent resistant band once you go past certain weights, that's the problem.)
     
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  3. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Like you said you are no expert on muscle development.
     
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  4. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    And you are no star on clarification. :)
     
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  5. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    I will say this much

    One advantage of free weights over resistance bands is ease ofprogressive overload.

    With weights it's very easy to increase the resistance in a measurable increment (i.e. add 5lbs). It's a bit tougher to quantify with resistance bands, and thus makes it harder to plan progression
     
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  6. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Free Weights, Cables & Resistance Bands

    Free Weights. Free weights always produce force downward. To load muscles in various locations along the joint's range of motion the body has to be reoriented using different exercises. Force always stays the same, downward.
    Triceps Exercises -examples of changing body position to emphasize different portions of the joint's Range of Motion for triceps.
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/dumbbell-one-arm-triceps-extension
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/tricep-dumbbell-kickback

    Cables with Weights. Cables & pulleys always produce force in the direction of the cable which often changes during the exercise. Force magnitude stays the same, but direction changes.

    Resistance Bands. Resistance bands, like cables always pull in the direction of the resistance band. Resistance bands change force magnitude significantly with length/stretch. I believe the force associated with a resistance band is usually listed for 100% lengthening or doubling of the band length. For example, a '25lb' resistance band will pull with 25 lbs force when its length is doubled (100% elongation). Force magnitude varies with length and direction changes. A short elastic band will vary force more than a long band as length is varied.
    http://www.thera-band.com/UserFiles/File/Thera-Band_Instruction_Manual_v5.pdf

    For all exercises the muscle does no work when it shortens in a direction perpendicular to the resistance force (for free weights & cables there's no work when the exercise does not move the weight up in gravity). For example, if you stand and curl a dumbbell at the very beginning when the arm is straight down at the side there is no resistance to flexing the arm - the weight moves forward but not up. For the curl also at the top there is little force required to finish flexing the arm. This is why certain body exercises are done with the body in different positions. For example, curling on a 45 d. bench causes the muscles to work much harder at the beginning of the curl, etc.

    There are some hip exercises that I do with resistance band loops because they are idea. Clamshells, etc.

    BTW, I think that I sometimes nick Therabands with my fingernails and a short length will soon break off the end.

    I have a long Theraband tied near the microwave and do external shoulder rotation exercises while heating stuff. First, there's a light set to warm up and then a heavier set for conditioning. [Very heavy resistance is not recommended for rotator cuff conditioning.]

    Another TW thread
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=440057&highlight=resistance+band+exercises
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
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  7. tennisenthusiast

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    +1

    10plusones.
     
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  8. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Okay well free weights are for gaining real strength, power and size if you eat enough and work hard enough. The bands are great for working from different angles and are good for injury prevention, but not much for making strength and power gains.
     
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  9. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Captain obvious pointing out the obvious.
     
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  10. chrischris

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    Are rubber bands not more better as they are more functional

    .. Mass and 'real' strength is not always good.
     
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  11. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Resistance Band Loops 'Clamshells' for the Gluteus Medius

    Here is an exercise to strengthen the gluteus medius - see the second video for "Hip Clamshells in the Neutral Position".

    http://www.mikereinold.com/2011/04/..._campaign=Feed:+Mikereinold+(MikeReinold.com)

    My physical therapist said to do the exercise with hips straight and to hold for 6 seconds. Do the exercise for about 2 minutes.

    I'm sure there is some way to do this with free weights or cables but the resistance bands are ideal. The increase in resistance as the bands lengthen is a plus in my opinion.

    This exercise strengthens the gluteus medius, an often neglected muscle important for balance and movement. I believe that this muscle helps maintain leg posture and reduces the risk of knee problems.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  12. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    I remember that there are different types (sizes) of muscle fibers, and they are activated according to the force required. For example, if we have to lift 50lb weight, large muscle fibers will be activated whereas if small muscle fibers will be activated with less force (like resistance band).

    And, I am curious as to what type of roles these different muscle fibers play role in our body. Perhaps, working on these smaller muscle fibers is more crucial in improving balance than on large muscle fibers?
     
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  13. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Well it wasn't obvious to you, the one that obviously has no clue of strength training.
     
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  14. Chas Tennis

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    A muscle exists in the body. All muscles have a very poor mechanical advantage and have to produce very large forces to move joints and do work at distance. When you have a smaller muscle working with very poor leverage - say a deltoid in the shoulder - you do not need much resistance at the hand to exercise the muscle.

    At first I saw resistance bands as inferior to heavier weight exercises, my ignorance. Now I see them as very useful and especially useful for the many smaller muscles that I've learned are important for performance and to reduce the risk of injury.

    If you want to add muscle mass to your thighs then I would squat with free weights or do leg presses. If you want to condition your rotator cuffs for strength and endurance especially to prevent shoulder injuries then very light dumbbells or cables, or resistance bands are better than heavier weights. Also, there are exercise that if done with a lot of resistance or weight will bypass the smaller muscles (like the rotator cuffs) and instead use bigger muscles. That's counter productive.

    (I believe that I tore my rotator cuff (supraspinatus) by doing heavy cable external rotations at the gym. 25lbs? Later I learned that external shoulder rotations for rotator cuffs should not be done with heavier weights.)

    I don't know the type of muscle fiber in the various muscles. Some muscles have more of a support, hold position, isometric type function, the abs for example. Maybe these don't have as many fast twitch muscles. ?

    I believe one of the best exercises to introduce yourself to the value of conditioning a smaller muscle with resistance bands is the Clamshell. The first reps are not bad but at 2 or 2.5 minutes you will know what your gluteus medius is. It is also fast to respond with results including some hypertrophy in 4-5 weeks.

    Gluteus Medius function & the Trendelenburg test (pelvis stability on one leg)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trendelenburg's_sign

    You can buy a 5' Theraband length or a 12" loop. I use a 12" blue and red loop together for Clamshells. I also used to do 'firehydrants' with the same 12" loops, an exercise with detailed motions as specified by my physical therapist. Also 'Monsterwalks' using an 8" black loop (tied). I don't think that they sell black loops.

    For rotator cuff external shoulder rotations I use a long yellow Theraband. I warm up with it less stretched where the force is low and then move away to increase the resistance. Because it is long the force can start out high and increase as I externally rotate my shoulder. I put a towel between my upper arm and body as usually recommended.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  15. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    It does depend on what you are looking for, bands are great for being easier to use and also safer. Like I said they are great for injury prevention especially shoulder work, but free weights to me are much better if you really want to gain strength.

    Plus the added benefit of balance is used a lot more with free weights, more muscles come into play to stabilize you through free weight exercises. That is why body movements with weight added are even better than regular free weight exercises.
     
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  16. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    http://resistancebandtraining.com/l...istance-band-training-versus-weight-training/

    I think this maybe the reason why resistance band may be more beneficial for tennis. It may lead to more well-developed muslce.

    Over the years in this forum, there have been a few threads on exercises that improved their movement, and people have sworn by yoga over building their leg muscles. Yoga not increases your flexibility, but also improves your strengths, and I wondered how it is different from free-weights. Resistance bands seemed more comparable to yoga, so i thought I would start the thread.
     
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  17. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    #17
  18. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Deleted because someone was wise enough to talk some sense into me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  19. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    I'm not the person you're responding to nor have I addressed you before, but what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?

    Not trying to be mean, but I just don't understand your logic. "I bench press 200lbs+ for sets, therefore I know something about strength training"

    This is not a syllogistic statement, I am sure there are plenty of gym rats who don't actually know anything about strength training that can get to the same level. I will admit the fact that you've done so following shoulder surgeries is pretty awesome though (got any vids?).

    There are after all plenty of people who don't do but "know" in the sense that they are educated. Don McCauley was an awful weightlifter, but is a great coach so he "knows" but was not good at "doing". Just as the converse exists

    Moving on, what's the point of your pictures? What exactly does this prove?

    To tlm's defense, I think he was just taking your initial post of "i'm no expert at muscle development" and taking it to an extreme. His "initial post" was not confrontational, he simply made a statement regarding bands versus free weights, you're the one that labeled it as stating the obvious leading to his rebuttal
     
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  20. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    If I touch a barbell, I add 50 lbs. of muscle.

    How on earth do you manage to strike this delicate balance?
     
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  21. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    It's all about microloading with grains of sand. You have to be very careful, one grain over and you gain 5lbs overnight
     
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  22. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I listen to logic and yours made sense, so therefore I have removed my post. But I will address tlm's statements:

    1) Out of nowhere, he addressed me specifically in my attempt to be humble and hopefully helpful to OP's question. I don't have the scientific knowledge specifically on "muscle development", true. Do I know how to train? Yes, and I elaborated on from personal experience and results on the whole "free weights vs resistance bands" topic. Hence the disclaimer of "I'm not expert in blah blah", but here's what I observed.

    2) By addressing me specifically without contribution to the thread, I'd like to hear the other reasons behind his initial post. My opinion on his initial post remains confrontational and ultimately unhelpful to OP's question (not dragging you into this mess).

    3) Lastly, "doesn't know a thing about strength training", well ok. If you're going to say something like that specifically to another person, then let's hear your qualifications on the matter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  23. r2473

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    Do you sell microloading sand on your website? Maybe a DVD program to go with it? I'd love to buy your secret formula.
     
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  24. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Evidently I didnt' scroll far enough to the earlier posts, I mistook his second post for his first which markedly confrontational
     
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  25. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Of course I do! My microloading sand formula is the only one out there, the unfortunate truth about regular sand is that the grains are not uniform in size, thus you need my product to get the standardized grain size

    My website has yet to be launched, but I am taking pre-orders now. Just PM me your Full name, credit card number and confirmation number on the back a long with your SSN, full address, and the answers to all potential security questions and we'll get it underway.

    DVD is extra.






    On a serious note, I recall reading an article that advertised a microloading product. It was literally a hollow apparatus that could be loaded on to barbells, and you added sand to it to increase the weight in ever so slight amounts. The logic behind it was to mimick the old old school barbells, which basically had globes on either end that was filled with something like sand for weight
     
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  26. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Speaking of epic threads (which we weren't), did you ever manage to squat 2.5x your bodyweight? I know you were close.
     
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  27. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Haha, never quite got there. I hit 182kg/401lbs which was something like 2.43xBW at the time. Since then I've majorly shifted focus to the snatch and clean and jerk, since relative to my squat they were atrocious and clearly their limiting factor was not my squat strength. I did front squat 2xBW though
     
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  28. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Then you clearly have no idea about weight training :)

    I was just curious. That's a pretty good lift for a non-drug / no-assistance squat IMO. I haven't seen too many guys that could do it. In fact, I've never seen any in person.
     
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  29. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Clearly! After all, I was the guy saying a 2.5xbw squat was very possible, and shouldn't be a marker for "elite" level for athletes...granted my argument included doing low bar squats, which would make things easier


    You should get out more. My coach has done a 3xBW squat raw, drug free (302kg weighing 100kg, followed by 272kgx5). Of course he's crazy, and has not beaten that in over a year and a half due to injuries and such (although he did do 320kg with knee wraps)
     
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  30. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Where's Captain Assbivous? I really want to hear his/her theories on actin filament, and the correlation between exercise and the transcriptional, translational, and the subsequent activation of myosin heavy chain kinases. I'm a genomic stability/cancer biologist by training, I know, shame on me for not researching the mechanisms revolving around muscle development. But that's why we have a$$holes, I meant folks like you right?

    Let's get together and submit a publication, the topic has been largely overlooked by the field. You should write a review to start. But we've got to aim low and go for fitness magazines, cause I'm pretty sure leading scientific journals such as Nature, Science, and Cell will just reject your crap.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  31. T1000

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    Damn good job. I tried and only got to 405x3 high bar at 190 before mono came back. Hate low bar squatting, always felt uncomfortable. That front squat is ridiculous Wish I took the time to do them, would rather deadlift.

    OT, the way I see it
    Free weights - stabilizers and lead to better strength easier for progressive overload
    Resistance Bands/Machines - More time under tension so more potential for hypertrophy if progressive overload is used
     
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  32. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Always bothered my elbow, but the leverage advantage was undeniable. When I switched I was at 290x5 low bar, took me a month or two to get 300x1 high bar, huge difference.
     
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  33. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    One major problem with resistance bands every rep r u getting stronger? or the band getting weaker?
     
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  34. Soul

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    I've done both or I guess have used 3 different lifting methods. I've used free weights, TRX which i suppose would be similar to the resistance bands, and resistance bands. From what I experienced, they all can provide quality workouts, hitting different muscles.
     
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  35. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    TRX (and gymnastic training) is actually closer to free weights, as you are working against gravity, whereas the resistance bands would be providing resistance elastically
     
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  36. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    weights

    Sorry but trx is nothing like lifting free weights for strength. Plus most of the trx movements can be done without the straps and save 300.00. Bands are good for out of shape women classes and PT that's it.
     
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  37. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    For strength no, but the likening of the TRX to resistance bands was mistaken. it is MORE like free weights than it is bands due to the nature of the resistance. Are they interchangeable? Of course not, however a lot of the movements have a parallel in lifting weights (rows, push ups, flys etc), but the nature of the resistance is the same. At certain parts of the movement there can be a leverage advantage
     
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  38. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    How much trx training have you done? Most of the movements done without the straps are not near as effective. I feel trx training is very good and is excellent when combined with free weights.

    Many of the movements are very similar to weight training and some are better because of the added balance that is involved.
     
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  39. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    trx

    I checked these out back in 2005 when they first came out. Back in 2008 I took a workshop now TRX offers 6 different workshops. It uses your body’s angle against gravity. Problem is not all the movements directly oppose gravity. It's just like anything else in the fitness trainer's toolbox. Another new thing to make out of shape and in shape people feel silly. It's more like learning a new skill.TRX Suspension Trainer Cons


    Price
    The biggest downside of this product may be the price. If spending $189.95 on a set of sturdy straps and anchors (along with the extras) doesn't make you bat an eye, then go for it. If nothing else, your workouts will be new, and you will engage muscles in a new way.
    Anchor Points
    Anchoring the system isn't a simple thing for those working out a home. Yes, you can use a door, but it seems to limit some of the exercises. Anchoring the system overhead allows more freedom of movement, but not everyone has (or wants) a great overhead anchor bolt in their living room.
    Will the Novelty Wear off?


    I wonder about the sustainability of the routines. It would be nice to hear how people feel about the TRX System after they've been using it for several months to see if it's just another fun, new fad that grows old over time. I've only done a short demo routine on the TRX, and I don't own one. It's hard for me to say if it would become stale or would become a core part of my training routine over time.Proponents of suspension training argue that it develops core body strength, as well as joint and muscular stability,[7] reducing the chance of injury.

    Some sports scientists have expressed concern that weaker individuals may not have the core stability or joint integrity to use the system safely and effectively. I see in the gym alot of chicks using this and bands in classes. For me nothing beats freeweights. Alot of these new toys and training just keeps the the trainer and clients from getting bored. The trainer takes a workshop learns a new training shill and teaches it to the client who now shows off his or her new skill set.
     
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  40. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    workouts

    I feel trx is a waste of time and money but some people need to try the lastest training system. Bands are great for PT rehab and girls in a spin class. Iam waiting for memebers to bring in those heavy chains and put them on their bars while bench pressing. After that will be the huge tire flipping, hitting the tire with a sledgehammer and the huge rope workouts aka mma. for me all I need is a barbell and some plates, some dumbells a pair of running shoes.
     
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  41. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Bro, you gotta get that variable resistance!

    After all, ALL the guys at WESTSIDE-****ING-BARBELL do it!!! And Louie Simmons is the most logical, intelligent, sane individual in the world of strength

    /sarcasm

    TRX is a waste of time though
     
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  42. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I like using gymnastic rings, which are similar in function to what TRX is trying to do. I love them.

    But your point about finding a place to anchor them is quite valid, especially for the home user. I have a great place. Some guy built a power station out of solid iron (I think the thing probably weighs 300 lbs. or more; I can hang off the back doing front or back levers and it stays perfectly stable; a beast of a stand) and his family sold it to me for $50 through the classified when he died. But otherwise, I have no idea where I would secure those things.

    The rings I got are $60. Well worth it IMO.

    https://www.gymnasticbodies.com/forum/store/product/4-xtreme-rings-black/

    Another great piece of equipment are parallettes:

    http://www.vitavibe.com/Vita_Vibe_Parallettes.html

    Wish I could find stall bars for cheap. Anyone know where I could find some?
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
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  43. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I agree TRX is over priced that is why I made my own for about $30. But I do like some of the movements, like I said I combine TRX with free weights. I will do a set of dead lifts and then use the straps to do what I call reverse pushups. This is were you put your legs on a bench and pull yourself up towards the ceiling, a very good back movement.

    There are many TRX exercises that are very good and can be combined with free weight movements, like after a set of bench presses do the strap pushups, same with after a set of barbell curls go right to TRX curls. So in other words I don't do just TRX training I combine it in my free weight workout. Which I feel is very good for a change up and there is more core and balance used with TRX.

    I do agree with you about the bands they are really for PT more than anything. That is why I found it humorous for someone to ask about free weight VS bands, because there is no comparison. I really think that the best form of training is free weights, but even better is weighted body movements. Like weighted pull ups, push ups, and dips.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
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  44. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    Rings

    I cracked up laughing when one dude bought and was using gymnast rings and was showing off. I was the club manager so I told him u can't use those here he was sad. I also laugh with those neck gear that holds plates and the tools who need to do weighted dips and try pullups with a 100 lb dumbell give me a break.
     
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  45. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    iron

    I hear ya, I keep it real simple deadlifts, bentover rows, clean and press, stepups and bench.
     
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  46. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    time

    I just have a small amount of time to lift then run so I deadlift, bent over rows, clean and press, stepups and bench then go for a 8 mile run. If u have 2-3 hrs then do core, speed, quickness,agility balance, poly, and cuff pt work and lots of crazy abs. Maybe just do sport specfic traing for your sport. I talk to these people doing all these crazy moves. Guess what all of them are not training for anything. Some trainer or book showed them these moves and now they like to show other members they got skills. It's a good way to meet people at the gym. Most people are bored working out so this keeps them entertained and makes me smile too!!
     
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  47. 3fees

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    Both have there place, I use free weights ,from 1lb up.

    :mrgreen:
     
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  48. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Here is a video of me hitting, this was today at the age of 57. I think this would show I know something about training.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ55yV8kTzs
     
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  49. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    What am I supposed to be impressed with? Bad form? Anemic lateral movements? Hitting balls beyond the age of 50 that half of the people on these forums can already do?

    Not bad for your age, but not impressive enough to be differentiated from those who just kept playing regardless of their age.

    Still don't know what your deal is with me. But hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, go for it stranger.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
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  50. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Look dude I came on to strong with you about your first comment comparing free weights to bands. I took it like you were saying that the bands could do what free weights can, which to me they are not in the same league. So for that I must apologize, I mistook your comment.

    My tennis skills are not that good, but I did not learn to play until I was 44 years old. But my example was to show my conditioning and training experience not ball striking skills.

    But I guess you know a lot of guys my age that are in much better shape and have a lot better movement than me. Thats funny because in the 2 clubs I play at that is nowhere near the case.
     
    #50

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